CoEd Varsity Cross Country
Game Summaries & Headlines.
- Game Date
- Sep 21, 2019
Havis Takes 2nd at Edwardsville
EDWARDSVILLE – It was an uneasy lead for Alton senior Cassius Havis.
Havis had company in the lead pack at the 54th annual Edwardsville Invitational cross country meet, but Edwardsville Tigers were conspicuous in their absence.
“We got to 800 meters and I didn’t see them and we got to a mile and I didn’t see them,” Havis said. “I was like, where is everybody? I didn’t see the people I normally see the first two miles. After that, they started coming.”
They came, but only Edwardsville senior Jack Pifer was able to overtake Havis on the challenging 5K course at SIUE.
“I heard him,” Havis said of Pifer with a smile, “and I was like, ohhhh, here he comes. I heard Jack coming around 2.5 and he passed me. It was a good race though.”
Pifer ran a personal-best 16 minutes, 15.14 seconds to win his second major invite of the season. He was first at Granite City two weeks ago and eighth at Detweiller Park in Peoria last Saturday.
The Tigers scored five runners in the top 15 to also claim the team championship with 40 points. Ft. Zumwalt West (91), Highland (118), St. Louis CBC (137) and Father McGivney (183) completed the top five in a 19-team field.
Edwardsville had four runners in the top 10 with Zach Walters fifth in 16:36.18, Ryan Watts ninth in 17:00.01 and Geordan Patyrlak 10th in 17:02.76. The Tigers’ slow start was by design, using this field of 195 runners as a prep for the traffic they could encounter in the postseason and, ultimately, the state meet in Peoria.
“The goal for this race was to start in the back, sort of mimic a large start to a race similar to up at Detweiller where almost inevitably you’re going to end up in the back of the pack at first,” Pifer said. “So we wanted to start in the back and weave our way through to a good position by the first mile, still a little bit off the pace, and then just move up throughout the entire race and try to stay together as close as we could for as long as we could.”
While Havis was wondering where all the Tigers were, Pifer was wondering how the race would unfold with an unfamiliar race plan.
“I didn’t know how they were going to react with me not being up there,” Pifer said of the early leaders. “Usually I would be right with them, helping push along the pace. I wasn’t really sure what was going to happen. … Today was definitely a nice change of pace. There is almost an infinite number of ways to run the time you want. I’m just experimenting – the whole team is experimenting – with what way makes us race best.”
Havis, who ran third in the Edwardsville Invite last season behind graduated Tiger Roland Prenzler and Pifer, hit the finish with a PR of 16:22.99. He turned in a time of 16:46 as a junior.
“This is a tough course – one of the toughest we run on – and I’m glad with second place,” said Havis, who was coming off a victory a week earlier at the Belleville West Invite.
The Redbirds placed 14th as a team with 355 points. Junior Gerard Bruce ran 70th for Alton in 19:04.18.
McGivney, a Class 1A state qualifier last season, backed Guthrie’s third-place run with top 20s from Zach Brasel in 17th in 17:20.77 and Brandon Ahring in 20th in 17:22.96. Marquette Catholic (422) placed 16th and Metro-East Lutheran (520) was 18th. The Explorers’ were led by Asher Linkous (89th), Jacob Rummerfield (91st) and Cole DeClue (97th) all in the top 100.
Mark Eldridge was the lone entry for Civic Memorial and the senior placed 24th in 17:29.83. Jersey had two runners in the field, led by Joao Nail in 115th place.
After placing 20th at the Class 3A state meet in 2018, Edwardsville earned a team victory while also experimenting with an approach the Tigers believe could deliver an improved performance if they earn a return trip to Detweiller in Peoria.
“Indeed, that is exactly what we want to do,” Pifer said. “Last year, we came in with high expectations and we definitely did not do as well as we wanted. This year, we have a lot of depth and as long as we take the right steps, I think we can finish well.”