PEORIA — Lyle Dorjahn couldn’t help but laugh when talking about his Arthur-Lovington-Atwood- Hammond boys’ team.
“We made a run at them, didn’t we?” the Knights’ coach said.
They sure did. ALAH earned the first IHSA state trophy in program history by placing second in the Class 1A boys’ meet, the Knights’ 172 points finishing behind only Chicago Latin’s 165 in the 30-team field.
“Cloud nine kind of stuff,” Dorjahn said. “The last time anyone was this close to a state championship in our community was 1980, when Atwood- Hammond won the 1A football championship. So this is a big deal for our community.”
Junior Logan Beckmier paced ALAH with an all-state performance, placing 13th in 15 minutes, 20.73 seconds across 3 miles. The Knights also were powered by top-50 finishes from senior Jace Green (28th, 15:45.68), junior Jacob Adcock (45th, 15:54.99) and junior Lyle Adcock (47th, 15:58.51).
“Every one of my guys ran a (personal record),” Dorjahn said. “I told them, ‘You guys get under 16, we have a shot.’ It’s just been a process, and it’s worked.”
ALAH ranked second in the Class 1A field at last year’s unofficial state meet, conducted by ShaZam Racing in Chillicothe.
The Knights lost their No. 1 runner from that outfit, Layton Hall, but returned everyone else this fall.
“The Latin coach said, ‘We’ve been watching what you guys are doing,’” Dorjahn said. “We just wanted to get a trophy out of this thing. We’re pretty ecstatic.”
St. Joseph-Ogden finished sixth in the team chase with a 225 score, led by seniors Charlie Mabry (39th, 15:51.71) and Luke Stegall (40th, 15:52.49). Monticello wound up 10th as a group with a score of 304, paced by senior Ed Mitchell (33rd, 15:49.09) and junior Jacob Elston (43rd, 15:54.34).
Additionally individual all-state performances were turned in by Iroquois West junior Bryson Grant (18th, 15:27.14) and Bismarck-Henning/Rossville- Alvin senior Eli Mojonnier (22nd, 15:31.33).