Boys cross country: Regional champs! Taylor leads Illineks to second title in four years
Published: Monday, October 27, 2008 - 8:37pm
When & Where: Saturday, Oct. 25, Kickapoo State Park, Oakwood
Result: Uni placed first out of nine scoring teams
Summary: Senior Malcolm Taylor won the three-mile race in 16:28, and three teammates joined him in the top 10: junior Nathan Smith (seventh, 16:53), sophomore Buck Walsh (eighth, 16:59), and sophomore Albert Anastasio (10th, 17:06).
Next Meet: Class 1A Paxton sectional, 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 1, Paxton-Buckley-Loda H.S.
Malcolm Taylor stays warm before the race. Gargoyle photos by Katherine Allen (click to enlarge)
Jack Snyder kids around with fellow junior Langston Allston-Yeagle as the Uni boys wait for their race to begin. From left are Nathan Smith, Allston-Yeagle, Snyder, sophomore Ziran Shang, senior Isaac Chambers, and sophomore Albert Anastasio. (click to enlarge)
KICKAPOO STATE PARK — When he was a freshman in 2005, Malcolm Taylor helped Uni win the Class A St. Joseph regional title by placing eighth overall.
Taylor was good that day, running the three-mile Kickapoo course in 17 minutes, 35 seconds.
As a senior in 2008, he was even faster — much faster. On Saturday, Taylor ran the course in 16:28 to finish first overall and lead his teammates to Uni's second regional boys title in four years.
"Going into the meet I definitely was looking for us to win as a team," Taylor said. "As for me personally, I knew I could compete with all the top runners there, but I went in with the goal of getting into the top five."
Taylor was one of four Illineks to finish in the top 10. The others were junior Nathan Smith (seventh, 16:53), sophomore Buck Walsh (eighth, 16:59), and sophomore Albert Anastasio (10th, 17:06).
The split between Uni's No. 1 and No. 4 runners was just 38 seconds.
Senior Isaac Chambers ended the scoring for Uni by placing 16th (17:57). Junior Langston Allston-Yeagle was close behind in 19th (18:02), while junior Andrew Weatherhead was 35th (19:01).
Uni topped St. Joseph-Ogden 42-50 for the championship, the second time this year the Illineks have defeated their Spartan rivals. Both teams will run against each other Saturday at the 1A sectional meet at Paxton-Buckley-Loda High School.
Also advancing to sectionals were Georgetown-Ridge Farm/Chrisman (84), Tolono Unity (100), and St. Thomas More (121).
Last year, both Taylor and the Illineks were runners-up at the St. Joe regional, with Taylor clocking in at 17:06 to take second place behind Oakwood's Justin Jones, while Uni as a team finished behind SJO 27-54.
In his sophomore year, Taylor placed third at regionals (16:40), and Uni was fifth as a team.
This year Taylor made use of his experience to devise a winning strategy that allowed him to overtake senior Brice Dodds of Tolono Unity (second, 16:31) and junior Drew Blaase of SJO (third, 16:36).
"During the race I obviously knew that Brice and Drew were gonna be up in the front, so I took the first mile sitting back behind them seeing how I felt," Taylor said. "During the second mile I was feeling good so I moved towards the front and tried to stick with Drew in the front until the end, where I was banking on my kick to win it for me. I made sure I had enough at the end for an all-out sprint so I wasn't too worried about being passed; I had more to give."
The 2008 Illineks are trying to become the first Uni boys squad to qualify for the cross country state finals since 1997. To accomplish that, they will have to finish among the top five teams at the 20-team PBL sectional.
Besides the four other teams advancing from the St. Joseph regional, Uni will compete against the top five teams from the Beecher regional (1. Bishop McNamara, 2. Beecher, 3. Gardner South Wilmington, 4. Clifton Central, 5. PBL), the top five from the Monticello regional (1. Bloomington Central Catholic, 2. Decatur St. Teresa, 3. Monticello, 4. Heyworth, 5. Tri-Valley), and the top five from the Robinson regional (1. Shelbyville, 2. Robinson, 3. Toledo Cumberland, 4. Teutopolis, 5. Effingham St. Anthony).
The boys race will begin at 11 a.m.
"This Saturday I feel like if everyone runs their best we have a great shot at winning the title," said Taylor. "I plan on doing my best … which I hope will get me up in the top 10."
Class 1A St. Joseph Regional Boys Meet at a Glance
Top 5 Runners
- 1 Malcolm Taylor, Sr., Urbana (Uni High), 16:28.4
2 Brice Dodds, Sr., Tolono (Unity), 16:31.4
3 Drew Blaase, Jr., St. Joseph-Ogden, 16:36.6
4 Joel Thompson, Sr., Tolono (Unity), 16:39.6
5 Matt Morris, Sr., Georgetown-RF/Chrisman, 16:46
- 1 Urbana (University High), 42
2 St. Joseph-Ogden, 50
3 Georgetown-RF/Chrisman, 84
4 Tolono (Unity), 100
5 Champaign (St. Thomas More), 121
6 Fithian (Oakwood), 133
7 Villa Grove, 212
8 Champaign (Judah Christian), 230
9 Bismarck-Henning, 234
Uni High Results
- 1 Malcolm Taylor, Sr., 16:28
7 Nathan Smith, Jr., 16:53
8 Buck Walsh, So., 16:59
10 Albert Anastasio, So., 17:06
16 Isaac Chambers, Sr., 17:57
19 Langston Allston-Yeagle, Jr., 18:02
35 Andrew Weatherhead, Jr., 19:01