Spencer Werner, Brooke Johnston rule at Loyola Flight Night

An emotional Spencer Werner gets a hard-earned victory at his digs



Glenview IL-

In a succession of days, the Chicagoland area welcomed another twilight evening full of cross country action. Loyola Academy HS hosted their second annual meet in a flight format that featured an undercard for runners of all abilities. By the time it was pitch black in terms of the skyline, it was time for the proverbial fireworks. 


Cameron Donner (So., Hersey) won the first flight (6-10 runners) in 16:51. He trailed for the majority of the race but turned on the jets late inside the final mile for the impressive victory.

The second billing was the 1-5 runners and certainly, the overall best performances would come here despite a soggy and chewed-up course. Spencer Werner (Sr., Loyola Academy), Aidan Simon (Sr., Loyola Academy), and Ryan Hardiman (Sr., Chicago Latin) formed a trio for half of the race. They hit the first mile around 4:55 and later were under 7:30. 

Simon was replaced by TJ Garland (Sr., Prospect) just before the second mile in 10:24. With about 600m to go, Werner had a three-second lead over Hardiman and Simon. Sean Safford (Sr., Hersey) was rapidly closing in and he passed Hardiman and Garland. But it was a wildly emotional Werner who protected his lead and got the victory in 15:44. Safford ran 15:45, Hardiman 15:53 was third. Garland clocked 15:54 for fourth place ahead of Ben DeGuire (Sr., Marquette University HS; Milwaukee) who ran 15:59. 

1Prospect High School644+8+10+14+28 (30+38)1:06 1-5 Split | 16:25 Avg
2Hersey High School682+6+17+21+22 (26+34)1:07 1-5 Split | 16:26 Avg
3Loyola Academy871+16+20+23+27 (43+45)1:16 1-5 Split | 16:36 Avg


The girl's race was similar to the boys except they preceded their counterparts. Julia Drake (Fr., Loyola Academy) won flight one in 19:41. She led a good portion of the race with a solid first mile around 6:18.

The main event featured some top talent including one of the state's premier runners in Brooke Johnston (Jr., Lake Zurich). Though it was close for most of the way, Johnston controlled the tempo. She hit the opening mile in 5:38 followed by Sierra Parks Niwot (Sr., Niwot CO) and Mia Kotler (Fr., Chicago Latin) two seconds in back. Parks, who was visiting her family (famed Palatine boys coach [uncle Joe Parks] and company in attendance) has a strong resume. Also, Catie McCabe (Jr., Hinsdale Central) was on the tail end of the leaders.

Johnston put on a surge late in the second mile to bust the race wide open. She was approximately 11:38 to Park's 11:46 and Kotler at 11:58. Hinsdale Central's pack was in control and barring any late-race catastrophe, they would take home the big trophy.

Johnston continues to drop strong finishes and it is another course record, this time in 17:34. Parks gets under 18:00 with a 17:54 clocking. McCabe caught a tiring Kotler inside the final quarter-mile to take third 18:11-18:14. Hailey Erickson (Jr., Prospect) placed fifth in 18:34.

1Hinsdale Central High School502+9+12+13+14 (35+36)0:47 1-5 Split | 18:45 Avg
2Prospect High School854+5+22+26+28 (31+34)1:12 1-5 Split | 19:13 Avg
3Loyola Academy866+10+18+25+27 (41+42)1:03 1-5 Split | 19:13 Avg