Two runners will represent Steeleville High School at Saturday's IHSA Class 1A state cross country meet at Detweiller Park in Peoria.
Sophomore Logan Fulkerson and junior Gavin Conway will compete for the Warriors after finishing ninth and 11th, respectively, as individuals. Fulkerson set a new school record with a time of 15:30, while Conway finished six seconds later.
"I looked at it and there's probably four or five ways we could have won it, but my guys went out and ran as well as they could have," said Steeleville coach Neal Haertling. "Everybody ran faster and had a PR for that course, just a lot of fast teams."
Freeburg won the race with a score of 92. The top five teams and top seven individuals advance to the state meet, with Pinckneyville (127), Columbia (139), Benton (138) and Breese Mater Dei (149) moving on.
Steeleville finished sixth as a team, two points behind Breese Mater Dei for fifth. Mater Dei senior Luke Goebel won the meet with a time of 14:24.9.
"I didn't see Columbia as fast as they did," Haertling said. "Breese Mater Dei was a team we were watching, but we thought we could beat them and they got us by two.
"It's tough to beat a team with a No. 1 runner."
A.J. Stearns missed qualifying for state by one position and Taylor Dagner, who set a new school record on the girls' side with a time of 18:57, also just missed qualifying for Peoria.
"Every point, every person in front of you means something," Haertling said. "It was a good day until we found out we got sixth."
Haertling is also looking toward the future, which should see Steeleville compete well as a team in 2018.
"We lose Jacob (Fedderke) and we've got people coming in from the grade school that hopefully are going to help out," he said. "We're hoping to have a full girls team next year."
Saturday's race in Peoria starts at 10 a.m. with awards at 11 a.m.