BY SAM SCINTA WEEKLY REPORTER
It is often said that the only thing harder than making a hit is to make a second. If that logic holds, what the O’Fallon Boys Cross Country program has done over the past eight years is borderline impossible.
The Panther runners’ feat was no easy task, as O’Fallon needed the favorable results of a tiebreaker to top rival Edwardsville to maintain their nearly decade-long stretch of dominance.
The Tigers and Panthers were locked at 36 points apiece before the tiebreak awarded O’Fallon the Southwestern Conference Championship for a remarkable eighth straight season. OTHS benefited in part by an average time of 16:05, two seconds better than Edwardsville. The Blue and Gold also had an edge at the time between the number one and number five runners, five seconds better than the Tigers.
Senior Joey Black secured O’Fallon’s best time at 15:42:60, just over two seconds behind first place Franky Ramano of Edwardsville. Granite City sophomore Andrew O’Keefe finished second.
OTHS senior Chris Conrad snuck into the top five with a 15:51:31, just edging out sophomore teammate Will Vanalstine, who finished sixth with a 15:52:03. Junior Lucas Capistrant rounded out the O’Fallon presence in the top ten, finishing ninth overall with a 16:24:60
Junior Matthew Gilster would finish out the OTHS top five, running a 16:36:80, good for 13th place. Other notable finishes were senior Zion Ward (15th) and junior Hayden Ybarra (17th).
O’Fallon will now set its sight on the IHSA Postseason, which starts with the Quincy Regional on Saturday. The Panthers will compete against SWC foes Alton, Belleville East, Belleville West, Collinsville, Granite City, Edwardsville and non conference host Quincy.
Advancing out of Quincy would lead to a Sectional meet in Edwardsville before the State Finals in Peoria’s Detweiller Park.