Things are looking up for the Mundelein girls cross country team as the Mustangs embark on what they expect to be a very successful season.
Mundelein took another positive step in the right direction Saturday morning at the Wauconda Invitational, as it took third place with 126 points in the big 24-team field.
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Behind a strong trio of runners, Crystal Lake Central (86 points) took first place on the new 3-mile Lakewood Forest Preserve course, while Kaneland grabbed runner-up honors with 111 points. CLC's Sami Staples was the individual champion with a winning time of 18:08.12.
Warren was also very solid Saturday with a fifth-place score of 151 points, while North Suburban Conference counterpart Lake Zurich placed eighth with 202 points.
The duo of Stephanie Johnson (18th) and Claire Naughton (19th) led Mundelein's surge followed by teammates Kelsey Loar in 24th and Emily Schlebecker in 28th.
"It was another solid team effort and I was happy with the first four," said Mundelein coach John Osmanski, whose team had a strong showing on the same course 10 days ago at the Lake County meet. "They (Johnson and Naughton) both had good, solid races. But in the future they're going to have to finish a little higher if we're going to do something this season."
Senior Meg Tully led Warren's charge in 10th place with some solid support from teammate Becky Haight in 23rd.
"We were seventh here last year so we moved up a couple of places and put ourselves in contention," said second-year Warren coach Brett Heimstead. "Meg ran over a minute faster than she did last Wednesday on the same course and she's becoming a senior leader which is good to see."
Lake Zurich had a good trio of runners in the meet with Meaghan Gelinas in 11th, Katie Fabbrini in 25th and Nicole Syverson in 31st.
"We were missing one of our kids today, but they raced well," said Lake Zurich coach Ian Silverman, whose team is the defending NSC champs. "They looked strong and aggressive, and it was a good race for Meaghan Gelinas. She was happy with the race."
Cary-Grove was led by Talia Duzey in sixth place, while Grant junior Lindsey Lewis put together a strong seventh-place finish for the Bulldogs. Huntley's No. 1 runner was Kate Mitchell in 15th place followed by Cary-Grove teammates Sarah Englund (26th) and Gretchen Price (33rd).
Warren's Greta Doden added a 39th-place run for the Blue Devils, while teammate Courtenay Krause placed 43rd. Mundelein's Marisa Perreault (44th) edged Warren's Emily Jahn (45th) heading into the chute. Lexie Brunn was Wauconda's top runner in 48th place.