Chart toppers: Best all-state cross-country bets

Today's topic:

Best all-state cross-country bets, courtesy Marcus Jackson

No. 1

Steve Schroeder

Monticello

The senior is a veteran of the state finals, having placed fifth last year at Detweiller Park. With expectations high this season, Schroeder hasn't disappointed. He won the Class 1A Monticello Regional and followed that up with a win at the St. Teresa Sectional last weekend with a time of 14:55. His sectional time was better than any other Class 1A runner in the state. The runner-up last spring in the 3,200 meters in track, Schroeder has run the area's best 3-mile time this fall (14:33).

No. 2

Chelsea Blaase

SJ-O

Senior ran a season-best 17:09 to win the Class 1A St. Teresa Sectional a week after claiming the top spot at the PBL Regional. Blaase is no stranger to Detweiller Park, having finished ninth a year ago and leading the Spartans to third place in Class 1A. She was unbeaten during October.

No. 3

Scott Woodard

Unity

Senior is a big reason coach Dike Stirrett's Rockets came out on top as a team at last weekend's St. Teresa Sectional. Woodard was fourth a week after winning the PBL Regional that the Rockets also won. Woodard finished 27th in Class 1A at state as a junior — missing all-state honors by two places.

No. 4

Lauren Houmes

Hoopeston Area

Vermilion Valley Conference champ ran a school-record time of 17:45 at the St. Teresa Sectional en route to a fourth-place finish. Houmes broke the previous Hoopeston Area record (18:36) held by current Eastern Illinois runner Erika Ramos, whom she trained with last summer.

No. 5

Johnny Leverenz

Danville

Sophomore was fifth at the Class 3A Quincy Sectional. His best performance might have been in a race he didn't win. He was the runner-up at the Big 12 meet in Danville to defending Class 2A champion Michael Clevenger of MacArthur and is looking to make an impact at his first high school state final.

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