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updated: 8/25/2012 8:33 PM

Marmion climbs to the top

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  • Aurora Centra's Matt Meyers takes third in the Aurora boys cross county meet at Marmion Saturday August 25, 2012.

       Aurora Centra's Matt Meyers takes third in the Aurora boys cross county meet at Marmion Saturday August 25, 2012.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Marmion's John Graft, on his way to second place during the Aurora boys cross county meet at Marmion Saturday August 25, 2012.

       Marmion's John Graft, on his way to second place during the Aurora boys cross county meet at Marmion Saturday August 25, 2012.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • West Aurora's Omar Gomez works toward first place during the Aurora boys cross county city meet at Marmion Saturday. Gomez won his second straight title while Marmion's John Graft and Aurora Central's Matt Meyers (behind Gomez) finished second and third, respectively.

       West Aurora's Omar Gomez works toward first place during the Aurora boys cross county city meet at Marmion Saturday. Gomez won his second straight title while Marmion's John Graft and Aurora Central's Matt Meyers (behind Gomez) finished second and third, respectively.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • West Aurora's Omar Gomez, works toward first place during the Aurora boys cross county meet at Marmion Saturday August 25, 2012.

       West Aurora's Omar Gomez, works toward first place during the Aurora boys cross county meet at Marmion Saturday August 25, 2012.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Waubonsie Valley's Julian Morrison runs to fourth place in the Aurora boys cross county meet at Marmion Saturday August 25, 2012.

       Waubonsie Valley's Julian Morrison runs to fourth place in the Aurora boys cross county meet at Marmion Saturday August 25, 2012.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Runners take off at the start of the boys varsity race.

       Runners take off at the start of the boys varsity race.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

 
 

Marmion coach Dan Billish has seen West Aurora win the Aurora City Meet so many times in recent years he was just about ready to focus on second place.

"They have always have been extremely aggressive," Billish said of the Blackhawks. "Someone asked me last night how I thought it would go and I almost conceded."

Instead it was West Aurora who kept four of its top seven runners out Saturday resting various ailments, and several Cadets turned in strong runs to help Marmion run away with the title on its home course with 35 points.

West Aurora, led by race winner Omar Gomez, edged Waubonsie Valley for second, 68-69.

Junior John Graft paced five Marmion runners in the Top 10 by taking second in 16:26, five seconds behind Gomez.

After playing a heavy tennis schedule in previous summers and suffering injuries during the cross country season, Billish said Graft cut back on tennis which Billish believes could lead to an All-State season.

"John has been lights out this whole summer," Billish said. "Past years he's been injured a majority of the season so we haven't seen what he can do. We have been building mileage carefully. In practice he runs 4:30 miles. He's done everything the top guns can do.

"Omar is pretty fit. Johnny will be right there. He's a competitor and hard worker and hopefully we get a whole season out of him. He could be on the podium at state."

Liam O'Dea (sixth, 17:06), Kevin Grahovec (eighth, 17:26), Nick Delaney (ninth, 17:27) and Ethan Young (10th, 17:29) rounded out Marmion's top five, with Eric Lifka finishing 15th.

"Some of the kids I expected to be in that group were not," Billish said. "We're 9-10 deep. Once we get past John, Nick and Ethan up front, you don't know what you will get from the rest of this group. Somebody will always show up. Very happy with how they raced today."

Gomez also was happy with his race even though his time wasn't as good as when he won the city title as a junior. The hot weather had something to do with it as did Gomez getting winded in the final mile.

"I went out faster in the second mile and kind of drained myself plus the heat," Gomez said.

Gomez prepared for his senior season by adding between "50 to 100 more miles" than his previous summer. He came up a little short of his goal of 600 miles this summer as he tries to lead West Aurora to a third straight state trip.

Graham Isaacson followed Gomez finishing seventh for the Blackhawks.

"My team wants to make it downstate, seven seniors, we want to go out with a bang," Gomez said. "We want to go down for third year in a row. We want to work together as a pack. My personal goal I want to make all-state (60th at state last year)."

Aurora Central's Matt Meyers finished third overall for the fourth-place Chargers. Julian Morrison led Waubonsie Valley in fourth, and Jake Gehman was the first Aurora Christian runner to finish in 17th.

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