PEORIA — Johnny Leverenz is second to the best.
The Danville High School senior followed defending Class 2A state champion John Wold, from Glenbard South, into the finish chute in Saturday’s cross-country state meet at Detweiller Park.
Leverenz ran the 3-mile course in 14 minutes, 40 seconds, trailing Wold by two seconds. It was the highest state finish by a Danville athlete in cross-country.
“The first mile (4:29 split) was a killer,” said Leverenz, a three-time all-stater. “That was totally unexpected. He put about a 100-meter gap on me at 2 miles, but I brought it back.
“I’m OK with where I finished. I feel accomplished. I left it all out on the course. I’m proud of myself.”
Mahomet-Seymour placed 15th in the 25-school boys’ field. Team leader Alex Keeble, trying to run with a 101-degree fever, was unable to finish. The Bulldogs’ top placer for the first time was freshman Andrew Walmer.
“He ran a lifetime best. I was real impressed,” M-S coach Neal Garrison said. “At the state series, a lot of people get nervous, but it didn’t bother him at all.”
Walmer was 62nd in 15:52. Teammates James Williams was 90th (16:02).
In the girls’ race, M-S placed 20th and Bulldogs sophomore Lauren Whitehouse missed by one position of earning all-state honors. She was 26th overall in 18:09. Central’s Hannah Wright was the next area placer (33rd in 18:26).