The Redbirds nabbed the team title in the boys' race of the Alton Invitational, while Marquette freshman Riley Vickrey was the champion of the girls' race.
“It's a really good confidence booster for them,” Alton head coach Vernon Curvey said of the boys' championship. “All the hard work finally shows and it pays off for us. They needed that.
“I think there's still some room for improvement. I think we've got a chance to step up a little bit further. I hope to at least get third in conference and push on to be in the top three or four at regionals and then cross your fingers for sectionals.”
As for Vickrey, it was the first varsity win of her young prep career. It was a big boost for her confidence moving forward.
“It feels amazing,” Vickrey said. “I came out here hoping to place in the top 15, but definitely not first. I'm happy to win in Alton, just to show the Marquette team can really push.
“This gives me lots of confidence. It shows me that I can really push and achieve my goals.”
Vickrey turned in a team of 22 minutes, 6 seconds, which was 40 seconds faster than runner-up LeaAnn Johnson of Staunton (22:46).
Explorers' head coach Mike Brooks raved about Vickrey's performance and the potential she has for success in front of her.
“Going in I knew she was going to finish towards the top,” Brooks said. “I was thinking at least top 10, but we haven't run against some of the bigger schools, so I really didn't know exactly what to expect in terms of place. We had a talk before the race and we wanted to feel comfortable in that first mile, mile and a half and then pick it up. At this course that's somewhere around the tennis courts and she was in second or third place when she got to the tennis courts. When she came around she was in the lead. She just kept working on that lead throughout the race.
“She's a smarter runner than most freshmen. She knows how to pace, she knows her body. She's a kid that makes the coach look good.”
Marquette was also represented in the boys' race by Adam Sanders individually. Sanders finished in 21:12.
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