The starting scene of the girls open race gives pause to how great the sport of cross country is (Colin Boyle photo)
We could go with superlatives or we could go with straight talk in describing the scene this past weekend in Terre Haute, IN for the Nike Cross Nationals Midwest Regional. In straight talk form it was a "super" time to enjoy the Midwest elements in the middle of November.
The girls championship race kicked off the festivities with US #10 Centerville, OH winning in a tight battle that separated the top four teams by only 14 points. The Elks stomped their automatic bid to Portland, Oregon with 145 points using just an 18-second scoring spread led by state champion senior Lainey Studebaker's 16th place team finish. US #24 Northville, MI edged #21 Naperville, IL 152-153 amid controversy to take the second auto spot to nationals (read about controversy in girls page 2). Naperville North senior Judy Pendergast continued her marvelous season by breaking the meet and course records at the LaVern Gibson facility with a sizzling 17:00.6. Pendergast smashed the now former record by Anna Rohrer (Mishawaka) who was a two-time Footlocker champion. Rohrer is now starring for Notre Dame University.
Illinois dominated the boys side of the racing ledger as all three considerations to nationals (top 2 qualify for Portland auto). US #2 Orland Park (Sandburg) IL used front running and strong pack play in ultimately stinging its brethren in killer bee like style amassing 120 points. The Eagles top runner senior Sean Torpy finished sixth in 15:11. #24 Naperville (Neuqua Valley) IL knows a little about competing in the post-season. The crafty veteran Wildcats performed solidly through much of the season without its two top runners, only getting injured warrior junior Scott Anderson back in time for the state championship series. Anderson placed 28th overall but lowered to 15th in the team category that started a 22 second 1-5 split for Neuqua Valley that spawned 140 points. LaGrange (Lyons Township), the unheralded but great pack running team from the Chicago suburbs that took runner-up last weekend in the largest classification placed fourth with 150 points. US #5 Lafayette, MO had to settle for a distant fourth tallying 210 points.
Jon Davis (Sr., Oakwood IL) chose a different route in winning this weekend vs. last weekend when he set sail for the legendary Craig Virgin's Detweiller course record. Davis raced like a guest for 4k before surging away from Indiana two-time state champion senior Ben Veatch of Carmel to win in 14:59.9.