CENTREVILLE - Sophomore Riley Knoyle, who emerged last season as one of the area's top cross country runners as a freshman, started her sophomore season on the right foot, taking top honors as Edwardsville swept the top ten spots in a win over East St. Louis at Frank Holton State Park in Centreville.
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The Flyers were only able to put out four runners on the day, so no formal score was kept, but the Tigers were still able to accomplish many of their goals in the season opener, most importantly getting a meet in before the Granite City Invitational next Saturday.
"I was pleasantly surprised by the ladies' team," said head coach George Patrylak. "I would probably say that we were ahead of last year, when we qualified for state."
As with the boys opener on Friday against Granite City, Patrylak employed similar tactics with the girls in their opener.
"Riley did something similar to the boys," Patrylak said. "We had her set the pace, and the Lueking sisters, Makenna and Maya, finish second and third. I thought they looked very strong for so early in the season."
And the Tigers were able to accomplish some of their goals for the opener.
"We got some of our goals, which was to give everyone an opportunity to run," Patrylak said, "and determine the top seven who will run at Granite next week."
Knoyle won the race with a time of 18:33, followed by Makenna Lueking at 18:55, Maya Lueking was third at 19:19, Dylan Peel came in fourth with a time of 19:36, and Anna Singh was fifth, coming in at 19:38. Earning the last two spots for the Granite City meet next week were Kaitlyn Loyet, who had a time of 19:54, and Whitney Dyckman, who came in at 20:16. Rounding out the top ten were Kyleigh England at 20:51, Olivia Coll at 20:52, and Madison Lein at 21:05.
Many of the younger runners had an opportunity to shine for the Tigers, and the roster also consists of many of the players from the girls soccer team, who had their season cancelled this past spring due to COVID-19.
"We have a lot of talented freshmen," Patrylak said, "and we have some girls who play soccer get some extra running in, but we benefitted greatly in general."
As usual, the Granite City meet will bring some talented runners, and Patrylak knows that his team will need to be ready to go next Saturday.
"O'Fallon will be tough to beat, and Highland in Class 2A will be good," Patrylak said, "so we've got to make sure we stay on our toes and bring our A game."