EACH WEEK, WE’LL TAKE A LOOK BACK AT A MEMORABLE MOMENT IN PREPS HISTORY, THANKS TO THE WORDS OF THE NEWS-GAZETTE
This week: Labor Day around these parts usually means it's time for the Chrisman Cowchip Classic
Date: Sept. 4, 2005
Headline: Hilltopper wearing it well
By FRED KRONER
CHRISMAN – Scott Krapf ran more than 500 miles during the summer. The Schlarman athlete was certain he had prepared himself as much as possible physically and mentally for his senior season in cross-country.
And yet, midway through the year’s first major invitational, Saturday’s Cowchip Classic, Krapf acknowledged he was "a little intimidated."
It wasn’t his second-place position in the race that had him slightly unnerved. It was the sight of the person who was ahead of him after 11/2 miles.
Matt Feldhake, a sophomore at Effingham St. Anthony, lost his left shoe less than 800 meters into the race but didn’t slow down. Feldhake was ahead of Krapf, a two-time all-stater in cross-country, halfway through the race.
"When he had a 5- to 10-meter lead, I was kind of in panic mode to see a kid with one shoe go ahead like that," Krapf said. "Matt ran one of the most impressive races I’ve ever seen anyone run. I thought that (lost shoe) would give me an advantage, but he fought through it."
Krapf was able to overtake his adversary in the final mile and won the flighted race for No. 1 runners in 16 minutes, 4 seconds. Feldhake entered the chute five seconds afterwards and had the day’s top time among all sophomores.
For Krapf, it was the eighth successive year he had the top time for his grade level.
Krapf and Feldhake were not the day’s only impressive runners.
Monticello’s boys, ranked ninth in Class A by Illinois Prep Top Times, won three of the seven races and had two runner-up finishes to win their first team title. The Sages had 15 points and outdistanced Cumberland (22), St. Joseph-Ogden (27) – which also had three individual winners – and Urbana University High (38).
Though the Sages hadn’t been in the top two in the Cowchip team standings, Krapf was not surprised by their performance.
"I’ve pinned Monticello to be one of the top teams in the state. They have a great coach, one of the best in the area, and they have hard workers," Krapf said. "They’ve earned it."
Coach Jeff Butler’s Sages had two of the most dominant winners. Sophomore Brent Rhodes won the flight for No. 4 runners by 36 seconds. Senior Keith Butler – the coach’s son – prevailed by 27 seconds at No. 2.
The team’s other winner was senior Andrew Colbert, who tied the meet record (17:01) at No. 3.
Rhodes, Keith Butler and Colbert, along with senior Scott Phelps (fourth at No. 1) teamed up for a third-place finish in last spring’s Class A 3,200 relay at the state track meet. Since then, the distance runners have held lofty goals.
"Those older guys have confidence knowing they can do it and knowing what they want," Jeff Butler said. "The opportunity is there for them. They hope the season will be pretty special."
Keith Butler said the seniors’ expectations weren’t as grand when they were ninth-graders.
"As freshmen, we hoped to improve enough to do well by our senior year," he said. "Now we’re lucky enough to have seven solid runners."
SJ-O’s winners were Zach Flessner (No. 5), Ethan Ford (No. 6) and Aaron Ball (No. 7). Ball and Ford each needed strong sprints to win their races, Ball prevailing by a second and Ford motoring to a four-second triumph. Ford’s time (18:15) was the day’s best by a freshman.
The top junior runner was Georgetown-Ridge Farm/Chrisman’s Nathan Warstler (16:30), third in the race for No. 1 runners.
Girls’ division. Sophomore Hannah Hogan repeated as the overall winner, winning the race for No. 1 runners by 17 seconds over Monticello’s Kerby Waddell.
Hogan called the layout "the ideal cross-country course.
"There’s up hills, down hills, middle loops and cow chips," she said.
She successfully navigated all the foreign obstacles during the race but had a slight mis-step before her race when she ran over to greet a relative.
"I still had my training shoes on," Hogan said.
M-S captured team honors for the fourth time in the last five years. Coach Bonnie Moxley’s team won seven of eight races (including the nonscored open flight) and set five records.
"I couldn’t be more pleased with the work ethic, the attitude and the desire, but we can’t stop here," Moxley said.
She had a preview of her team’s depth in Tuesday’s season opener against four Big 12 Conference schools where all squad members competed.
"We had 20 girls finish before any of the other teams had a fifth girl in," Moxley said, "and the split between our first and fifth runners was 32 seconds."
Saturday’s standouts included two freshmen who set records and registered the day’s best two times by ninth-graders. Amy Clauson won the race for No. 6 runners in 20:36, and Jessica Butcher finished the 3-mile course in 20:40 at No. 4.
In that race, the runner-up was Monticello’s Ellie Lawrence, whose 21:00 clocking was the day’s best by a senior. Teammate Waddell had the top time by a junior (19:55).
Other Bulldog record-setters were sophomore Julie Jarrett at No. 2 (19:50), junior Megan Helbling at No. 7 (21:27) and Sarah Forbes in the open race (21:34). Helbling and Forbes had times that would have placed them among the top nine had they been in the No. 1 race.
"It’s pretty apparent we’re deep," Moxley said. "We have 12 girls going for seven varsity spots."
Other M-S winners: senior Jennifer Fall (No. 3) and freshman Hannah Schaap (No. 5).
The Bulldogs had 11 points and were followed in the standings by Cumberland (21), Robinson (25), SJ-O (36) and Uni (39).