Washington Park; Chicago
It was supposed to be a good one from both the individual and team standpoint. Most pundits and Chicago Public School cross country fans figured that Payton and defending champion Lane Tech would fight for the title. Former Lane assistant Jeff Bryant assumed the Payton head position late in the summer and had just 10 weeks to get his troops in championship form. But there were perennial powers Whitney Young and Northside Prep to consider in the equation.
As expected the race got out without a hitch as Elia Ton-That (Sr., Northside Prep) moved to the front. Missing by her side was Evelyn Hett (Jr., Jones Prep) who was reportedly held out as a precaution. Ton-That did not waste any time as he roared past the first kilometer in 3:25 and the first mile in approximately 5:32. Lane Tech had early numbers upfront but so did Payton as the Grizzlies top girl Josephine Dziedzic (Jr.) was leading the chasers. Nikki Chopra (So., Whitney Young) and Elia's little sister "LuLu" Lucia Ton-That (Fr.) followed close by.
By the second mile, it was clear that Payton, Northside Prep, and Lane were in the hunt. All three schools and even Whitney Young had scorers in the mid 12:00s. Ton-That was well ahead in 11:15 and on her way to a new personal best if she didn't falter.
As the final verdict turned out, Elia came in a brand new meet and course record 17:08. It was her personal best and school record as well. It also restored her confidence as one of the elite girls in the state. Her sister LuLu would take third which enabled the Mustangs to cop another team trophy. At first glance, it appeared as though Payton beat Lane but the power of the pack and fifth runner came through big when it counted.
|1||Northside Prep High School||61||1+3+14+15+28 (37+53)||3:11 1-5 Split | 18:50 Avg|
|2||Payton High School||63||4+11+13+17+18 (29+35)||1:41 1-5 Split | 19:04 Avg|
|3||Lane Tech High School||67||7+9+10+20+21 (23+27)||0:57 1-5 Split | 19:19 Avg|
|4||Whitney Young High School||73||2+5+19+22+25 (33+39)||2:21 1-5 Split | 19:11 Avg|
|5||Jones College Prep||101||8+12+16+31+34 (40)||1:46 1-5 Split | 19:44 Avg|