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Albany sweeps conf. meet
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SOLDIERS GROVE - The Albany boys cross country team received a big performance from its top three runners en route to winning a fourth straight Scenic Ridge and Rivers Conference championship Thursday.

Albany outdistanced Pecatonica-Argyle 38-68 for the title. Albany senior Drew Mather won the individual conference championship running the 5,000-meter course in 17 minutes, 51 seconds. Albany junior Reece Whitehead took second (18:05) and sophomore Jose Ramirez had a big race finishing third (18:06).

"On paper, we knew we would be the favorite by what we did all year," Albany coach Tony Brewer said. "The guy who stepped up huge for us was Jose. He ran with Reece. To do it at the conference championships is huge for him."

Pecatonica-Argyle had two all-conference runners in junior Cameron Colson who finished fourth (18:22) and senior Chris James was seventh (18:43). Colson and James joined the Comets' top three runners as all-conference.

Albany senior Trent Kuebli took 14th (19:14) and sophomore Johnny Kallgren was 19th (19:29). Now the Comets are looking to qualify for state as a team for the third straight year.

"We know next week everyone is chasing Darlington," Brewer said of the Darlington sectional coming up Oct. 22.

The Vikings' top five was rounded out by junior Wyatt Massey who took 11th (19:01), Marcus Rubio who finished 21st (19:54) and Lucas Stoehr who was 27th (20:29).

Pecatonica-Argyle junior Kendra Sigg won the conference championship in the girls 4,000-meter race with a time of 16:52. However, Albany had five runners in the top 16 to outdistance Hillsboro 55-74 for the conference title. Albany freshman Bailey Hlavachek took third (17:03) and senior Rosy Bauman was eighth (17:47). Junior Ciara Kubesh took 13th (18:13), junior Jessica Mauerman finished 15th (18:27) and senior Ingrid Kallgren was 16th (18:40).

"We knew it would be a battle coming in," Brewer said. "You are only as good as your fifth runner. We knew this was the best chance they had to win a conference title. They went out and ran well."

Pecatonica-Argyle senior Maureen Johanna took 32nd (21:10), sophomore McKenzie Burreson was 36th (21:24). Senior Alisha Esselstein finished 38th (21:29) and sophomore Cora Demler was 39th (21:32).