MT. VERNON —
The Rams cross country team is hoping a conference championship translates into postseason success.
Mt. Vernon traveled to Carbondale and won the South Seven Conference title for the first time since 2008. Coach Clint Turner said the confidence gained from that race could help the Rams as they compete in Saturday's Highland regional.
“When you achieve some of your goals for the season, that obviously helps your confidence,” Mt. Vernon boys coach Clint Turner said. “And I think as much as anything sports of any kind confidence is, maybe, if not the biggest factor it's definitely probably 1b of the whole deal.”
David Modert led the Rams at the conference race and won the individual race. Jordan Wilemon, Daniel Flood and Hagan Schneider all placed in the top 10 during the race.
For most of the Lady Rams, the regional will be a fresh experience. The team has a sophomore (Camilla Bauer) and senior (Zoe Mattingly) with experience. The rest are freshmen.
“We visited the course so we could just be aware of where they're going to be running, what the terrain is like to try to keep them comfortable with their situation,” Mt. Vernon girls coach Connie Harre-Blair said.
Kate Bushue has led the Lady Rams lately as a freshman. Bushue finished seventh in the conference meet. Bauer added a top-10 placing in ninth.
Highland's course is a new one for both the Rams and Lady Rams. Both teams traveled over to it for a practice run this week. The course is mostly grass and includes a couple of hills and several tight turns.
“There's really not a completely flat portion of it,” Turner said. “There's some kind of uphill or slight downhill or an angle of some kind.
“You just have to go run the course. It's nothing out of the ordinary.”
Harre-Blair said because of the course dynamics the Lady Rams runners will try to start quickly and hold their position throughout the race.
The top six teams in the regional advance to the Decatur sectional. The top five individuals not on an advancing team also qualify for the sectional.