Location: Hammel Woods; Shorewood, IL
Times: Girls: 10:00a; Boys 11:00a
Key teams: Boys- #3 Sandburg, Lockport, Plainfield South, Plainfield North, Plainfield Central; Girls- #12 Lockport, Plainfield North, Sandburg
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Outlook: It is finally time for the state series and the regionals is usually a time where you will see some top teams rest their top athletes as their depth can make it through the first rounds like a powerhouse team at this meet.
On the boys' side, this will be more of a team battle than people will expect with the heavily favored Sandburg running their reserves. The Eagles should still come out on top with minimal resistance from the field in securing another regional title. Lockport is a team to keep an eye out for here. The Porters have been a little on the downhill slope since the First To The Finish Invite as only their 5th and 7th runners have been able to drop personal bests. The real key will be Wil Kiley to find his mojo again. If Kiley can be near the front of lead pack with teammate Jacob Hinchley then the Porters can possibly pose a threat to the Eagles.
When you look at the individual race one name comes to mind and that is Tyler Cushing of Bolingbrook. Cushing is one of the elite runners in the state with a PR of 14:30 to back it up but has had some issues past few weeks at the Locktoberfest Invite and Southwest Suburban Conference meet. At Conference, it was a bit of a shock as Brett Gardner of Lincoln-Way East and Jared Kreis of Lincoln-Way Central took the race and ran away with it leaving Cushing to run alone the Giblin twins Ben and Will of Sandburg. With no one else under 15:00 going to be in the field, this is Cushing's race to lose. Others to watch for are Hinchley, Kiley, Matthew Thomas of Plainfield North, Brock Rice of Sandburg, Ross Cronholm of Lockport, Ryan Wengler of Plainfield South, Aidan O'Leary of Stagg, and Alex Miller of Sandburg.
The girls' team race is not at all like the boys' race as there is one clear favorite. The Porters of Lockport as they may very well go 2-6 in the race. The Porters have run great all year as they are led by freshman Caroline Turner who has run 18:16. The key to watch is where the rest of Lockport's pack will be. The Porters could very well have a 1-5 split of under 30 seconds it just depends on how far back the rest of the pack is from Turner.
The individual race is almost as clear as the team race with Ella Jeffries of Sandburg being well ahead of everyone else. Jeffries is coming off beating Turner by 30 seconds at the Southwest Suburban Conference Meet running an impressive 17:46. With Lockport's group coming in the next couple spots it seems only Aminah Hussain of Plainfield North will be able to break up that group.