It is going to go down in Peoria once more for the state of Illinois cross country sweepstakes. The boys can speak for themselves as their field is loaded. The girls are equally loaded in their own respect. It will start with a large field (over 60 schools) and a bevy of top teams in this second wave crashing on to the historic Detweiller Park course.
Defending champion Wheaton-Warrenville South is good if not very good. The Tigers opened their season last weekend at Wauconda and used it as an appetizer. The meal portions on Saturday will be the main course. Sophomore Sam Poglitsch will lead the way as a true low stick runner capable of a top-three finish. It is believed that a strong scoring pack on the backs of senior Laurel Moneysmith and junior Mia Rucoba. The goal is to drive the five scorers under 50 seconds. If that is the case, the spoils of victory will taste very good.
Glenbard West, of course, is a mainstay here having placed first or second on numerous trips. The Hilltoppers will have a bit of a challenge in trying to dethrone Wheaton South because of graduation hits to their program over the past several years. Junior superstar Katelynne Hart will help with a low stick performance and senior Katie Hohe should be a top 10 performer. After that, it will be emerging teammates looking to find their way in a sea of talent.
#6 Hinsdale Central, #11 Oswego, #12 O'Fallon, and #13 Palatine will fight for a top five position here. Hinsdale Central is unknown because of graduation losses and lack of races on their resume. It will be interesting to see how the Devilettes perform. The same will go to Palatine who enters chartered waters for the first time this season. Add 2A powers #4 Chatham-Glenwood, #5 Mahomet-Seymour, #6 Normal (University); 1A #4 St. Joe-Ogden add value to the already power-packed field.
Individually, it will be the Katelynne Hart show. She did not garner top attention last weekend as freshman Katrina Schlenker of Batavia stole the headlines with a big win at FTTF. If Schlenker clocked 16:42 at Detweiller, what do we see Hart running? Her best is 16:30 and it never seems to be all out. But Hart will take the "slight" as a challenge and knock the socks off of the competition. Let's predict a time around 16:10. The chase pack will see another top freshman battling for headlines. Lianna Surtz of Aurora Rosary is the real deal. She is undefeated so far and could match Schlenker's effort. Also look at Poglitsch, McKenna Revord of Hinsdale Central, Alice Abbott of St. Charles East, Fran Hendrickson of St. Thomas More, and Lydia Roller of Staunton in the first pack. Of course, there will be someone emerging out of the blue and that's the beauty of Richard Spring.