The top four teams according to the projections were St. Charles East IL, Wheaton-Warrenville South IL, Elmhurst York IL, and Ft. Wayne Concordia IN. This is post-season cross country and only the strong will survive out in the wilderness.
If you had a keen eye for Illinois cross country, you were able to spot the singlets with green over white which belongs to York. "Kroy" as they call themselves during this time of the year always seem to step up when the national spotlight is on them. This group has a vastly different personality, to say the least.
The Dukes have dangerous down the stretch and after finishing third here a year ago, they were ahead of projections. Last year's individual national qualifier senior Ethan Kern ran his best race of the season and put six points on the board followed by his fellow steady teammate senior Daniel Klysh in the seventh slot. All seven Duke scorers placed among the top 50 for a score of 128 points. Despite the great feat and auto qualifying for Portland for the first time since 2012.
Wheaton South proved to be their best and completely focused since a smarting at the state sectionals on Nov 2 by the feet of York. The Tigers continually got better each week and put it all together in Cross Country Town USA.
Senior William Hauenstein got himself in the mix right away because he knew his mates would spot him throughout the race. Hauenstein never once folded placing 11th overall- placed third in the team scoring which spawned a magnificent 34-second spread. The nearly perfectly executed race was impossible to overcome and the final tally netted 75 points for the auto qualifying win.
St. Charles East, the IL 3A state champion, was undefeated coming into today and beat the winner Wheaton South three times and second place York twice. Their resume is very strong and they finished third but should get a bid to Portland. Ft. Wayne Concordia ran well too and was undefeated coming into the race, but will have to await the at-large committee's decision for a bid to nationals in a few weeks. Illinois would cop seven of the top ten places.
|1 - Wheaton South (IL)||Top 5 Avg Times: 15:42||Points: 75|
|2 - York (il)||Top 5 Avg Times: 15:51||Points: 128|
|3 - St. Charles East (IL)||Top 5 Avg Times: 15:57||Points: 154|
|4 - Ft. Wayne Concordia (IN)||Top 5 Avg Times: 15:58||Points: 183|
The individual race was essentially Josh Methner's to lose. It seemed as though most in attendance was aware of his tremendous feat in taking down the legendary Craig Virgin's all-time state mark last weekend. However, the superstar from Hersey is many times unassuming and unpredictable.
The race pace started out tremendously fast as Methner, Caleb Brown (Shelby OH), Evan Bishop (East Grand Rapids MI), Jared Kreis (Lincoln-Way Central IL), Jack Spamer (Brighton MI), and so many others, hit the first kilometer in a fast 2:43-2:45 range.
The first mile was in approximately 4:40 that featured all of the above and about 15 more runners in tow.
The pace continued to be respectively fast through 3k in 8:57 and the two-mile in 9:38. But the large pack began to string out.
Brown and Methner finally dropped the group at 4k in 11:55. Running side by side, the winner was going to come from one of them. Bishop tried to stay in earshot but the aggression would soon get the worst of him.
As Methner and Brown steamed down the stretch for home, the drama was soon taken away. Methner under orders from his coach, finally led and put the hammer down and closed out the race for the win in 14:57.7. Brown took second in 15:02.5.
Mhalicki Bronson of Defiance, OH saved his best for last and jetted all out the final straight and nipped Bishop for third at the finish line with the same time 15:08. and Spamer held on for the fifth and final spot in 15:09.