The girls highlights pretty showed the dominance of Naperville North
St. Charles, IL-
Frosty Saturday mornings are typically reserved for cartoon watching, chores, or sleeping in. But at precisely 9am, it was time for the begin sectional play and get some of the best distance runners qualified for the state championship.
As one of the nation's elite cross country programs, there is never a time to downplay the competition
The top-ranked and three-time defending state champion Naperville North squad was ready for business. After resting several runners during last weekend's Oswego East Regional, head coach Dan Iverson did not play around in a very serious situation. His pre-race speech was a reassurance that nothing can be taken for granted.
Shortly after the starter's pistol went off, the race to finish line was on and the Huskies completely suffocated the field. The field conditions may have limited a faster opening pace but junior Maggie Gamboa got well and led the charge for her team. All five scorers were among the top 15 and if anyone had faltered the sixth and seventh runners would have picked up the slack and continued the domination. For perspective, if the Huskies were assessed a handicap with seven runners to score, they would have finished third overall with 94 points!
#6 Batavia is running well despite placing a satellite distant second but significantly ahead of #7 Oswego. Led by sophomore Katrina Schlenker's third-place finish, the Bulldogs pulled three two other girls inside the top 10. Junior Jenna Schifferer and senior Mia Gianfrancesco got the job done. Now it will be up to the back end of the scorers to improve before next Saturday if this team hopes to finish in the top five. In collecting fourth overall, the Panthers avoided the pitfalls by using a strong second half to earn another berth to Peoria. Freshman Audra Soderlind placed 12th overall in 18:40.
The surprise of the day was Huntley. The unranked Red Raiders should not have been overlooked after winning the Hononegah Regional with ease. It was a strong pack running display that got the job done for a fierce group of ladies who pushed hard during the final mile. Senior Bailey Wilk led the way with a 23rd place finish.
It has been quite a while but the St. Charles East bunch is back in the state meet in nabbing the final spot. As a pre-season team, not much was given to them in terms of respect but the Saints leader junior Alice Abbott always believed in her teammates. "I really ran for my girls today... Coach [Bradley] Kaplan has really made this team his own," said Abbott who placed a strong fifth overall.
|1||Naperville North High School||44||1+8+10+12+13 (15+35)||1:00 1-5 Split | 18:26 Avg|
|2||Batavia High School||85||2+5+9+31+38 (40+53)||1:24 1-5 Split | 18:47 Avg|
|3||Oswego High School||118||11+17+19+20+51 (72+87)||1:12 1-5 Split | 19:06 Avg|
|4||Huntley High School||157||22+24+30+37+44 (71+81)||0:35 1-5 Split | 19:20 Avg|
|5||St. Charles East High School||179||4+23+32+58+62 (70+75)||1:52 1-5 Split | 19:26 Avg|
Individually, Gamboa sub-consciously has put her name in the elite category this upcoming weekend after a dominating performance. If not for the extreme sloppy conditions, we might have seen a sub 17:00 performance. Gamboa was well ahead of Schlenker and senior Ashley Heidenrich of Waubonsie Valley. At two miles, Gamboa was at 12:17 and appeared to be cruising along. As calculated, Gamboa would cruise home well ahead of the field in 17:44.
|1||Maggie Gamboa||11||Naperville North High School||17:44.00||1|
|2||Ashley Heidenrich||12||Waubonsie Valley High School||18:02.00||0|
|3||Katrina Schlenker||10||Batavia High School||18:08.00||2|
|4||Sophia Sandy||12||Metea Valley High School||18:16.00||3|
|5||Alice Abbott||11||St. Charles East High School||18:19.00||4|
|6||Jenna Schifferer||11||Batavia High School||18:21.00||5|
|7||Naomi Ruff||10||South Elgin High School||18:22.00||6|
|8||Rachel Price||10||St. Charles North High School||18:24.00||7|
|9||Molly Morton||11||Naperville North High School||18:30.00||8|
|10||Mia Gianfrancesco||12||Batavia High School||18:32.00||9|
|1||St. Charles East High School||29||1+4+5+8+11 (22+41)||0:35 1-5 Split | 15:41 Avg|
|2||Oswego East High School||74||9+10+12+18+25 (26+27)||0:21 1-5 Split | 15:59 Avg|
|3||Naperville North High School||90||2+13+19+20+36 (51+55)||0:59 1-5 Split | 16:01 Avg|
|4||Waubonsie Valley High School||163||14+21+34+35+59 (62+74)||0:54 1-5 Split | 16:22 Avg|
|5||Naperville Central High School||168||6+33+38+39+52 (68+78)||1:07 1-5 Split | 16:23 Avg|
It was easy street racing for Liking who seemed perfectly fine with Naperville North senior Jake Allen. Both had run together through two miles (10:17) before Liking began to pull away for the win. Allen's second place was a strong sign that he will be a strong top tier all-stater next weekend at Detweiller Park. Senior Ian Geisler of Huntley pulled away from sophomore Micah Wilson around the same time that Liking did from Allen. Overall, it was a very good field and it's possible that we may see all 10 finishers with all-state medals next weekend.
|1||Bob Liking||12||St. Charles East High School||15:21.00||1|
|2||Jake Allen||12||Naperville North High School||15:28.00||2|
|3||Ian Geisler||12||Huntley High School||15:30.00||3|
|4||Micah Wilson||10||St. Charles East High School||15:39.00||4|
|5||Aidan King||12||St. Charles East High School||15:42.00||5|
|6||Arthur Graham||11||Naperville Central High School||15:44.00||6|
|7||Nicolas Dovalovsky||11||Neuqua Valley High School||15:45.00||7|
|8||Zack Loomis||11||St. Charles East High School||15:50.00||8|
|9||Luke Wentz||12||Oswego East High School||15:51.00||9|
|10||Heriberto Alvarez||12||Oswego East High School||15:53.00||10|