In one of a handful of solid invitationals in the Chicagoland area, the Joliet Steelman Invite came into the weekend with a good amount of hype as predicted. The cozy confines of the Channahon Park District would prove just right even if the footing was not.
The thought Christian Knowlton of Plainfield South would battle the young Ethan Kern of York did not materialize. Kern did not race for the Dukes. Coach Charlie Kern Sr. told indicated that he is just making sure that Ethan is not over-raced going into November, and that he is scheduled to compete next week at the Peoria Richard Spring Invite. Kern's teammate, Daniel Klysh, stepped up for the Dukes of York and took 2nd place to Knowlton.
Klysh pulled out in front of Knowlton with about 200m left in the race, but Knowlton threw out one of the best kicks of his life and took down York star to take home his second individual championship. Knowlton ran an amazing race. He started out the 1st mile in 3rd place trailing Klysh and a Glenbard North athlete, Knowlton came through at 5:13. Knowlton made a big move in the second mile taking the lead in the woods and put a good gap on the field with Klysh trailing. They came through at 10:38. They both added huge surges after the second mile marker and extended their gap and as we said before Klysh pulled out in front of Knowlton with 200m left, but Knowlton threw in that kick. The more impressive part about this race is that Knowlton ran his 3rd mile in 4:55. He looks to be in great shape for this season. Klysh will want redemption next week as the two face off again at Peoria Richard Spring.
The girl's race we thought we would see was Isabelle Christiansen of Oswego and MacKenzie Brownrigg of Lincoln-Way Central. Christiansen was out due to a college visit. Due to these great competitors not being in the field it became anyone's race. Oswego freshman Rebecca Corbett would step up and answer the challenge. Corbett took charge early and did not look back as she led for almost the whole race. Corbett really broke out in this race as this was by no means a fast course that day. She set a new PR of 18:55 and stated that her goal to start the season was just to break 19:00.
The boy's team race was easily dominated by the Cougars of Plainfield South who scored 49 points. They used a very solid 1-6 pack to put away the competition as there split was 54 seconds between them. Timmy Wade of Plainfield South really took a commanding role in the race as he did what sounded like a roll call to make sure his pack was there with him at the 1st mile. York was hurt by not having Kern race and moving all of their top Sophomores down to the Frosh/Soph race. The Dukes took a very disappointing 5th place at the meet.
The girl's race was close, but Oswego pulled out the win beating Lincoln-Way Central, Neuqua Valley, and Lincoln-Way East. Those three teams were all within 35 points of the Panthers.