The intensity of the Palatine Meet of Champions was shown throughout day
Some meets come and some go, but one thing is for sure: the Palatine Meet of Champions is here to stay. It was once the signaling for the legendary coach Joe Newton's 'Long Green Mile' that the season had begun for York and it's a problem for the rest of the state. Deer Grove East Forest Preserve was the place to be on a crisp Saturday morning.
These days the Lady Dukes are the pride of Elmhurst cross country and their number two ranked status did not sit well with them. The only way to take of that and reestablish themselves as the best team in the state would be to win the varsity girls race in a dominating fashion.
The weather conditions were ripe for a fall cross country race, overcast, with light wind and temperatures in the upper 50s or lower 60s at the start. The first mile featured a fleet of the state's top distance runners in 5:29. Anna Harden (Sr., Hersey), Scout Storms (So., Barrington), Brooke Johnston (Sr., Lake Zurich), and Hadley Ferrero (So., Crystal Lake Central) were the faces leading the charge.
Several seconds behind the leaders was a sea of green as York was led by Bria Bennis (Sr) in 5:32 and three more teammates behind her. In all, there were six Dukes within the first 15 seconds. For a betting man, this spells danger for the field. Prospect's Hailey Erickson (Sr) and Lily Ginsberg (Jr) were a bit more conservative. They also did not have the frosh-soph duo of Veronica Znajda (So) and Meg Peterson (Fr) who went 1-2 in the undercard race.
York's scoring split was amazing throughout the race and it didn't seem to matter what opponents were on the course, this was their day. The Lady Dukes put five scorers plus a sixth one inside the top 25 for good measure in scoring 54 points. They responded well to their first loss to an Illinois team in several years. Assumption HS of Louisville proved the long drive was worth it by taking second on a tie-breaker against Prospect 116.
A happy Harden strolled home and broke 17:00 for the first time this season in 16:58. She was especially pleased by her accomplishment against a great field. Bennis moved into second late in the final mile and ran 17:04 ahead of Rachel Soukup (Sr., Prairie Ridge) 17:07.
|1||Elmhurst (York)||54||2+6+9+16+21 (23+40)||0:53 1-5 Split | 17:26 Avg|
|2||Assumption||116||7+24+26+28+31 (61+84)||1:02 1-5 Split | 18:02 Avg|
|3||Mt. Prospect (Prospect)||116||5+10+22+34+45 (116+124)||1:30 1-5 Split | 17:54 Avg|
|4||LaGrange (Lyons)||180||12+35+36+38+59 (62+76)||1:29 1-5 Split | 18:18 Avg|
|5||Downers Grove (North)||239||20+25+51+69+74 (79+80)||1:07 1-5 Split | 18:33 Avg|
It would be the boy's turn to show out and #1 Plainfield South was eager to get back on the racing paths after two weeks off. The Cougar's approach this season has been like a piranha attack, the entire scoring pack ganging up and devouring the competition. It would be no different with Camyn Viger (Jr) leading the charge upfront. His mates Dylan Maloney (So), BJ Sorg (Sr), and Ethan Reynoso (Sr) were all upfront mixed in with some of the state's top distance runners. The first mile was just under 4:50 in what seemed like 20 runners nestled together.
At the second mile, the pack thinned out considerably but there were still four cougars among the top seven or so runners who clocked 9:59. But there was a feeling that things would get interesting. Viger and Sami Hattab (Sr., Louisville St. Xavier) began to separate themselves from the group with just a half-mile remaining.
Coming home, it was a thrilling finish with Viger holding off a towering Hattab 14:44-14:55. But the exciting finishes by the Cougars had four finishers inside of the top ten and all scorers among the top 20. It would no contest and one of the most dominating performances at Deer Grove East Forest Preserve.
|1||Plainfield (South)||35||1+5+6+7+16 (23+36)||0:25 1-5 Split | 14:58 Avg|
|2||Park Ridge (Maine South)||163||11+18+38+45+51 (62+144)||0:39 1-5 Split | 15:29 Avg|
|3||Barrington||175||8+26+40+42+59 (78+94)||0:51 1-5 Split | 15:32 Avg|
|4||Oak Park (O.P.-River Forest)||175||3+13+27+47+85 (106)||1:19 1-5 Split | 15:27 Avg|
|5||Winnetka (New Trier)||184||14+25+33+41+71 (99+104)||0:51 1-5 Split | 15:33 Avg|