IL kids make impression at historic RunningLane Nationals

The finish of the girls gold championship was furious as well as exciting for all in attendance



Every year there is a hyped build-up to what eventually becomes some sort of G.O.A.T. discussion. For example, the cross country pundits billed the Newbury HS  boys out of California as the greatest of all time after historic wins all-season and especially during their state series run. How about the vastly deep girls field which has seen amazing performances throughout the country. Collectively, they could make the Garmin RunningLane National Cross Country Championships one to remember for a very long time.

Ava Parekh (Sr., Chicago Latin) had established herself long ago as one of the top runners in the state as well as in the nation. Parekh seized the opportunity right away by going with leaders and hitting the first mile in 5:10. Natalie Cook (Sr., Flower Mound, CO) would eventually break away from a fleet of talented girls by the second mile (10:37) and win in the second-fastest time of all-time 16:03. Parekh fought hard and took ninth in a state record 16:45 (16:14 at 3miles).

Two teams from the land of Lincoln represented well. US#14 York (Kroy Club) had dominated its foes all season long including the Nike Cross Regionals Midwest Regional but yet the national pundits would not acknowledge them. The lack of notoriety seemed to ignite the Lady Dukes in the proceeding weeks after the state championship. The best remedy to respect is action. The Dukes got out well but controlled and positioned themselves among the top 10. Sticking together was the key since Kroy did not have a true lowstick runner. They moved to sixth at the second mile and eventually a strong surge over the final mile netted fourth with 214 points- just one behind the trophy spot. With six runners returning next year, there is no doubt that we are going to see respect given to the Lady Dukes right away.

1Niwot High School1115+20+23+27+36 (39+50)0:56 1-5 Split | 17:22 Avg
2Buchanan (CS)13912+24+31+34+38 (79+99)0:41 1-5 Split | 17:29 Avg
3Arapahoe High School2089+22+47+56+74 (91+145)1:10 1-5 Split | 17:36 Avg
4York High School21028+30+41+43+68 (81+155)0:25 1-5 Split | 17:44 Avg
5Cherry Creek High School2322+37+62+64+67 (117+161)1:31 1-5 Split | 17:37 Avg


In the deepest boys field assembled there was no doubt that Newbury Park, California was a team on a mission. The Panthers did more than growl at the field, they devoured the competition in one bite. A furious first mile in misty conditions more suited for midwestern state athletes, 4:29 was just the beginning. Four of the top five Newbury Park runners were in the lead pack. Keep in mind that the nation's top runner Riley Hough of Michigan, as well as elite performer Zane Bergen of Colorado, were in the field. It didn't matter.

Colin Sahlman, Leo Young, Lex Young, and Aaron Sahlman hit the second mile in 9:13. After that, they formed an eagle formation entering the final straight to go 1,2,3,6. No matter how you tried to slice it, this was the most dominating performance in the history of high school cross country. The 29 points establishes a mark that should last for ages to come.


There was a small sighting of Illinois boys among the entrants. Luke Wiley, Ryder James, and Hunter Whitney established lifetime bests to conclude the season.

Warren High School
Paxton-Buckley-Loda High School
Lane Tech High School
Marion High School
Lake Zurich High School
Chicago Latin High School
Warren High School