By Mike Monahan

Mattoon’s Brock Davee blew away his personal best time by more than one minute to capture the boys title in the 20-team Mattoon Invitational across the city’s asphalt streets Wednesday.

Davee averaged beat Flora’s Stanford by nearly 17 seconds in 14 minutes, 54.8 seconds on a day featuring temperatures in the mid-60s.

That’s the 16th best three-mile high school cross country time recorded in Illinois this year.

“It was a perfect day. Literally the perfect weather you could have for a race,” said Davee of the three-mile race that finished at Peterson Park. “It was not too cold so your muscles are not tightening before the race. It is not too warm where you are sweating a lot.”

Davee’s previous best time had been 15:48 in last year’s IHSA Regional meet at Taylorville.

This is Davee’s second straight invitational title. Davee ran 15:55.7 last week to win the Decatur Invite.

“Honestly, I was just going out trying to get the win and do my best,” said Davee. 

Davee’s ran at the front of the pack for an opening mile of 4:54.3, followed by miles of 5:14.4 and 4:46.

“I thought he had a shot of winning it,” said Mattoon coach Troy Haacke. “Both the Flora runner (Stanford) and the Newton guy (Nick Zwilling) beat him at Olney when he didn’t have his best race. He came out at MacArthur and won it. Then on a day of rest before Olney, he came back today and ran an exceptional race.”

Charleston’s Whitley Wood finishes 22nd in the Mattoon Cross Country Invitational Wednesday. (Photo/Dominic Baima)

Mattoon’s Sam Ferrar took ninth with a time of 16:13.1, earning him a spot on the podium where three-time Olympian and world cross champion Craig Virgin handed them a medal.

“Sam has run three great races in a row now,” said Haacke. “He was in the top 20 at MacArthur and top 10 at Olney and top 10 again today. He is a four year runner for us and is doing a great job right now, and I am very proud of him.”

Davee and Farrar were not the only ones who ran personal best times. Haacke said 11 girls and boys ran a personal or season best. 

One person who was excited to get his photo taken with Virgin was Ferrar. 

“When I found out that the top 10 medalists get their medal from Craig Virgin, that is what spot I wanted to be in,” said Farrar. “I just tried to put myself in there early and not just fall off. It feels amazing.”

Davee said the last 800 was like running into a brick wall as everyone ran against the wind.

Colton Smith and Chase Armstrong were also in the top 50 for Mattoon, who placed fourth as a team with 145 points with times of 17:42.8 and 17:43.7 respectively. 

Charleston boys

Luca Carcasi was the top CHS boys runner, placing 24th overall with a time of 16.59.7. Also finishing the top 50 for the ninth place team with 233 points were Luke Newell and Blake Homann with times of 17:32.2 (36th place) and 17:37.9  (37th place), respectively.

Taylorville won the 14 team event that had 114 runners.  

Charleston girls

Charleston finished in sixth place out of 10 teams and among 95 runners. 

The top runner for the Trojans was Whitley Wood, who placed 22nd with a time of 20:23.6, while three other runners were among the top 50. They included IIa Ritcher (21:26.3 and 41st place), Sophie Kattenbraker (47th place in 21:58.4) and Lilly Long (49th in 22:01.9)

Wood’s time was her best by nearly a minute. 

“I am sure the weather played a big part of it and being a road race and especially with the first mile slightly downhill,” said Charleston coach Chris Hawk. “It was neat to see everyone take advantage of that. Everyone that ran and got their season best or personal best and that was cool to see.”

Several Charleston have been sickness, including three Wednesday.

“It was a different type of race,” said Hawk. “I just feel like there are a lot of people there in a festive atmosphere. We had two seniors that had been sick and it was nice to see them come back and take a chunk of time off. Jordan Keifffer was fifth for us today (53rd in 22:16). She knocked off a minute off her season best at Decatur MacArthur and then was another minute faster today. Halsey Webb, a freshman, was 67th in 23:11. She had surgery during the offseason from track and this was her first meet as she was cleared two weeks ago. She ran with no pain and just to have a starting point now is nice. We will see what she can do the rest of the season.”

