Oswego E Boys, Vernon Hills Girls Destroy Niles West Invite

Niles West High School; Skokie IL --


Over the past few weeks, the Illinois cross country scene has been met with soggy, muddy courses, making the conditions not ideal for the state's athletes. However, with over 60 teams ready to compete, the Pat Savage Invite stirred up good competition and delivered solid times.

One interesting aspect of the Pat Savage Invite is divided into a "Red" division -- 1A and 2A schools -- and a "White" Division -- 3A schools. Although both divisions run in the same race, team scores are calculated only based on these divisions.

1Oswego East High School221+3+4+5+9 (10+16)0:34 1-5 Split | 15:54 Avg
2New Trier High School9013+15+17+19+26 (27+38)0:23 1-5 Split | 16:28 Avg
3Deerfield High School996+8+18+33+34 (43+50)0:48 1-5 Split | 16:29 Avg
4Marist High School1832+28+31+60+62 (78+83)1:46 1-5 Split | 16:50 Avg
5Whitney Young High School19020+23+44+49+54 (58+65)0:42 1-5 Split | 16:56 Avg

On the boy's side, top teams such as 3A #4 New Trier, #7 Maine South, #12 Oswego East, and 2A #5 St. Ignatius will all be vying for the team title. All eyes would have been on New Trier for the varsity race after their breakout win at Palatine last weekend, however, they decided not to race their varsity at Pat Savage and give their JV squad its time to shine in the big varsity race. Maine South did not race their varsity either. Since both New Trier and Maine South are not at full gear, Oswego East realized their chance to win the team title and took it in without a fight. Oswego finished with a mere 29 points followed by New Trier's JV-turned-varsity runners in 123 points.

The varsity boys raced first, so they enjoyed the cleanest conditions of the course, although as champion Brad Wiggins of Oswego East crossed the finish in 15:33, his legs were still coated in mud from the tough terrain. Closely behind was Thomas Leonard of Chicago Marist in 15:42 and Wiggins' teammate Luke Wentz in 15:45. Overall, Oswego East had six guys in the top 13 finishers, all running 16:11 or below. A great race for the wolves.

Varsity Girls-

Coming into the girls' race, 2A #2 Vernon Hills appears to be the strongest team on the field by far. Although 3A #23 Prospect was there as well, most of their "A" varsity squad was competing in Peoria which caused their team performance to take a hit. Sometimes Vernon Hills can be overlooked because of its 2A assignment, but Vernon Hills dominated the Pat Savage Invite this year. With their fifth runner, freshman Anna Todd, coming in 18th place, it's no wonder Vernon Hills beat runner-up Whitney Young in a staggering 39-178 (division score).

Seasoned girl athletes include freshman Rose Sheridan of Vernon Hills and senior Abby Lopez of Argo. Faced with a more slippery course, thanks to the boys, the girls will have to focus more on finishing in a respectable place than on running an excellent time. Coming into the final 300m at 17:00, run inside Niles West track stadium, Sheridan is the clear winner. She finishes barely sub-18:00 in 17:59.55, making Pat Savage the second big win of her career. Lopez finishes behind in 18:22.

1Vernon Hills High School201+2+4+5+8 (14+18)2:07 1-5 Split | 19:15 Avg
2St. Viator High School863+13+15+26+29 (45+82)2:11 1-5 Split | 20:33 Avg
3Payton High School9712+16+20+22+27 (43+49)0:53 1-5 Split | 20:46 Avg
4Montini Catholic High School1799+31+34+48+57 (67+75)2:09 1-5 Split | 21:35 Avg
5Hinsdale South High School1797+19+38+44+71 (73+122)2:53 1-5 Split | 21:29 Avg

Illinois' cross country athletes have had to overcome the adversity of soggy courses during the midseason, but Oswego East and Vernon Hills have gained further confirmation on the solidity of their teams-- including their frontrunners.

Great job to all runners who competed and this meet promises for an eventful postseason coming up in just a few short weeks!