Rich East Rocket Cross Country Qualifies Six for Cross Country Sectionals

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- Six Rich East Cross Country runners will be competing in the Class 2A Peoria-Notre Dame Sectional on Saturday. Senior co-captain Leon Heard will be making his second-straight trip to a sectional meet and sophomore Kentrell Mason will be running in his first sectional meet. On the girls side, junior Janiah Jones will be making her third-straight trip to a sectional meet for the Lady Rocket harriers. Also running on Saturday will be sophomores Sarah Abbott and Reilly Minnich and freshman Connie Magee, running in their first sectionals. Minnich is the sister of Bryan Minnich, who won all-conference, all-regionals and all-sectional honors and qualified for the state cross country finals for Rich East in 2008. Also, the four girls who have qualified for the Rocket girls team, marks the first time in nearly 20 years, that at least four Rocket girls have qualified for a secttional meet.

At last Saturday’s Morris Regional meet, Heard ran a personal record 17 minutes, 32 seconds, finishing in seventeenth place. Jones also finished in 17th place in the girls race with a 21:12. Both also placed in the same spot the previous week at the Southland Athletic Conference meet as both finish third. They also repeated as all-conference runners. Also at Saturday’s meet, Mason ran a PR 20:39. On the girls side, Abbott ran a 22:21, followed close behind by Minnich with a 22:25 and Magee’s 22:31.

"I am so proud of Leon and Kentrell and what they have accomplished this season," said Rocket Boys Cross Country Coach Kevin Kredens. "They really have been focused since the beginning of the season. I am happy for them that they get a chance to extend their season."

The girls team is coached by Christy Cook who added she is also very proud of the hard work her girls team has put in. "We were just one point from qualifying our entire team of seven runners to sectionals. The good thing is that we all of those girls returning next season."

On Saturday, the girls meet will begin at 10 a.m. and the boys meet will commence at 10:45 at Illinois Central College in East Peoria. Nearly three dozen schools will competing at Saturday’s Sectional meet, which will be one of five Class 2A Sectional Cross Country Meets across the state.