Jersey's Ben Flowers holds off Springfield's Heath Warren in the Decatur MacArthur Cross Country Sectional this past Saturday.

Jersey's Ben Flowers had no trouble moving into the state meet, winning the IHSA Class 2A Decatur MacArthur Sectional in a time of 14:59.51, defeating Springfield's Heath Warren by 1.3 seconds.

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The Panthers, however, missed the final team qualifying spot by 11 points, scoring 215 points; Mattoon, with 204 points, edged out Jersey.

The Senators won the team title with 79 points, with Chatham Glenwood second with 94 points, Charleston third with 129 points and Carbondale fourth with 196 points.

Jersey coach Harold Landon said Warren provided Flowers every bit of competition he needed in the race. Warren has recorded a 1:51 time for the 800 and has a tremendous kick, Landon said.

“Ben was chomping at the bit to race Heath,” Landon said. “Ben hasn’t been pushed since the First To Finish Invitational in Peoria. He has won every race. He didn’t want to get into a sprint with Warren so he tried to take his legs out. With 600 meters left, Ben had a 40-meter lead and Heath put on a huge surge and closed to within a second of Ben. Ben didn’t even know he was coming. For the conditions Saturday with 15 to 20 miles per hour winds, I think Ben ran a great race.”

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Mark Wendell (16:30.96), Nick Reynolds (16:31.95), Mike Roach (16:49) and Drew Bertman (16:52.82) also figured in the scoring for Jersey, with Christian Cazier (16:55.27) and Nick Loepker (17:07.54) also running. Civic Memorial's Cohl Callies (16:49.36) was the only other area runner taking part in the sectional.

“I was thinking we could finish top 10 in the sectional and thought we might be pushing top five,” Landon said. “We had three people who really improved. Mark Wendell took 30 seconds off his best time and our two freshmen Drew Bertman and Christian Cazier also did real well.”

No area girls took part in the sectional. Dunlap (45 points), Peoria Notre Dame (81), Washington (99), Morton (156) and Mahomet-Seymour (174) advanced to the state meet as teams, while PND's Maryjeanne Gilbert (16:52.8) won the individual crown.


Carrollton's Lily Baumgartner was the only area boys or girls runner in the Class 1A Elmwood Sectional; she did not advance to the state meet, finishing with a time of 20:59.22. Liberty won the team title with 74 points, while Stanford Olympia's Shelby Siltman took the individual crown in 18:12.65.

Jersey's runners who participated in the recent sectional meet.

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