Palatine MOC turns out to be a classic fall affair



The ideal cross country race conditions on a beautiful Saturday morning were bound to produce some fast times and competitive races. The athletes enjoyed the 65 degrees, sunny weather while competing. 

The freshman boys got things started as Ben Crane of New Trier won by 20 seconds in the 2.5-mile race with a time of 13:27. Barrington's top two runners would place third and fourth helping them win the team title with 92 points. 

The frosh girls' 2.5-mile race would precede the varsity. Sophomore Lily Ginsberg from Prospect was the Knight's top runner at the Richard Spring Peoria Notre Dame Invite last weekend. However, many coaches tend to keep their young talent down here. Ginsberg quickly moved to the front and had the race under control by the mile in the 5:40s. She would go on to win by over a minute, finishing in 14:29. The Knights would also take the team title, scoring 53 points. 

The boy's soph race featured some big firepower. #13 Plainfield South kept three of their top runners down and they placed 1,2,3. Camyn Viger (So), Gavin Borger (So), and Dylan Maloney (Fr) controlled the tempo throughout the three-mile affair. They clocked 15:40, 15:42, and 15:53 respectively. However, it was a tie-breaker on the sixth man by New Trier that pushed them past Oak Park-River Forest with 92 points. The Cougars took third with 96 points.

For the third week in a row since the start of the cross country invitational season, York's dominant pack sprung into action. In the varsity girls' three-mile race, the Lady Dukes bid their time well in the opening mile. Led by Katherine Klimek (So.), the killer bees-like squadron hit the first mile in 5:38-5:48. While all five were in the top 20 at this point, the sixth runner, Maggie Owens (So), wasn't too far behind. Assumption HS of Louisville, KY put up the best fight they could, eventually managed to place second behind York. The final tally was a dominating 48 point attack by the Dukes- placing all five of their scorers in the top 15. 

As far as how the individual race went down, this one will be discussed for ages. Josephine Welin (Sr., Oak Park-River Forest) and Mary Grace Hegberg (Sr., St. Viator) are two of the top runners in the state. Hegberg had been out of action since the first weekend of the season and Welin started her campaign just a week prior. As expected, both runners traded blows in the opening mile which was 10 seconds faster than the field in 5:15. Brooke Johnston (Jr., Lake Zurich) and Nicole Poglitsch (Fr., Wheaton-Warrenville South) were linked in the first pack chasers.

Welin began to separate from Hegberg just prior to the second mile- achieve that feat in 11:00 and ten seconds in the clear. It appeared with just three-quarters of a mile remaining that Welin had everything in the bag. Little did everyone know, Johnston had begun making her move. She closed the gap under 10 seconds with around a half-mile to go. And with just the crest of the hill with less than 200m to go, she pulled in front of Welin and broke home for the win in 16:53. It was an incredible feat that had everyone in attendance buzzing. Welin was in serious discomfort afterward but she copped in 16:56. Hegberg took third with a time of 17:19. Klimek earned fourth in her tough efforts with a time of 17:25. Jones College Prep junior Evelyn Hett ran a school-record 17:26 to finish fifth.
1York High School483+8+10+12+15 (22+65)0:16 1-5 Split | 17:33 Avg
2Assumption18120+21+30+43+67 (95)1:10 1-5 Split | 18:24 Avg
3Loyola Academy22118+28+42+59+74 (121)1:28 1-5 Split | 18:35 Avg
4Maine South High School22411+44+45+58+66 (90+104)1:32 1-5 Split | 18:37 Avg
5Lyons Township High School2366+51+52+57+70 (79+118)1:41 1-5 Split | 18:39 Avg

After the girls race, it was time for the boy's varsity race. #2 York was the team to beat but never count out #4 New Trier and other top rated squads in the field. It didn't appear as though many teams were short-handed due to injury or illness and for the first half of the race, it was hard to determine who the team leaders were. Certainly, York, Palatine, Hinsdale Central, and New Trier had their key scorers upfront. 

The first mile checked in at 4:44 with Aidan Simon (Sr., Loyola Academy), Ryan Watts (Sr., Edwardsville) leading a strong pack. Nick Falk (Sr., New Trier), and Ethan Summer (Sr., York) among others in the mix. This same group would stay upfront at the second mile but Marcellus Mines (So., Joliet West) joined the party in 9:44-9:45. The team picture was still a bit murky at this point.

It wasn't until the final half-mile that things became clear. Mines dashed to the front and roared home the final stretch to win in a PB 14:40 and just ahead of Falk's 14:40. Summer 14:47 grabbed third place. Tim Neumann (Sr., Downers Grove South) returned from a tough meet last weekend, copped fourth in 14:48. The fifth place ribbon was awarded to Watts in 14:54.

New Trier outlasted Hinsdale Central with a strong final surge to win one of the closest contests among the first four teams.
1New Trier High School1341+15+21+43+54 (69+72)1:17 1-5 Split | 15:29 Avg
2Hinsdale Central High School14610+18+33+38+47 (88+98)0:42 1-5 Split | 15:38 Avg
3York High School1482+12+19+48+67 (83)1:19 1-5 Split | 15:30 Avg
4Palatine High School1696+27+29+50+57 (80+155)0:56 1-5 Split | 15:41 Avg
5Lake Zurich High School24113+14+62+70+82 (87+160)0:57 1-5 Split | 15:50 Avg