She had been dreaming of a major title for quite a while. Ava Parekh has been on the scene since middle-school winning races virtually everywhere. The one race that has eluded the superstar junior from Chicago Latin HS was the state championship variety. When the season was put in jeopardy because of Covid-19, the Shazam management group swooped in and promised a viable end of the season reward for the runners.
Parekh got out fast with good friend Brooke Stromsland (Lakes HS) as they navigated the first mile in 5:33 and 5:35 respectively. On the far backstretch of the course is where Parekh went to work and opened a gap that was meant to hurt Stromsland. The strategy worked as she continued to press on and strolled through the second mile in 11:17. Stromsland was now 15-seconds back and on her own island.
Parekh came home for the win in 17:39 and flashed a bit of fatigue along with a smile. Stromsland held on to second with a time of 18:01.
The team battle did not go exactly Chicago Speed's (Chicago Latin) way despite taking three of the first four spots (Olivia Syftestad -3rd, Marianne Mihas- 4th), it was Chatham-Glenwood that got the final laugh by two points over Grayslake Central 125-127. Vernon Hills beat out Lakes to take third place 128-131- both programs earned trophies.