Finishing strong: Hall, Bridman conclude careers with personal-bests at state level

PEORIA — Elijah Hall and Austin Bridgman both met their high expectations for the 2018 season.

Hall, a Rantoul senior, and Bridgman, an Armstrong-Potomac senior, each advanced to Saturday’s state cross-country meet.

In Class 2A, Hall finished in 70th place with a time of 15:54.39. In Class 1A, Bridgman ran his best race of the season, finishing in 78th with a time of 16:09.61.
Both seniors ran a personal-best in their final races.

“Elijah made the decision back in June that he was going to qualify for the state meet. He put in hundreds of miles over the summer and worked hard throughout the season,” Rantoul assistant Nick Cole said. “This all culminated in a great performance on Saturday. To finish with a PR in the last race of senior year is a special accomplishment. He left everything he had on the course, and at the end of the day that is all that anyone can ask for.

“As for the rest of the school year, Elijah will take a little over a week of rest and then start training for track season. In 2018, Elijah has earned all-state honors in the 4 x 400 and now can add state qualifier in cross country to the list. He established a great starting point to his senior year. We are all very excited to see what the rest of this year has in store for him.”

Bridgman also received praise from his coach following his best race of the season on the sport’s biggest stage.

“Austin ran another great race (Saturday),” A-P cross-country coach Darren Loschen said. “He set a personal best in his last cross-country race of the season, which was at the state finals. What more of a runner can you ask?

“It was definitely an exciting experience (Saturday). I am extremely proud of Austin and honored to say that I was his cross-country coach in high school. He helped push some of our runners to get better. He won some races this fall and helped our boys team win two or three meets.”

Bridgman earned all-Vermilion County and All-Vermilion Valley Conference honors this year, and the Trojans placed second in the county meet.

“Our boys worked hard to get that,” Loschen said. “It has been fun coaching this group of seniors. I think our younger runners had fun, and I look forward to next year. I am hoping this season will help grow our teams more. We need to get more girls out so we can field a team.”

Contact Zack Carpenter at zcarpenter@rantoulpress.com and on Twitter @ZackCarpenter11.

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