Mattoon girls 

Mattoon had two sophomores and two freshmen participate. Oakley Layton and Hallee Perry finished in the top 50 at 25th and 44th, respectively. Layton’s time was 20:34 and Perry’s was 21:42.4. Both are returning lettermen. 

“I know for a fact the boys and girls were trying to do their best,” said Farrar. 

Haacke was glad to have both Virgin and Matt Piescinski there. 

“Both of those guys have been around so much of Illinois,” said Haacke. “Matt has done every state cross country and IHSA state track for a long, long time. They get together and tell stories and you can just sit back and listen. I don’t think we could get back to the way it was before (when Chicago teams and others from around the state would compete). But it is still a neat environment.”

Virgin competed and won the Invite (which was 2.8 miles) in 12:41 in 1971 and a course record 12:37.3 in 1972. 

“The north/northwest wind pushed them (all runners) for the first mile plus,” said Haacke. “One of the kids asked me Tuesday if they thought they could PR and I said, ‘Absolutely you could because of the weather. You have been running and all of your meets have been in hot weather. Your body has to work hard in the heat. The weather is going to be beautiful and you are going to feel like you are going to fly.’”


1Brock DaveeMattoon14:54.8
2Isaac StanfordFlora15:11.2
3Cale SmithDecatur (Eisenhower)15:38.1
4Nick ZwillingNewton15:40.3
5Austin WesleyRobinson15:41.6
6Andrew DonaldsonEffingham (H.S.)15:47.2
7Owen MorganTaylorville15:50.2
8Griffen ElderEffingham (St. Anthony)15:50.6
9Sam FerrarMattoon16:13.1
10Evan MorganTaylorville16:17.0
11Garrett WagonerEffingham (H.S.)16:19.5
12Joey McGinnDecatur (Eisenhower)16:25.7
13Will TurveyTaylorville16:27.9
14Clay BergbowerNewton16:35.4
15Eli HiattMarshall16:37.5
16Donnie TillmanRobinson16:40.3
17Wiley PetersNeoga16:41.3
18Jack ChesserTaylorville16:42.1
19Jesse SloanTaylorville16:46.8
20Adam FlackEffingham (H.S.)16:46.8
21Nick ShamhartNewton16:52.7
22Luis ZavalaNewton16:56.0
23Conlan WalshEffingham (St. Anthony)16:59.0
24Luca CarcasiCharleston16:59.7
25Noah GilmoreRobinson17:01.7


1Brooklyn BenderMarshall17:46.5
2Katelyn JonesRobinson18:12.2
3Isabel ArthurMarshall18:21.3
4Ashleigh AndersonMt. Zion18:34.0
5Hailey BetzerMt. Zion18:37.3
6Sofia MunozMt. Zion18:48.6
7Cailin MorrisMarshall18:59.2
8Jessica LarsonEffingham (H.S.)19:10.6
9Ellie FritzscheMt. Zion19:17.7
10Camille MavisMt. Zion19:18.5
11Brooke DoyleMt. Zion19:20.2
12Emma MalloryMt. Zion19:20.5
13Ellla TingleyRobinson19:41.8
14Quinn WesleyRobinson19:55.6
15Natalie KistnerNewton19:56.9
16Kayleigh KoesterEffingham (H.S.)20:08.0
17Ella GoodmanTaylorville20:09.1
18Payton RossCasey (C.-Westfield)20:12.9
19Sophie StarkRobinson20:16.1
20Alexis HetzerNewton20:17.7
21Bethany JonesMarshall20:21.9
22Whitley WoodCharleston20:23.6
23Anna GoodmanTaylorville20:32.4
24Brynn FormanRobinson20:33.8
25Oakley LaytonMattoon20:34.0


  1. Taylorville 67
  2. Newton 87
  3. Effingham 138
  4. Mattoon 145
  5. Robinson 147

9. Charleston 233


  1. Mt. Zion 34
  2. Marshall 69
  3. Robinson 72
  4. Effingham 124
  5. Newton 152
  6. Charleston 212