Aaron Hou of Jones College Prep puts the finishing touches on a solid win
Lane Tech HS; Chicago
As predicted it was a rainy day out at Lane Stadium and the surrounding school grounds. However, cross country is no stranger to a little rain and some mud. You could probably even argue that cross country without less than ideal weather isn't cross country. Even though things like rain and snow tend to slow down the courses, it doesn't stop the athletes from bringing in some stellar performances. Yesterday we got to see that happen.
The teams to watch out for in the girl's races were Jones Prep and Lane. For every heat, each school had about two girls leading the way. In the first heat of the girl's varsity three-mile race, Jones had the lead most of the time. It was Evelyn Hett of Jones Prep who ended up taking the victory for that race running 19:58.9. She was the only girl under 20:00 yesterday, setting herself apart from the rest of the competition. The real battle was for second place between her teammate Julie Benes and Olivia Ide of Lane. Coming down the final stretch, you could see Benes and Ide fighting with all they had left. Almost stride for stride, Benes was able to hold off her second-place position and beat Ide by just a second 20:12-20:13.
Lane Tech High School
1:08 1-5 Split | 20:45 Avg
Jones College Prep
1:59 1-5 Split | 20:48 Avg
Taft High School
2:33 1-5 Split | 21:51 Avg
The second heat of the girl's three-mile was a
huge sea of green. All you could see as they raced out the stadium was their
bright green uniforms. Lane tech ended taking all of the first 11 spots, all
the times within a few seconds of each other. You could tell that teamwork was
a big part of their competition yesterday.
After the three-mile was the two-mile races. Lane was sure to have a girl out in front again. Diana Morales was in front the whole time with a 10-second gap from the second runner. After the competition was over, she told us she was a new runner to cross country. Her main focus as a new runner was her breathing, which helped tremendously as she soared to first place. With the way she came flying through, you'd never be able to tell this was her first season.
Following the completion of the girl's races were the boy's races. We had the chance to interview favorite Aaron Hou of Jones, the boy's three-mile winner. He was interviewed during his freshman year in 2017 during the CPS City Championship. Even then he produced a promising performance that let us know he was going to be a force to be reckoned with. Hou stocked the early leaders who hit the mile markers in 5:20. Later as things opened up on the soggy course, he took charge hitting the second mile in 10:40. Hou was in a league of his own coming into the final mile. Hou dominated the race with foggy and wet glasses. He ran 16:08, 22 seconds faster than the second-place finisher, Daniel Murphy of Whitney Young.
#16 Jones dominated the team affair by putting all five of its scorers among the top six and top seven into the top 10.
Jones College Prep
0:28 1-5 Split | 16:26 Avg
Lane Tech High School
0:39 1-5 Split | 16:58 Avg
Whitney Young High School
1:06 1-5 Split | 17:07 Avg
The winner of the boy's two-mile was a fresh face. However, he was no stranger to being a top competitive runner. Andrew Nelson was the freshman of Jones who got third at the IESA championships this past year. He won yesterday by one second, putting up a fight with the senior, Andrew Bishop, from Lane. The third and fourth placers came in a little later but it was like looking in a mirror. So close, that they both ran 11:26.00.
Chicago cross country and track are known for one big when it comes to bad weather; it will stop as soon as the day is done. While everyone was packing up to go home, the rain turned into a very light drizzle and it started to get humid. It's as if the weather knows that meets are taking place and wants to make the races as interesting as possible. The weather completed its mission and showed us athletes racing in sweatpants, foggy glasses, and full-on warm-ups. Maybe next time we'll be able to see something crazier.