IHSA State Cross Country Championship Reprise


#2 Hinsdale Central got the last word in by defending their state championship

3A Boys-

  • Defending state champion #2 Hinsdale Central was all business on Saturday.  They The Red Devils used a strong final mile and particularly last quarter-mile to turn around their fortunes from losing sectionals to #1 Orland Park (Sandburg) with a rosounding 104-138 win. Hinsdale Central was led by sophomore Blake Evertsen in 12th place. The Red Devils put their first three scorers ahead of the Eagles and used a 24-second scoring split to off set the 11-second spread by Sandburg. #4 LaGrange Lyons Township rebounded nicely after a few rough weeks to grab the bronze trophy over #3 Naperville Neuqua Valley 180-181.

The champ Jesse Reiser and his coach Beth Czubik are all smiles after the big win (Tony Jones photo)



  • Jesse Reiser (Sr., McHenry) played the cards that were dealt to him and won. First, it was the swirling winds moving northwest that provided a tactical race in his favor. Secondly, it was the unwilliness of some of the key runners to set their own pace to push Reiser. He pulled away from challenger Zach Dale (Sr., Hoffman Estates Conant) very late in the last half-mile to easy win in 14:10. Dale chugged home second in a personal best 14:20. Matt Pereira (So., Lake Zurich) stayed ahead of Ryan Clevenger (Sr., Downers Grove North) 14:21-14:23 for third. Kevin Salvano (Jr., Buffalo Grove) ran a life time best 14:26 to complete the top five. In all, it took 14:49 to medal (top 25). It was a particularly fast field despite the blustery conditions as 38 runners broke 15:00 for three miles.

Lindsay Graham had the competition watching her back for most of the race (Ilona Koziel photo)

3A Girls-

  • #3 Naperville North and head coach Dan Iverson never complained about rankings and being under the spotlight of top ranked Glen Ellyn Glenbard West and #2 Hinsdale Central for most of the season. After a strong statement made at the St. Charles Sectional last weekend, there was belief in the Huskies camp that something big could occur on Saturday. That occurrence happened to be a state championship won by North.  The worker bees ran a strong pack race in which its top three and #4 and #5 stuck together like glue. It appeared as though the fate of everyone else was sealed in the "Bermuda Triangle" with the numbers in the top 30 at that point. Naperville North stormed home to win 73-91 over #4 Palatine.  Palatine coach Joe Parks was particularly happy with his team's effort as well. "The girls ran phenomenal... first girls crew to ever put seven under 18:00. Proud coach here!"  Defending champion Glenbard West took third with 94 points. Hinsdale Central got fourth ahead of a surprising #14 Lockport team 137-175. 


  • The Individual race turned out well for Glenbard West junior Lindsay Graham despite a rocky beginning. Graham did not get a good start. Actually she got a terrible start. "I was feeling tired right before the race," she said. "I was in last place in the opening 300 meters before moving up." Graham was able to catch up and be among the leaders at the first mile in 5:23. It was smooth sailing after that as she went on to win in a personal best 16:23. Algonquin Jacobs standout  senior Lauren Van Vlierbergen intially took the lead in the open 500m of the race settled down and ran an overall great effort took second in 16:48. She was very pleased with her efforts even after running with a piano on her back in the final half-mile. Palatine junior Kelly O'Brien rebounded from a crashing Schaumburg Sectional run that had her barely finishing despite running step for step with LVV for 2.5 miles. O'Brien ran an excellent overall race staying up with Graham and LVV for much of the race and finished strong ahead of Hinsdale Central sophomore Alexa Haff. O'Brien ran a personal best 16:55 to Haff's 16:59.

The Hoffert twins doubled team Caleb Hummer for a while before eventually dispatching him (Capapas photo)

2A Boys-

  • #1 Yorkville defended their state championship once again on the strength of the senior twin duo Jake and Luke Hoffert. Jake and Luke overcame a strong effort from Danville senior Caleb Hummer with about 1200m to go to finish 1-2 in 14:29 and 14:30. Last year the twins went 2-3. The Foxes showed their depth as all five scorers hit inside the top 50 and the scoring split was an outstanding 1:08 (its great when you have two top front runners). The 108 points was good enough to win against a hungry pack of chasing teams. #2 Mahomet-Seymour had never won a trophy in its 45 years of competing in cross country. In fact, the best they have ever done was 4th as a Class A school. On Saturday, the Bulldogs got their first plaque with a runner-up finish by scoring 134 points ahead of #3 Lansing Illiana Christian's 172 tally.  The key to the successful run was a 52 second scoring split that was much better than Illiana's 1:38. #9 Springfield got the best of #5 Metamora 187-203 to close out the top five squads.


