There were no medals or top 10 finishes for Highland boys cross-country runners Christian Knobloch and Dallas Mancinas last weekend.
Still, the Bulldogs standout duo accomplished two major goals on Saturday at the Class 2A meet at Detwiler Park in Peoria — run their personal best times and finish their 2023 seasons at state.
Knobloch ran a personal best time of 15:31 which placed him 55th overall in the field.
The junior, running in his first state meet, shaved more than a minute off his previous personal record, which he set last season.
“He finished the season on a strong note and it also put Christian as the seventh quickest Bulldog in the history of Peoria, so I’m very proud of Christian’s race,” Highland coach Joe Shannon said. “He got out hot, held on, and held a good position in the race. It was a really quick race this year.”
Shannon was thrilled to see Knobloch perform so well on his first trip to the state meet.
“Last year his personal record was 16.34 so from last year to this year, he PR’ed by over a minute. As a coach, I really can’t ask for much more and he ran like he’s been there before which was good to see,” Shannon said. “It was his first time at state this year and it was cool that he got some state experience.”
Mancinas also set a personal record with a time of 18:05.58. That was good for 232nd overall, which was short of his goal. But the senior harrier was stricken in the first mile of the race with hamstring trouble that made the race difficult to finish.
“Dallas got out well in the first mile and then felt right hamstring tightness and that was concerning to him, so I was just happy Dallas was able to finish his last race at Peoria on Saturday,” Shannon said. “His time and place weren’t really what we were hoping for. He felt the hamstring tightness about the first mile and he just kept falling back and back from there, so I was just happy he was just able to finish the race and complete his cross countgry campaign at the state course.”
The state appearance for Mancinas was the second of his career. He also qualified for state as a sophomore.
While Mancinas will move on to college, Shannon believes Knobloch will have a decent chance of returning to the state meet next fall as a senior.
“If he drops about 20 to 25 seconds from this year to next year, it puts him in the conversation to be all-state next year, so Christian took a huge step up this year and ran more in the summer than he ever had and his focus day in and day out was really cool to see,” Shannon said.
Shannon also praised the support of fellow Bulldog runners Donnie Miller Aly Pace, Lola Schlarmann, and Avery Brock, who made the trip to Peoria..
“It was so great seeing our kids support the state qualifiers,” Shannon said.