NORMAL - The Edwardsville girls cross country team used a pack mentality as its strategy, with the Tigers' number two through six runners staying together for much of the race, and it paid off handsomely as the Edwardsville won the IHSA Class 3A Normal Community girls cross country regional meet Saturday morning at Maxwell Park in Normal.

The Tigers won the meet with a total of 48 points, with O'Fallon coming in second with 66 points, Quincy came in third with 87 points, the host Iron finished fourth with 90 points, Pekin was fifth with 128 points and Belleville West claimed the final team qualifying spot with a sixth-place finish with 137 points. Bradley Bourbonnais was seventh with 173 points and Granite City came in eighth with 201 points. Alton and Collinsville had individual runners in the field, but didn't record a team score.

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The pace strategy worked well for the Tigers, and it may have helped make a big difference in the outcome of the race.

"Our pack was the difference in the race," said Edwardsville head coach George Patrylak. "Our number two through six runners finished relatively close together, and we challenged the girls to take some risks in today's race, as we felt confident that the girls would win the championship. Some of the risks paid off, and Emma Patrick ran a lifetime personal record. and was our third runner for the first time this year. Our fourth through sixth runners ran really well, but Emma had a great performance, and Emily (Nuttall) continued her successful season, receiving her first-ever Class 3A all-regional honor."

Several other Tiger runners ran their all-time personal best times on the day, including Belle Horsford, as the team's seventh runner.

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The individual winner was Peyton Schieppe of O'Fallon, who had a time of 17:31,8, with Ali Ince of Normal Community second at 18:04.0, third place went to Anna Schuering of Quincy, who came in at 18:14,1, Julia Monson of O'Fallon was fourth at 18:23.8, Nuttall was fifth at 18:27.2, in sixth place was Alyssa Elliott of Belleville West, who had a time of 18:32,4, in seventh place was Normal Community's Olivia Hartke at 18:49.0, Olivia Coll of the Tigers was eighth at 19:03.4, Quincy's Alexandria Meyers was ninth a 19:08.4 and Patrick rounded out the top ten with a time of 19:08.8.

Along with the top three runners, Maya Lueking had a time of 19:21.0 for the Tigers, with Whitney Dyckman right behind at 19:21.8, Madison Strotheide was in at 19:24.5 and Horsford's time was 20:20.4. Lauryn Fenoglio of Granite City qualified as an individual with a time of 20:03.2, being one of the top five individuals from non-qualifying teams, while teammate Emilee Franklin was in at 20:25.2, Lillian Harris had a time of 22:19.3, Lydia Harris was in at 24:40.6, Madison Tanksley had a time of 25:12.2, Sophia Boone came home at 28:10.1 and Rowan Wallace was in at 28:44.3.

Alton's only runner, Sophia Paschal, had a time of 21:38.7, while the Kahoks were led by Selah Hart's time of 22:14.7, Kassidy Rea had a time of 23.22,8 and Morgan Laing was in at 24:18.0.

The Tigers and the other five teams, along with the top five individuals, move on to the sectional meet next Saturday at Quincy, and Patrylak feels that the Tigers have a very good opportunity to qualify for the state meet as a team.

"Out girls sectional is a lot tougher overall than the boys' race," Patrylak said, "but we're confident that the girls will earn one of those top seven places and continue the consecutive state-qualifying streak."

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