Loaded Field Heads To Detweiller Park For Richard Springs Invitational

The grand-daddy of the Detweiller  Park trilogy races, the Peoria Notre Dame Invite also known as the Richard Spring Invite will take place Saturday morning. Of the six races held on the famous speed oval, the girls and boys varsity variety will be the most anticipated. The beauty of varsity races is that they are one class affairs featuring up to 70 teams. Whether or not Detweiller can sanely host a race of such a magnitude is not the point. The point is the best of the best will be able to get it on fair and square.    

Girls Preview

(Lindsey Graham along with teammate Madeline Perez hope to lead Glenbard West to the team title.)

Key teams:

3A- #2 Glen Ellyn Glenbard West, #3 Palatine, #4 Winnetka New Trier, #6 O’Fallon, #10 St. Charles North, #13 Schaumburg, #14 Orland Park Sandburg, #16 Barrington, #18 St. Charles East, #19 Oak Park-River Forest, #20 Downers Grove North, #22 Park Ridge Maine South, #25 Elmhurst York; Pleasant Valley, IA.

2A- #3 Normal (University), #4 Peoria (Notre Dame), #9 Springfield, #11 Chatham-Glenwood, #16 Lake Forest, Dixon, Mahomet-Seymour

1A- #4 St. Joseph-Ogden, #7 Liberty, #14 Petersburg-Porta.


Meet outlook: For the second time in three weeks, there will be a meeting of the hearts, minds, and souls between Glenbard West, Palatine, and New Trier.  If you recall it was Palatine that squeaked by Glenbard West 59-61 at the Hinsdale Hornet-Red Devil Invitational.  New Trier was fourth in the affair with 86 points. 

Madeline Perez (Sr., Glenbard West) is not competing so that means the Hilltoppers are going to have to lean on the services of Lindsay Graham (So.), Lisa Luczak (Jr.), Grace Rogers (So.), and Megan Ozog (Jr.) as the quartet to get the job done in avenging their only seasonal loss to Palatine.   Graham is on a hot streak and should be regarded as one of the high stakes favorite to place low for her team and/or win the individual title outright.

Coach Joe Parks will have an idea how good his team is at the mid-season mark when they line up Saturday morning.  Although Liz Cox (Sr.) has emerged as the team’s #1 girl, the Lady Pirates are far from a one-woman wrecking crew. Sabina Yosif (So.), Kelly O’Brien (Sr.), and especially Jessica Lincoln (Sr.) provide a strong supporting cast if not become the team’s front runner at any given time.

The Lady Trevians of New Trier will be back in action after enjoying a bye-week.  Mimi Smith (Jr.) will provide the front running chores for her team’s quest at a top three finish.  In a field as big as Richard Spring, low scoring running are going to make a huge difference in the ledger.

The team to watch out for is O’Fallon.  They are the “X” factor because of the competition on their schedule isn’t as familiar as the aforementioned teams.  That will change now in a deep field. Sydney Neal (Sr.) is the Panthers top runner and she will hope to lead a strong pack behind that ran to a 29-second scoring split last week at the Forest Park Cross Country Festival.

The overall size of the field is going to look like the who’s who of running as teams like St. Charles North, Schaumburg, Sandburg, Normal U-High, Peoria (Notre Dame), and Barrington looking for supremacy and at least respectability.

Key individuals to watch: Glenbard West- Lindsay Graham, Lisa Luczak, Grace Rogers; Palatine- Liz Cox, Sabina Yosef, Jessica Lincoln; Chicago Latin- Victoria Bianco; New Trier- Mimi Smith; St. Charles East- Torree Scull; Arlington Heights St. Viator- Megan Carroll; Schaumburg- Caroline Kurdej; Peoria Notre Dame- Maryjeanne Gilbert; Pleasant Valley, IA- McKenzie Yanek; Neuqua Valley- Claire Costelloe, Julia Pena; Sandburg- Carly Krull; Oak Park-River Forest- Mary Blankemeier.


Boys Preview

(Nolan McKenna of Wheaton South is one of the top boys to watch on Saturday.)

Key teams:

3A- #1 O’Fallon, #2 Elmhurst York, #4 Arlington Heights Hersey, #5 Winnetka New Trier, #9 Palatine, #10 Chicago Lane Tech, #13 Roselle Lake Park, #14 Wheaton-Warrenville South, #15 Orland Park Sandburg, #17 Barrington, #19 Wilmette Loyola Academy, #20 Park Ridge Maine South, #21 St. Charles East, #22 Highland Park, #25 Plainfield South.

2A- #3 Mahomet-Seymour, #5 Normal (University), #9 Springfield, #11 Dixon, #17 Chatham-Glenwood, #18 Belvidere North.

1A- #2 Champaign (St. Thomas More), #7 St. Joe-Ogden, #15 Stanford-Olympia, #16 Pleasant Plains, #19 Liberty

Meet outlook: Nerves and anticipation will accompany the coaches and athletes at the line in the biggest and the ruthless meets of the year.  A ton of pundits have been wondering if top ranked O’Fallon is the top ranked team on paper with York behind them depending on what source you read.  All of that will come to a head once the gun goes off. 

O’Fallon star Patrick Perrier (Sr.) will be wear the bulls-eye jersey in his quest for a team and individual title.  The Panthers have been inching their way to the top of the food chain for several years and if they want to gain the respect of the state’s best they will need to have their best performance of the season.  Standout and #2 runner Dorrian Gordon (Jr.) will provide ample assistance to his teammate with his late race kicking style.  However, it is certain that he may want to be up near the front of the pack in this one.

York will begin its meet and state title defense (although they opened with a dual on Thursday).  The Dukes have lost some firepower from a year ago but they are also the deepest team in the state when it comes to reloading.  It is most assured that they will not be rusty in this meet.  Look for some front running from a number of guys along with a corresponding pack close behind.  Detweiller is York’s second home.

The key team to watch is Hersey.  Coach Jay Renaud has held back his horses so far this season to work on training and to also position his team at the right time to strike like a scud missile.  That time will be in the hands of David Rodriguez (Jr.) as the field general.  He has the makings of a top five finisher.

New Trier has also been waiting for another moment to present itself well after enjoying a two-week break from competition.  The renewed Peter Costrilos (Sr.) ran exceptionally well at Hinsdale Invite in his season debut several weeks ago.  He appears healthy and ready to go on Saturday.

The best of the rest should not be discounted by any means of finishing in the top 5-10 or even better should any of the super power teams falter. Watch very closely for Lane Tech, Wheaton-Warrenville South, Palatine, Barrington and the other aforementioned key teams fighting amongst one another for supremacy.

What about 1A power and defending champion Champaign St. Thomas More?  The Sabers will have their work cut out for them in a 3A field of talent.  Coach Dave Behm’s crew would look pretty if they could crack the top 10-15 scoring ledger.  He has the talented Nick Hess (Sr.) as his trump card.

Key individuals: O’Fallon- Patrick Perrier, Dorrian Gordon; York- Nathan Mroz, Matt Plowman, Kyle Mattes; Wheaton South- Nolan McKenna, Luke Schroer, Kyle Cepeda; New Trier- Peter Costrilos; Palatine- Graham Brown; Belvidere North- Eryk Yunk; St. Thomas More- Nick Hess; Plainfield East- Joe Suarez;  Plainfield South- Dan Lathrop; Highland Park- Angel Estrada; Lane Tech- Jon Vara; Hersey- David Rodriguez…. of there will be some unknown force coming out of nowhere to shine and steal the spotlight.  Stay tuned this Saturday!