South Elgin senior Francisco Gonzalez said he did not expect to win the Elgin City Cross Country Invitational on Tuesday.
In most teams' first meet of the season, Gonzalez ran the 3-mile course at Lords Park in 16:05.5 to beat Bartlett's Joey Salatino by 5.2 seconds.
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"I just wanted to see where I was at early in the season and work from there," Gonzalez said.
The pace was fast in the first mile, about 5 minutes, Gonzalez said. He felt good during the second mile and took the lead. He didn't give it up and ran a personal best at the course.
"It went out fast," Gonzalez said. "I tried to hold back. It's warm and the first meet of the season. Everyone wanted to stay conservative."
St. Charles North won the team title, scoring 49 points. Bartlett (50) was second, followed by Batavia (82), South Elgin (133) and Glenbard North (151).
Salatino's second-place finish was one of five in the top 16 for the Hawks. Connor Rachford was fifth (16:23.2), Mike Cotton was 13th (16:56.5), Alejandro Hernandez was 14th (16:58.3) and Dan Cotton was 16th (17:09.6).
Batavia's Mike Redmond (16:16.3) and Chris Spadafora (16:29.6) finished third and fourth individually.
Streamwood's Jhoan Lino took eighth (16:50.2). Peter Lennard was Larkin's top finisher, placing 19th in 17:12.6. St. Edward's John Danner was 23rd in 17:15.7. Dillon Muscat led Dundee-Crown, finishing 24th in 17:19.1. Tanner Bednar (46th, 18:18.6) was Elgin's top runner.