EDWARDSVILLE - Edwardsville High junior Emily Nuttall won her first race for the Tigers, while placing a total of five runners in the top ten in going on to win the Edwardsville Invitational cross country meet Saturday morning at the famed Mud Mountain course at SIU-Edwardsville.

The Tigers celebrated their Senior Day meet by winning the meet with 24 points, while Francis Howell of St. Charles County, Mo., came in second with 55 points, John Burroughs of Ladue, Mo. was third with 59 points, and Ft. Zumwalt North, also of St. Charles County, was fourth with 105 points.

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Nuttall, who transferred to Edwardsville from Olney Richland County this season, continued her improvement while filling in for the injured Riley Knoyle as the team's number one runner. It was a very important positive for the Tigers in the race.

"There were a lot more positives than negatives in the race," said Edwardsville head coach George Patrylak. "The drawback in the girls' race is this time, we had only four full teams competing, so our results may indicate a suddenly better overall performance than we raced. The good thing was that our junior, Emily, won her first-ever high school race. She moved from Richland County last year and has shown dramatic improvement with Riley's injury. She has been a consistent number one runner for us so far this season, and it was nice to see her get her first individual title as a Tiger. And sophomore Olivia Coll had an impressive performance, finishing second overall."

It was also the Tigers' Senior Day meet, and Patrylak was glad to see the team win the championship on the seniors' final home meet.

"We're happy with our girls' effort and overall team championship, being Senior Day," Patrylak said. "Seniors Anna Singh and Makenna Lueking stepped up with their best performances this season."

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Nuttall won the individual title with a time of 20:29.04, with Coll placing second at 20:41.25. A pair of runners for the Bombers, Corinne Spetnagle and Allie Turner, were third and fourth with respective times of 21:06.31 and 21:12.51, with Ella Coulter of the Vikings fifth at 21:12.99, Brodie Denny of Anna-Jonesboro was sixth at 21:17.33, a trio of Tiger runners, Whitney Dyckman, Singh and Madison Strotheide, were seventh through ninth, with Dyckman in at 21:19.07, Singh timed in 21:20.63 and Strotheide coming in at 21:50.24 and Francis Howell's Ashlyn Sherwood completing the top ten with a time of 21:53.90.

Outside of the top five, the Tigers' Maya Lueking came in at 21:55.59, while Emma Patrick's time was 21:59.43 and Makenna Lueking was in at 23:13.78.

Among the individual runners in the meet, Alton's Sophia Pascal had a time of 24:13.96, while Collinsville's Selah Hart was in at 24:29.30, teammate Kassidy Rea had a time of 26:05.86, Audrey Cummins of the Kahoks was clocked in 27:02.47 and Colleen Zinke came in at 28:10.64. Two runners from East St. Louis, Courtasja Williams and Donetha Redmond, were timed in 35:25.34 and 42:32.32 respectively. The Redbirds, Kahoks and Flyers didn't record a team score.

Patrylak felt that the overall meet went very well, and has some ambitious plans for its growth in 2022 and down the road.

"Our hopes are to increase our high school entries to 30 teams," Patrylak said. "and our middle school entries to over 50 teams next year. Coach (Mark) Tschudy and I have a bet to make this meet the best and largest invitational south of Peoria next year and beyond."

Dan Brannan also contributed to this story.

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