By Mike Monahan

TAYLORVILLE – Charleston Middle’s Hadley Webb (above) dominated the field of 47 in the final cross country race of the season, crossing the finish line 25 seconds ahead of a Mt. Zion runner in 12:23 to win the IESA Class 3A sectional at the Christian County Fairgrounds.

CMS just missed winning the girls team title, compiling one more point than Mt. Zion’s 41. Effingham finished third at 51.

There will be no IESA state championship due to health concerns related to COVID-19. 

This is the first time a Charleston Middle girl has won a sectional since the program began in 2015. In a normal year, the entire Charleston girls’ team would have advanced to state. 

The top runner across the state are expected to get invite to an unofficial state race set for Oct. 31 in Chillicothe.

Two other CMS runners earned medallions Saturday — Maggie Englum, a seventh-grader who finished sixth in 13:26, and Mia Hinds, who took ninth in 13:54. 

The Mattoon girls, led by seventh-grader Baylee Summers who placed 10th in 13:57, tallied 106 points, beating Taylorville by 12 points for fourth. 

Webb, an eighth-grader, started out fast and had the lead early on in a two-mile race through gusty winds. The runners started with the wind and had several tight turns to make on the flat course. The final stretch of several hundred yards was against the wind. 

“I like to beat them first and make them catch me,” said Webb, who began running with her parents when she was 9. “I wasn’t positive we would have sectionals. I was really excited when we were and I wanted to go out and win it.”

Once Webb knew she was all alone, more than 150 yards ahead of the next closest runner, she focused ahead. “I chased after the lead cart and tried to get my personal record,” she said. “I am excited to win it.”

Webb’s best time this season, in less gusty conditions, is 12:08.

Mt. Zion won the boys sectional team title after capturing the first three spots for 23 points. Effingham took second, followed by Charleston and Mattoon.

CMS’s Blake Homann took ninth with a time of 12:40, while MMS’s Keeghan Shaw placed 13th in 13:05. 

The wind picked up 7 mph more than it had been for the earlier girls race. 

“I am really proud of the boys,” said Charleston coach John McInerney. “They never cease to amaze me.”

It was the first time some teams had competed in a meet involving more than three teams as the bigger meets were cancelled. 

GIRLS TEAM SCORES

  1. Mount Zion 41, 2. Charleston 42, 3. Effingham 51, 4. Mattoon 106, 5. Taylorville 118

INDIVIDUAL RESULTS

Charleston results: 1. Hadley Webb , Charleston 12:23.0 6. Maggie Englum 13:26; 9. Mia Hinds 13:54. 12. Mia Carcasi 14:16. 14. Amber Weiss 14:28; 20. Libby Weiss 15:14; 26. Ruth Okrasinski 16:05. 

Mattoon results: 10. Baylee Summers 13:57; 17. Brooke Jobe 14:14; 24. Ayden Buckler 15:43; 25. Kaelyn Ryan 15:47; 30. Kennedy Smith 17:27; 31. Alaina Hedges 17:32; 32. Sophia Hoppin 18:46; 

BOYS TEAM SCORES

  1. Mount Zion 23, 2. Effingham 34; 3. Charleston 79; 4. 105. 5. Taylorville incomplete score

Charleston results: 9. Blake Homann 12:40; 15. Simao Amartey 13:30; 16. Jonathan Brown 13:31; 19. Dylan Bell 13:45; 20. Dylan Hawk 13:50; 22. Butcher 14:00; 13. Aidan Archibald 14:15

Mattoon results: 13. Keeghan Shaw 13:05; 17. Jackson Cook 13:32; 24. Anthony Spracken 15:12; 25. Kyle Smith 15:24; 26. Gavin Gordon 15:43; 27. Logan Thompson 15:56; 28. Tyler Haacke 16:16