By PAUL HINES
MT. VERNON —
Cross country teams across the state begin the postseason journey today.
Every individual and team hopes that journey ends at the state finals in Peoria’s Detweiller Park.
Last season Clint Turner and his Rams advanced to the sectional, but an eighth-place finish ended their season. The Rams are hoping to make one more step in the postseason this year.
“We have a goal of wanting to make the state meet, which we have a legitimate shot to do,” Turner said.
The top seven teams at regional advance to the sectional round along with the top five individuals on non-qualifying teams. Mt. Vernon will run against Cahokia, Carbondale, Centralia, East St. Louis, Highland, Marion, Mascoutah, Triad and Waterloo. Triad hosts the regional, and this will be the first time running on the course for the Rams.
“It’s going to affect us a little bit,” Turner said. “We’re going to get over there early. The girls race first so it’s not like we have to jump off the bus and get on the course.”
David Modert has been a consistent leader for the Rams throughout the season. He won Mt. Vernon’s only home race this season and was the South Seven Conference individual champion. He finished the conference race in a time of 16:34.
“A good thing we’ve got going for us is David,” Turner said. “As an upfront runner, he’s going to get us a good first score.”
Mt. Vernon’s girls runners will also be at Triad today. Rachel Rexing led the Lady Rams at the South Seven Conference meet where she finished 14th overall. Webber’s Mallory Bergbower will be competing at the 1A Chester regional. The senior will attempt to make the state finals for the fourth straight season. She finished 83rd at Peoria last year.