PEORIA — Al Baldonado knew he was close and didn’t want to leave anything on the table.
The Hall junior harrier passed up a host of runners in the final homestretch to run down All-State honors, finishing 17th with a time of 15 minutes, 38 seconds. The top 25 received All-State recognition.
“I just knew I had to go if I wanted to be All-State. So I gave it everything I had and made up a few places,” he said. “I felt like I gradually picked it up. It wasn’t like a sprint, just keep picking it up every few hundred meters and passing me.
“I was going to pass as many people as possibly. Just knowing I was on the brink of medaling, gave me more motivation to give it my all.”
Hall coach Tom Keegan said Baldonado started his All-State push from about a mile out.
“He had an incredible last mile,” Keegan said. “After the second mile he was buried in the deep 30s for placement and wound up in 17th, so he did some serious work in the latter part of the race.”
Baldonado becomes the sixth Hall boy to claim All-State individuals and brings home the ninth state medal in program history for the boys team. His 17th-place is the sixth highest finish.
Jon Davis, a sophomore from Fithian Oakwood, was the state champion with a time of 14:47, six seconds ahead of runner-up Nick Hess, a senior from Champaign St. Thomas More.
Annawan/Wethersfield’s duo of Michael Cook (15:04) and Cody Baele (15:19) placed third and seventh, respectively. Henry senior Alex Pettis also received all-state status in eighth place in 15:20.
Elmwood/Brimfield edged Winnebago 161-167 for the team title.
• 1A girls: Kirstie Ramsey, a freshman from Annawan/Wethersfield, led the area 1A girls with a 14th place finish of 17:57. Also receiving All-State honors were Maria Baldwin of Fieldcrest, 21st in 18:07, and Dani Aurit of Ottawa Marquette, 24th in 18:14.
State champ Anna Sophi Keller, a freshmen from Effingham St. Anthony, finished 45 seconds ahead of the field with a time of 16:35.
A/W finished fourth as a team with 202 points. Decatur St. Teresa was the state champion, easily defeating Rochester 73-116.
• Notes: Kelsey Schrader, a senior from DeKalb, finished fourth in the 2A girls meet with a time of 17:22. She is the granddaughter of Kent and Karen Hildebrand of Princeton, and daughter of LaMoille alum Kolleen (Brian) Schrader of DeKalb.
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