In order to beat Katelynne Hart, one needs an out of this world race, but even then it is not enough
The last girls' entry on the fabled Detweiller Park course was going to be fast and dangerous. Let's find out.
#1 Naperville North, #2 Yorkville, and #3 Downers Grove South came in as arguably the three best teams ever collectively in one season. None of the three teams have lost to anyone outside of their circle, and that includes the nationally heralded Roy Griak Invitational in which Yorkville won by 11 points over Naperville North. That would be the first and only time the Huskies lost a race thus far in 2018.
After the battle in Minnesota concluded, nothing swayed that notion. It has only intensified.
As for the race itself, the Huskies as expected knew they had to withstand Yorkville's amazing trio of sophomore Helena Kleronomos, junior Kailey Fox, and Emily Eberhart who could potentially place three scorers in the top 10. But guess what? Naperville North could potentially put five girls in the 30. If that were to happen, it means Yorkville would come up short.
Immediately, the Huskies attacked the Foxes with a lathered up front-runner in the name of senior Alex Morris who ran from the very top throughout the race. They needed her to produce a low score and at the very least keep the "three-headed" monster behind her. Morris would complete a perfect race running 16:10 and third overall. But the Huskies weren't done as they sprayed the top 25 scoring ledger with four scorers. Sophomore Maggie Gamboa (15th), Campbell Petersen (18th), freshman Lucy Westlake (20th), and sophomore Audrey Mendys (24th) got the job done. But on the other side, the Foxes got Kleronomos (5th), Fox (9th), and Eberhart (10th) inside the top 10. The result was a narrow 80-87 win and a third consecutive title for the Huskies.
Downers Grove South held their end of the bargain taking third on the strength of junior Brenna Cohoon's 8th place finish. The Mustangs scored a rock solid 127 points and the scoring split was 55 seconds. They ran as well as any team with the hope of earning a team trophy for the first time in school history.
The amazing Katelynne Hart did exactly what we expected her to do even if it was unorthodox. The junior superstar from Glenbard West had a goal in mind: 15:53. It took about 60 seconds after the gun went off for Hart to set the tone of the race with a blazing mile 5:10. It was the second fastest ever opening mile behind course record holder Judy Pendergast who ran 5:08.
From there it was a game of cat and mouse between freshman Katrina Schlenker and Morris who chased after Hart. They worked as a tandem in not only keeping them in contention but also keeping Hart honest. "I knew they were close because I could hear people cheering for them," Hart acknowledged. Hart is not a stranger to close races. In last year's final, she ran shoulder to shoulder with Evanston's Enyaeva Michelin for 2.5 miles before pulling away for a narrow victory 16:22-16:30. This time she was able to maintain a five to seven second lead for most of the race. It was almost like Hart was toying with Schlenker and Morris. But in reality, she worked her tail off like never before.
Hart hit the second mile in 10:36- 10 seconds off of Pendergast's pace. But the thrill wasn't so much the record chase, but rather Schlenker and Morris still in striking distance. However, Hart has a fifth gear that she rarely has to use. It was on full display over the final 600m as she closed out the win in a personal best and all-time #2 15:59. She finally broke her school record previously held by Madeline Perez who ran 16:02 back in 2012.
Schlenker took second ahead of Morris 16:07-16:10. Schlenker ran the fastest ever for a freshman and fourth fastest ever regardless of conditions. Morris is rated #2 in school history behind Pendergast. Another star freshman Aly Negovetich of Grant held off Kleronomos 16:33-35 to close out the top five spots.
The tale of the numbers:
- It took 17:08.5 to make all-state (top 25)
- 77 girls broke 18:00 (#3 all-time/#1 is 87 back in 2012)
- 15 girls broke 17:00 (Tied for #2 all-time with 2012/#1- 19 from 2015)
|1||Naperville North High School||80||3+15+18+20+24 (26+29)||1:07 1-5 Split | 16:58 Avg|
|2||Yorkville High School||87||5+9+10+22+41 (62+64)||1:03 1-5 Split | 16:59 Avg|
|3||Downers Grove South High School||127||8+21+30+33+35 (47+75)||0:55 1-5 Split | 17:17 Avg|
|4||Lyons Township High School||191||13+25+34+46+73 (77+81)||1:09 1-5 Split | 17:33 Avg|
|5||Minooka High School||219||6+36+50+60+67 (131+134)||1:29 1-5 Split | 17:38 Avg|
|6||Wheaton Warrenville South High School||239||7+14+32+85+101 (102+118)||1:43 1-5 Split | 17:33 Avg|
|7||New Trier High School||253||31+38+42+43+99 (104+147)||0:52 1-5 Split | 17:45 Avg|
|8||Oswego High School||289||16+28+45+94+106 (132+143)||1:19 1-5 Split | 17:48 Avg|
|9||Batavia High School||311||2+17+82+100+110 (128+142)||2:22 1-5 Split | 17:40 Avg|
|10||Oak Park-River Forest High School||318||37+53+61+78+89 (107+162)||0:39 1-5 Split | 18:00 Avg|