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updated: 9/10/2011 10:36 PM

WW South takes Wauconda Invite

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By John Bumbales
Daily Herald Correspondent

There was no rest for weary boys cross country runners Saturday morning at the Wauconda Invitational.

Setting a torrid pace from the outset of the 3.05-mile race at Lakewood Forest Preserve, Wheaton Warrenville South displayed an impressive pack in rolling to the championship of the 27-team meet by a comfortable 62-100 margin over Lane Tech.

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Led by individual champ Alex Baker (15:33) and runner-up Chris Alvarez (15:39), Crystal Lake Central captured third place with 127 points.

Oak Park-River Forest (140 points) was not too far behind the Tigers in fourth place followed by McHenry (147) in fifth, Stevenson (167) in sixth, and Warren (207) in seventh.

Stevenson was led by senior Alex Goldberg in sixth place and teammate Thomas Russell in 18th.

"There is a lot to learn, and I let that front pack get some separation on me after I led the first mile," Goldberg said. "But it's still early in the season so there are a lot of positives and negatives to take out of it."

The Patriots produced an all-state runner in the now-graduated Kevin Wood (19th) last year and Goldberg could have the potential to do the same in 2011.

"Alex has been training extremely hard, running 80-85 miles a week this summer, so he's in superb condition," said Stevenson assistant coach John Schauble. "We're just scratching the surface of the talent he has. He's matured dramatically over the summer."

Warren also has a standout No. 1-runner this fall, as junior Martin Martinez (15:47) led the Blue Devils' pack Saturday in fifth place. Tyler Herman added a 24th-place finish for Warren.

"It was a fast pace the whole way and I just got out-kicked in the end," said Martinez. "This is kind of a rebuilding year because we lost a lot of seniors last year who were kind of pivotal to the team. But the new guys are looking good."

Veteran Warren coach Bill Dawson is optimistic that his inexperienced squad can continue to turn the corner.

"We're improving, and if we can do that every meet we'll be good," said Dawson. "I thought Martinez ran really well. We've just got to get him a little more speed work so at the end he can kick with them."

Due to the ACT, Lakes did not have a full lineup Saturday. But junior Ryan Prais turned in another solid performance for the Eagles with an eighth-place finish.

"He is healthy and that's the big thing we've been battling the last two years," said Lakes coach Andy Schroeder, whose team only used three runners. "His pace is so nice and smooth, but we just have to get him a little more competitive and running with the front group."

Dustin Thrown led Cary-Grove's effort in 15th place while Angel Carrera was Round Lake's top runner in 20th place. Adam Fell led Mundelein's effort in 31st place followed by top Grayslake North runner Matt Kendzior in 39th. Stevenson's Brendan Wood rounded out the top 40 finishers.

"I thought they ran really well today and Dustin Throw worked his way through the race to finish 15th," said Cary-Grove coach Lane Holter. "Our No. 2 runner (Dan Sikora) really competed hard and he passed a lot of people in the last half of the race."

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