Jewels were dropped on the Wayne E. Dannehl course in Kenosha, WI on Saturday on a balmy but terrific day for cross country
In one of the fastest seeded girls and boys championship races in Midwest history, the undercard frosh boys race gave an indication of what was to come as sophomore Sam Berlinghof of Chicago Jones College Prep won in 16:25.
The girls led off on a nicely manicured course that was largely unaffected by adverse weather conditions this season. A fast pace set by Arianne Olson of Holland West HS Michigan (5:30) was later met with resistance from a tight pack. Stanford University-bound Riley Stewart of Cherry Creek CO emerged in the woods just prior to the second mile with the lead. After passing the post in approximately 10:54, it was a matter of which 10 girls would move on to San Diego. Stewart punched her ticket in a near meet record 16:54.4 (#2 all-time). It would take 17:39 to make the trip.
The boys race lived up to top billing as the race to the first set of hills was in motion. Nick Falk of New Trier HS in Illinois, led at the halfway mark, but by the second mile, the nation's top-ranked runner, Riley Hough of Hartland HS in Michigan, had taken control of things. Hough was cruised by a platter of onlookers in 9:34 and out of sight. He would come home for the win in 14:49.5. He along with four other Wolverine statesmen would qualify for sunny California. Two runners from Indiana, one from Illinois, and one from Nebraska made up the final Midwest lineup.