PEORIA -- Huntley junior Keagan Smith came into the cross country season with high expectations, and the Red Raider junior met them on Saturday in the Class 3A boys state race at Detweiller Park.
Smith attacked the second mile then held on in the final mile to secure Huntley's first boys cross country state medal with a 16th place finish, crossing the finish line in 14:55.
"I felt a state medal was definitely in reach at the start of the season," said Smith, who was making his second state appearance. "But a 16th place finish is little higher than I thought. It's a great feeling."
Smith made a strong move in the second mile, in the back triangle. He entered the final mile in the top 20 and didn't flinch down the home stretch.
"The plan was to attack the back triangle," said Smith. "My legs felt heavy at the end, but I just wanted to finish and I made a final push."
O'Fallon senior Patrick Perrier won the Class 3A state title in 14:21. He was followed by McHenry junior Jesse Reiser (14:22), Downers Grove North senior Zack Smith (14:23), Conant junior Zach Dale (14:31) and York senior Nathan Mroz (14:33).
Hinsdale Central won the Class 3A team title with 99 points, followed by Downers Grove North (144 points) and O'Fallon (157 points).
Bartlett senior Dan Cotton finished a strong season by taking 41st place in 15:12.
Jacobs senior Matthew Johnson (15:24) gave the Golden Eagles a lift by finishing in 65th place.
In Class 2A Burlington Central junior Clay Musial just missed a state medal taking 26th place in 15:29.
Musial made his move in the final mile after being stuck in a pack the first two miles.
"Strategically I think I planned the race in the right way," said Musial, who was in 30th place at the 2-mile mark. "There was a small pack in front of me and I managed to break them up in the final mile."
In Class 1A Harvest Christian Academy qualified for the state meet for the first time and the Lions made a nice showing with a 24th place finish.
Senior John Vislisel (16:40) and senior Jacob Schott (17:05) led the Lions' charge by taking 105th and 136th place respectively.
"We were kind of nervous at the start line," said Vislisel of the Lions' state debut. "But I think we went out and did our best. We talked about starting a legacy and setting a good example. Hopefully we can build off this."