Area teams compete at Rock Falls Saturday

The race to the state meet in Peoria begins Saturday for high school cross country runners.
All of the Star Courier-area cross country teams — Kewanee, Annawan-Wethersfield, Bureau Valley, Mid-County and Ridgewood — are part of the Class 1A Rock Falls Regional field Saturday morning in Centennial Park. The girls race begins at 10 a.m., followed by the boys at 10:45 a.m. The top seven teams and top five individuals not on qualifying teams will advance to the Oregon Sectional Oct. 27.
Annawan-Wethersfield — It might be a chore to chase down host Rock Falls in the girls team race, but the A-W Lady Titans figure to join Erie-Prophetstown and Alleman in a spirited battle for second place.
The Lady Titans recently captured the Lincoln Trail Conference title and are led by junior Maddie Jackson, twins Kaitlyn and Kylie Cline, Dana Baele and Aly Eastman.
“They feel fresh, confident and ready to run their fastest times of the year this weekend,” said A-W coach Creston Fenn. “Rock Falls is the favorite, but the girls expect to be fighting for second against Erie-Prophetstown. Maddie Jackson just ran the second fastest time in our school history last week and is ready to compete for a top five spot at regionals.”
For the A-W boys, sophomore Michael Cook will start his quest for a second straight trip to the state meet against a stacked regional field that features Ethan Adlfinger of Alleman, Devin Johnson of Erie-Prophetstown, Kevin Claus of Riverdale and Ryan Taylor of Bureau Valley.
“It will be fun watching Michael run against Kevin Claus, Ryan Taylor, Devin Johnson and Ethan Adlfinger for the top spots at regionals,” said Fenn. “For some it might be scary to run against the best in the state. However, Michael has run fearless throughout his whole career, and he is absolutely ready to test his limits against the best. He is incredibly focused on reaching his goal of state, but he knows he needs to take it one step at a time. This Saturday is a big step.”
“There are a lot of great teams at Rock Falls and the boys will have to run really well to move on as a team,” added Fenn.
In addition to Cook, Fenn said he could see Rasheed DeBord, Rashaun DeBord and Cody Baele competing for individual qualifying berths.
Kewanee —  The Boiler Girls figure to be in the hunt for one of the seven sectional team berths.
“It will be a tight race for the last couple of team qualifying spots,” said Kewanee coach Chad Palm. “The regional is really loaded with talent this year, especially on the girls side. We have to go out and perform well. Every point is going to matter.
The Boiler Girls are led by freshman Julia King, sophomore twins Alex and Beth Cordrey, and four-year senior Amber Jordan.
“It would be great to get her through to the sectional,” said Palm of Jordan. “She’s done a great job of leading us this year.”
On the boys side, Kewanee’s sectional hopes rest with freshman Rolando Aguilar.
“If he goes out and runs a good race, he should qualify,” said Palm of Aguilar.
Aguilar ran his season-best time of 16:45 Saturday at the Peoria Heights Invitational at Detweiller Park.
“He’s a talented young kid and he works hard,” said Palm. “He doesn’t even know what he can do yet. He has a bright future, and we’re really hoping we can extend his season a couple of more weeks.”
Bureau Valley — Storm coach Dale Donner is hopeful both the BV boys and girls can race to team sectional berths.
"We are capable of advancing both the boys and girls teams, but it will take a team effort," said Donner. "As individuals, we hope Regan Weidner can win and Ryan Taylor can finish top five to medal."
Donner tabs Rock Falls as the heavy favorite in the girls race, while Alleman is the team to beat on the boys side. Individually, BV's Weidner is the runner to catch in the girls race and Ethan Adlfinger of Alleman is the favorite among the boys.
"Regan is running very well coming into the postseason," said Donner. "We are very excited about seeing how well she can run once she starts to rest up."
"Our boys team is starting to jell," added the BV coach. "We have had a few boys step up over the last weeks and start to make a strong push. We need to keep pushing our limits and we will succeed."
The supporting cast behind Taylor for the BV boys includes Kane Eastwood, Logan Hoffert, Colton Peterson, Kody Church and Daniel Trone.
Mid-County — The Cougars have an opportunity to advance both their boys and girls to the Oregon Sectional.
The Mid-County boys enter fresh off a Lincoln Trail Conference team title and are led by the trio of Ethan Stanley, Brennan Foley and Mike Bersell.
The Mid-County girls are paced by the duo of Courtney Melton and Miranda Shryack. Melton won the LTC girls race earlier this month in Galva.
Ridgewood — The top sectional hope for the Spartans is All-Lincoln Trail Conference performer Jonathan Walsten.