EDWARDSVILLE – Marquette Catholic’s Riley Vickrey has emerged as one of the top runners in the area; the Explorer junior reached last year’s 3200-meter run at the IHSA Class 1A Girls Track Championship in Charleston and is a leader for both the Marquette girls cross-country and track programs.

Vickrey ran in Saturday morning’s Edwardsville Invitational cross-country meet at SIU-Edwardsville’s Mud Mountain course, finishing in ninth place with a time of 20:48.84 for the five-kilometer (3.1-mile) course.

“It is, definitely,” Vickrey, a junior, said about the always difficult Mud Mountain course. “It always slows down my pace on that second mile; I love this course, though – the hills really add to your time, but it makes you even better for the flatter courses.

“It (the course) was actually way better,” Vickrey said with a laugh. “The ground was actually solid, so you could plant your feet when you were running up stuff.”

Saturday’s conditions were typical late-summer for the area – temperatures in the low 80s and humid. “It’s really humid and hot, but it’s good to train in these conditions so when it gets cooler, it’s like heaven,” Vickrey said. “I know here, I just wanted to beat my time from the First to the Finish meet (the weekend before at Peoria’s Detweiler Park) because it was slower than I wanted, so I knew coming into this one, I wanted to knock off about a minute because I wanted to get into the 20s.

“My goal is always to get sub-20 here; it was definitely close, I just wanted to get to that 19-minute mark.”

Still, getting a Top-10 finish on the day made Vickrey a proud runner. “I’m really happy,” Vickrey said, “because there are some big schools here; I like competing against the big schools because they really bring down my times.

“They’re (large schools like Edwardsville, Columbia (Mo.) Rock Bridge – among the larger schools in Saturday’s meet) just amazing; they have really good teams, so it’s always fun to race against them. I’m just excited for the season and I just want to keep bringing down my times and hopefully make it to state (the first weekend in November in Peoria).”

If you have a Rising Stars Club submission, e-mail dbrannan@riverbender.com. The Rising Stars Club nomination can include a youth for top academic performance, the arts or any sport.

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Feeney, 56, is a native of Granite City and graduated from Granite City South in 1978. He was a part-time writer for the old Granite City Journal from 1979-84 before attending Eastern Illinois University in Charleston,
from which he earned his BA in journalism in 1988. He has worked for newspapers in Sikeston, Mo., Rocky Mount, N.C., Seneca, S.C. and in Charleston-Mattoon. He also worked for the old St. Clair County Suburban
Journals.

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