Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- Rich East senior cross country runner Diamonte Ugbesia finished second at the Class 2A Cross Country Regionals in Morris on Saturday, earning all-regional honors, with a time of 15 minutes, 53.2 seconds, just behind Evan Mitchell, a sophomore from Lincoln-Way West (15:49).
The two fought neck-and-neck the whole race until LWW pulled just ahead with about 200 meters left in the race. By finishing in the top 10, Ugbesia qualifies for the Class 2A Peoria East Sectionals next Saturday. Also qualifying for sectionals from Rich East is freshman Eric Allen, who finished in 29th place with a 17:32.4.
"It was just a very good race for me to fight neck-and-neck like that," Ugbesia said. "It was pretty cool. He was pushing me and we were talking back-an-fourth. He was saying to me ‘C’mon, c’mon, let’s go, let’s do this, lets do this!’"
Rich East Coach Kevin Kredens, said, that Ugbesia is one of those runners that comes along every know and then that is just a pleasure to watch and coach.
"Like I have said before, Diamonte has just worked and trained hard all season," Kredens said. "He knows what he has to do and he is just so focused. It makes my job easy and he is an inspiration to his teammates and to his little brother (who is also a big fan)."
Allen, has also qualified for sectionals as a freshman. He has a bright future as a Rocket runner.
"Eric is going to be a very good runner," Kredens said. "He is very coachable and he wants to get better. He has a lot of drive and focus as well."
Also for the boys, there were many PRs, with senior Armond Paty (48th, 19:05.4), junior Mark Diorio (51st, 19:38), freshman Marshon Baines, sophomore Andre Strong and junior Kaylon Jones. The boys finished seventh out of 9 placing teams, 10th overall.
"I told them that they would do their best at regionals and they did," Kredens said. "Running against that competition brings out the best in you.
On the girls side, senior Sarah Abbott also earned a qualifying spot in next week’s sectionals, finishing in 35th place with a 22:20.4. Senior Day-Day Lefko also had a good time in the race. For Sarah, it is her second trip to a cross country sectional. She also made it as a sophomore.
"They also did a very nice job," Kredens said. "We’re all very proud of our boys and girls teams."