by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—One can only hope this past Saturday was a preview for bigger things down the course.
At Peoria High School’s First to the Finish race on Saturday, featuring the best Class 2A has to offer at Detweiller Park, the Knights ran away with a third-place nod.
With 184 team points, the Knights set a new high-water mark for the Peoria meet, after finishing fourth five years ago.
“The boys took advantage of great weather and fast competition to net a third-place finish,” KHS head coach Chad Clarey said. “Our pack split of 56 seconds (one through five) was a major factor in the team’s top five showing.”
Northern Illinois Big XII rival Yorkville’s 88 was tops out of 45 schools, followed by Normal U-High’s 119.
Kyle Carter was the flag-bearer for the Knight roster, finishing 10th overall with a time of 15 minutes, 23 seconds—setting a KHS record for the course, and also beating his own 2011 State race time by 22 seconds.
Next for KHS was Conor Johnson, who finished 30th with a time of 15:51, clipping his own state time by nine seconds.
John Meisinger was 40th with a time of 16:05, followed by Ryan Bower with a time of 16:08 (45th place).
KHS coach Chad Clarey was pleased with the 56 second pack split, and the Knights’ depth.
“John Meisinger and Ryan Bower each looked very strong,” Clarey said. “Another major key to our day was Luis Acosta. (He) ran nearly 30 seconds faster than his 2011 State time, and looks like a seasoned veteran.”
Acosta finished 59th at 16:19.
Ahead for KHS is the storied Eddington Invite at Elburn Woods on Saturday, Sept. 15.