  • The individual race as indicated before went 1-2 by the Hoffert twins but a chasing Shane Williamson (So., Vernon Hills) caught Hummer late inside the final half-mile and kept his foot on the accelerator to take third in a BIG personal best 14:37. Mahomet-Seymour junior Alex Keeble watched last year's race in his warm-up gear because he was unable to go because of illness; he rebounded nicely to place 4th in 14:49. Colin DeYoung (Jr., Illiana Christian) passed a fading Hummer in the final meters to take fifth in 14:49.

The Yorkville Lady Foxes got their 4-Peat (Capapas photo)

2A Girls-

  • The #1 Yorkville Lady Foxes made history by becoming one of a select few teams to ever win four titles in a row. It was done with precision and a collective team effort. Sophomore Alexis Grandys and junior Skyler Bollinger did not go out and try and run an insane pace that would have ultimately hurt the team. Instead they stayed in a comfy lead pack to finish 2nd and 4th respectively in the team scoring stats. Grandys made a big statement on the big stage with a runner-up finish in 17:12. The Foxes as a whole scored 79 points to easily defeat upstart #3 Lake Forest who scored 165 points. Dunlap coach Chris Friedman told his girls "run with arrogance... you belong here!" The statement worked because his #5 ranked squad got the 3rd place trophy over #7 Lemont 187-191. #2 Belvidere North would fade in the final mile after sitting in a good spot took 5th.  #10 Chicago (Latin) who were competing in 2A for the first time copped 6th with 195 points.


  • Maryjeanne Gilbert (Jr., Peoria Notre Dame) did not mess around with the field as she went out hard and hid from everyone. She would go on to run the opening mile in 5:18, the halfway point in a lightening 7:58, the two mile at 10:42, and finally dusting off the competition with a class record 16:12 and #2 all-time. What is impressive about the effort was that she was not pushed by anyone at any time. Gilbert did admit that the home crowd inspired her to keep pushing. The emerging superstar should be ranked higher than 24th in the nation. Maybe that will change after this weekend.

Class A top winners (from the right): Jon Davis, Eric Ponder, Tanner Chada, Nick Monkemeyer, Al Baldonado (Mark Cappapas photo)

1A Boys-

  • Monticello was ranked #1 in the final Milesplit Illinois Power Ranking Poll and Elmwood (Coop) was #2. But some folk (including Milesplit IL staff) felt  that Elmwood was a team laying in the weeds all season and waiting for the right time to bite the competition like a snake. It never transpired for the Trojans. They were soundly beaten by Monticello 91-143. The Sages were led by senior Matt Norvell in 13th place. His teammates anchored by three other team places in the top 20 and the fifth man was 36th. Whenever a team that good with a strong front runner produces a scoring split of 40 seconds they become very hard to beat. Rockford Christian grabbed the final trophy with 157 points. Junior Nick Monkemeyer was the first team scorer and fourth overall finisher in 15:10.


  • Oakwood junior Jon Davis is a confident runner who is not afraid to express how he feels after a big victory. Immediately after winning his second title in a row he got hugs and cheers from his fans and threw up the two sign as in second title in a row. If you want respect you got to take it. Class A rarely gets the fanfare of the big brother 3A and whenever a small town kid runs extremely well he deserves the same attention. Davis ran nearly identical splits as the 3A studs (4:41, 9:38) before cruising home to victory in 14:19. Second place was 15:19 by Tuscola's Eric Ponder

1A Girls-

  • #1 St. Joe-Ogden tried to paint #2 Petersburg-PORTA as the team favorite leading up to the championship. But in reality it was the Spartans who dominated the race with 86 points. It was never even close after the first mile with all scorers in the top 50 throughout the race. St. Joe's #6 runner was the 36th scorer and if you added her in the team score as a handicap the Spartans would still win easily. Freshman Faith Houston and senior Abby Fisher led the way in 8th and 9th team scores. 


  • Effingham St. Anthony sophomore Anna Sophia Keller notched another win under her belt taking the title in 16:27.  Keller cruised through the first mile under 5:30 on a solo mission and hit the second frame about 11:30. She was able to keep her composure despite running all alone. The winning time was 16:27- a Class A record. Sophomore Daly Galloway of South Wilmington ran a personal best 16:52. Freshman Arielle Summitt of Urbana University High lived up to the high expectations and finished third in 17:17.