The really fast run down of the Naperville Twilight Invitational
It was a perfect storm for racing in one of the best cross country meets in the state. As a matter of fact, the Naperville Twilight hosted by Naperville North High School was the epicenter of attention with the national conscious. There was Glenbard West senior star Katelynne Hart and a slew of great girls teams led by Naperville North. On the boys side, there were many mid-level questions that needed to be answered.
The Huskies of Naperville North were dropped significantly from the girls national rankings- free falling eight spots to #11. Fine. No problem. Head Coach Dan Iverson acknowledged that his team was still putting some pieces together anyway. They still don't have pre-season ace junior Campbell Petersen back. But against a stealth IL#2 Downers Grove South and IL#3 Yorkville, anything less than their best could mean a defeat. The home team did just that behind the 4th place scoring of junior Maggie Gamboa. She ran a personal best 16:42 but her teammates stepped up as well by placing in the top 20 while amassing 56 points on a slick 1:07 compression. The Mustangs ran well in finishing second tallying 85 points. Seniors Brenna Cohoon and Erin Reidy led the way with top 10 placements. Hinsdale Central surprised Yorkville and Batavia for third scoring 120 points.
Glenbard West senior star Katelynne Hart turned the building out as usual cruising to victory in 16:26. It was a reboot of sorts after a two and one-half break from competition. Hart faced minimal resistance during the first mile which was a tad over 5:20. Behind her was a slew of great at-large entrants. Sophomore stars Ava Parekh of Chicago Latin and Lianna Surtz of Aurora Rosary who consciously worked in tandem once again. They both realized from their Richard Spring Invite experiment that it is not wise to challenge the Hart machine. They would ultimately finish second and third at 16:33 and 16:36. The other guest junior Brooke Stromsland of Lakes was fifth in 16:46. There was a total of 24 girls that broke 18:00 in the meet billed as a "mini-state championship."
Jake Allen put on a show for his stadium crowd
On the boys side, there were many mid-level questions that needed to be answered. #21 Naperville Central did just that by putting together their best effort of the season beating an upstart #12 Chicago Jones Prep 110-112. The Redhawks were led in part by a 19-second compression. Junior Arthur Graham ran a personal best 15:24 to lead the way. At least for one night, the Redhawks put some doubt in the minds of their opponents.
Jones Prep put down an outstanding effort in taking second over a field of talented teams. The Eagles rallied around senior Anthony Maida who placed 9th in 15:05. It clearly sparked his teammates to compress a 56-second scoring split. #11 Naperville North, Batavia, and #15 Downers Grove North finished in the top five.
Senior Jake Allen of Naperville North continues to have an outstanding individual season. He covered the first mile in 4:50 with several of the state's top distance runners. Neuqua Valley junior Nicolas Dovalovsky and senior Richard Jacobo of Palatine were the only two to handle the second half pace as they all run sub-15:00. Allen's 14:43 was ahead of the other two who ran 14:54 and 14:58 respectively.