QUINCY, Ill. — A blanket of muggy heat settled over South Park as runners did their preparations for Quincy Notre Dame’s Running Raider Invitational on Tuesday, and before the gun sounded a decision was made.
The coaches in attendance reduced the race to just a two-mile course, but there wasn’t much complaining from the runners.
"It was definitely a hot day, I don’t think we really were expecting this heat but we were glad that it was shortened to a two mile, and I think that helped our strategy to go out hard and try to finish," said Hannibal senior Claudia Nichols.
Nichols took advantage of the shortened race, as she placed ninth in 13 minutes, 41 seconds. She was Hannibal’s only top-10 finisher for either the boys or girls teams.
"I would always like to do better, but with this heat and the course taking into account I think I did OK," she said. "It will definitely make me appreciate flatter courses and cooler temperatures, that’s for sure."
The girls finished 11th out of 15 squads with a score of 252.
Hannibal’s boys team came in ninth out of 15 teams, with freshman Cameron Nichols leading the way by placing 19th with an 11:43. Junior Brice Miller just missed the top 20 by coming in 21st with an 11:51, but he thought the team showed well.
"Before the race, coach (Charlie Newland) told us that with how hot it is if they cut it down to two miles we were here to race," Miller said. "Cameron has really stepped up and he’s doing amazing, especially as a freshman he is coming out and showing what he’s got. A lot of the guys on the team have a lot of talent.
"Overall I feel like today’s race went very well."
Monroe City came in seventh on the girls side with a 152 and 13th in the boys race with a 309. Bailey Hays was the highest Panther in either race with her 13th-place time of 13:46, and teammate Emmalee Williams wasn’t far behind in 15th with a 13:54.
Considering this was the largest race Monroe City has run in during its first year with a cross country program, Hays said she picked up a few new tricks.
"I definitely got caught up at the beginning so now I know I need to get out a lot quicker when there are this many girls here," she said. "Other than that I kept my pace pretty well throughout the course until the end, I definitely need to work on that."
Palmyra was 12th in the girls race with a 261 and 15th in the boys race with a 379. Lauren Reid took 17th in the girls race with a 14:05 for Palmyra’s best finish.
Mark Twain came in 10th on the boys end with a 298 but didn’t have a girls team score, but Zoe Miller was 27th in the girls race with a 14:39.