It was a good start to the 2012 boys cross country season for many area teams Wednesday afternoon at the 16-team Lake County meet.
Barrington was able to hold off Highland Park's trio with its own great trio as the Broncos won the championship 62-68 on the new 3-mile Lakewood Forest Preserve course.
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The Art Campbell Invitational saw Vernon Hills put together a solid third-place effort to edge Stevenson 113-115. Grayslake Central (121 points) easily locked up fifth place under pretty warm running conditions.
Stevenson senior Brendan Wood was the individual champ with a winning time of 15:59. Wood outdistanced two Highland Park runners by about five seconds.
The new course location is just west of the old course and it basically consists of two 1.5-mile loops.
"It's a different course, but I ran about a minute faster than last year at this meet," said Wood, who is aiming for a trip downstate this season. "I thought it was a good race, and it was definitely much better for me than last year."
Barrington's push for the title was led by Kerry Frank (seventh), Mike Rappleye (eighth), and Konrad Eiring (ninth). Barrington's Ryan Perkins (16th) was followed by teammates Pitcher Seagrist (22nd), Kyle Monahan (23rd), and Andrew McAuliff (24th).
"Our fourth and fifth runners were much closer to our top three than theirs (Highland Park) and it was the back of the pack that won it for us today," said Barrington coach Ty Gorman. "We're a little banged up right now and our No. 1 runner (Ryan Burgoom, 23rd in Class 3A) did not run today."
Vernon Hills was led by junior teammates Kyle Whitney (sixth), who is the son of new head coach Mark Whitney, and Ben Mohrdieck (13th). Nicholas Webber (26th), Tyler Smith (30th), and Morgan Lichtenstein (40th) rounded out the Cougars' top five scorers.
"We're very pleased and it's a great way to start the season," said Whitney. "They're still a young team and everybody ran a strong race to contribute to a great team result."
After Wood, Stevenson is still trying to develop the rest of its pack.
"He (Wood) hung in there for the first two miles and he separated himself from the pack after two miles," said Stevenson coach Scott Sommers. "Our second pack is a little back, but it's really nice to have the front-runner (Wood) this year."
Grayslake Central's tandem of Kevin Orozco (10th), and Kevin Boyle (11th) led the Rams' troops while teammate Tommy Zygmunt was solid in 21st.
"They (Orozco and Boyle) looked real strong and they're still getting used to being the 1-2 punch on the team," said Grayslake Central coach Jim Centella. "We're still trying to get our pack closer to our front two, but you've got eight weeks to get better and close those gaps."
Lakes' Ryan Prais reached state as a freshman and a sophomore, and he started off his senior season strong Wednesday in fourth place.
"He (Prais) is just trying to get back in the swing of things," said Lakes coach Andy Schroeder. "We're young and we had to replace three of our top five so that is our challenge right now."
Grayslake North's Ryan Bruder (14th) earned all-county (top 15) honors along with Mundelein's Liam Mellon in 15th. Round Lake was led by Angel Carrera in 19th while Stevenson's Grayson Stout finished 25th.
Peter Audrain led Grant in 27th followed by Stevenson teammates Sam Oh (28th), and Daniel Gardiner (29th).