QUINCY -- A three-mile race turned into a dead sprint as Quincy High School cross country runners Alexandria Meyers and Anna Schuering approached the finish line.
Schuering shot out of the gate with a good start but lost some steam as the race continued, while Meyers hung around in the chase pack at the beginning and slowly worked her way up.
With 100 meters left, the Blue Devils duo was in a pack five girls fighting for four remaining Western Big Six all-conference spots, so they let loose and gave it their all. Both would cross the line in 19 minutes, 41 seconds, with Meyers just edging out Schuering by tenths of a second for sixth place, and both would also secure WB6 all-conference honors and their fastest times at the course at Bob Mays Park this season.
"I love it because she pushes me the whole entire time," Meyers said of Schuering. "She was ahead of me for the whole first mile, but then the second mile I just thought, ‘I have to use my teammate.'"
Schuering was one of two leaders near the mile mark, with Moline's Lylia Gomez setting the pace. Gomez would go on to win her second WB6 conference individual title by finishing in 18:55.
While she might have gotten off to too fast of an opening mile, Schuering isn't convinced that didn't help her succeed in the end.
"It felt right when I was doing it and I feel like I wouldn't have run the same race if I hadn't run that fast first mile," she said. "I might not have been able to kick at the end."
As Schuering started to fall back in the pack, Meyers was making her move. When the two met, they stuck together and pushed each other to the limit.
"Obviously she pushes me and it's a wonderful think, we work together well as teammates," Schuering said. "It's our home course and we know how to run it and when you finish you want to be able to say, ‘I ran the best I could run, I didn't leave anything or hold back, I left everything out there.'"
"The whole season she's been pushing me, and that's what I love about her," Meyers added. "She really helps me get better times and helps me be a better runner overall."
It's not just in meets that the two vibe well with each other.
"They do that in practice, they do it in a meet, they are a good one-two punch for anybody to have," QHS coach Matt McClelland said. "We are excited because they are both extremely young, so we are going to have that to lead our team for the next few years. It's great."
Both girls earned their first all-conference honors, with Schuering's coming as a sophomore and Meyers in her first year as a freshman.
"It's cool to see two teammates finishing together and for both of us to say we are both all-conference, I think that's a really good accomplishment for us both and as a team," Schuering said.
It bodes well for the future, too.
"I know that I can go forward from here and this is a pretty good start for my first year," Meyers said.
Moline took the team title as well with a score of 53, ahead of conference newcomers Sterling and Geneseo in second and third. The Blue Devils were fifth as a team with a 111.
Western Big Six Conference meet
At Bob Mays Park
1. Moline, 53; 2. Sterling, 63; 3. Geneseo, 81; 4. United Township, 92; 5. Quincy High School, 111; 6. Galesburg, 128; 7. Rock Island, 183.
1. Lylia Gomez, Moline, 18:56
2. Emily Lopez, Moline, 19:20
3. Brinley Rodgers, United Township, 19:34
4. Kylie Nicklaus, Sterling, 19:40
5. Lacey Laxton, Geneseo, 19:40
6. Alexandria Meyers, Quincy High School, 19:41
7. Anna Schuering, Quincy High School, 19:41
8. Lauren Belvel, Geneseo, 19:45
9. Breanna Admire, Galesburg, 20:07
10. Lillian Peavy, Sterling, 20:11
11. Avery Magerkurth, Geneseo, 20:232
12. Eryn Robertson, Moline, 20:24
13. Analya Sedano, United Township, 20:25
14. Madilyn Barnhart, Sterling, 20:28
15. Emma Hawkinson, Galesburg, 20:29