Ethan Kern and his Dukes of York was all business on Saturday
Proviso West High School, Hillside-
The West Suburban Conference (Silver Divison) has been a highlight of conference weekend for the past 20+ years. It has been home to 96 team state trophies, 40 team state titles, and 14 individual state champions in the 72-year history of Illinois cross country. This year's edition lived up to the history of the meet with amazing battles across the board. The course was not a fast one as it was mostly on a steady uphill and it was not even a three-mile course. According to meet officials the course measured to be 3.04 miles when they rolled the course with the wheel.
The girls' varsity race was the first premier event of the day and the expectation of dominance would not be complete until one of the top distance runners in the nation in super sophomore Katelynne Hart of Glenbard West graced the starting line. Before Hart could make her presence felt, it was important to set up an outstanding field. It was laced with competitors such as Kate Dickman (Lyons Township), Katie Hohe (Glenbard West), Sarah May (York), and Mckenna Revord (Hinsdale Central). From the gun, Hart made her move as she separated herself from the field and from then it was over before everyone got situated. Hart came through the first mile more conservative than normal with a 5:23 as she was cruising all by herself. Hart increased her lead by 23-seconds on the second pack that consisted of Dickman, Hohe, and Revord. Right before the trio hit the mile it looked like Revord may have rolled her ankle as she stumbled a bit and seemed to start to slow up afterwards.
At mile two, Hart continued to open up her gap on second place as she rolled through the checkpoint in 11:05. The duo of Dickman and Hohe were battling through the second mile with each other as they battled for the second place position. They came through in 11:42 and were trailed not far behind by May of York who was only six seconds behind them.
Hart coasted through the last mile and won the race in 17:14.40. Dickman came through the finish successfully taking second place over Hohe 18:18.20-18:27.50.
Teamwise, it was Lyons Township winning a great team battle with a score of 53 points as they placed 2nd, 6th, 7th, 16th, 22nd, and 36th. Oak Park-River Forest surprisingly took second place over Glenbard West by one point. The Huskies had an excellent pack here as they placed 8th, 9th, 11th, 12th, 34th, 38th. and 39th. The Hilltoppers dealt with some injury issues here as they didn't have their third and fifth runners. Hart referenced that one of her teammates had to drop out of the race due to injury.
The boys' varsity race was better than anyone would have thought it would be as it was a surprising outcome in both the individual and team battle. Through one mile, it was anyone's race as almost the entire field was lead by the Hilltoppers senior duo of Rory Cavan and Stephen Moody as they came through at 5:01.
During the second mile, the pack started to spread out and York's junior stud, Ethan Kern, took the race into his own hands. Kern came through the second mile around a 10:06, but was being stalked by Moody who came through at a 10:08. Cavan was trying to chase his teammate Moody here, but something looked off about how he was running, it looked as if his tank was empty.
Kern continued to try and drop Moody throughout the final mile. He was unable to drop last years' All-Stater, but he did do enough to take home a surprise win here with a 15:29.30. Moody took second here as he was unsucessful in his chase for Kern. He ran an impressive 15:34.10 for the challenging course. Daniel Klysh helped his team's chances to take home another conference title as he took third with a 15:45.70.
The Dukes came away with an impressive win here with a score of 40 points. The Dukes had the race of their life as their guys placed 1st, 3rd, 5th, 14th, 17th, 18th, and 27th. The Hilltoppers gave the Dukes a hard fought battle as they had a score of 52 points. The Hilltoppers didn't have great performances from Cavan and William Hohe here. When those two on their game it is very hard to beat the Hilltoppers. Kudos to Will O'Brien and Ian Repking as they both had the breakout performances that they needed this year.
Overall, the West Suburban Conference (Silver Division) was one for the ages. It had a big meet atmosphere at a small meet that only had seven teams.