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updated: 9/19/2012 9:01 PM

Palatine breaks new ground with 65th straight MSL win

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By Michael Eaken
Daily Herald Correspondent

Palatine's boys cross country team is all about tradition, and the Pirates added a key piece to that legacy on Wednesday at Busse Woods.

Palatine defeated Conant 25-36 in its Mid-Suburban League West meet, winning for a conference-record 65th consecutive time in a league dual.

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The previous record was held by Fremd, which won 64 straight against MSL foes from 1974-1977.

The Pirates' streak started in 2001 at Conant, and has spanned 10 straight senior classes that finished without a defeat.

"It was a huge goal for us this season," said Palatine coach Chris Quick of the Pirates new record. "Tradition doesn't graduate. A lot of these guys trained really hard last year, and nobody knew who they were, but they were good enough to run varsity for most teams."

Senior Joe Sulentric (16:19) and sophomore Zach Dale (16:22) went finished 1-2 for Conant, but then it was all Palatine, as the Pirates swept third through 10th place.

Junior Emil Kozakiewicz (16:34), senior Brian Smith (16:34), junior Argeni Bailon (16:35), senior Zach Stella (16:36), and senior Tyler Squeo (16:36) flooded across the finish line taking third through seventh place to secure the Pirates place in history.

Palatine's top runner Christian Zambrano (16:38) added eighth place for the Pirates attack, and was pleased to be part of the historic moment.

"Obviously Palatine has a strong tradition," Zambrano said. "Every single senior class got it done. We've been thinking about this all year, and we had a couple scares, but we're really proud of our accomplishments."

When Fremd set the streak in the 70's many team were running 10 to 15 dual meets per season, which makes Palatine's streak even more impressive due to its longevity.

The Pirates also faced off against some of the top teams in state including Prospect, Barrington, Hersey, and Schaumburg.

"That's what makes it so meaningful," said Quick of the competition. "We raced against some of the best in state, we had to work hard."

According to the IHSA website Palatine, currently holds the seventh-longest dual meet winning streak in Illinois history. Rockford Guilford holds the record for most consecutive dual meet victories, with 104 that spanned from 1981-1994.

Palatine also defeated Larkin 15-50, and Conant defeated Larkin 15-50.

Conant entered the meet with a 3-0 record, and Sulentric and Dale showed the Cougars have some talent of their own.

Sulentric set the pace on a windy day and was followed by Dale, an emerging MSL star.

"Dale and I have really been pushing each other at practice," said Sulentric of the young Cougars attack that graduated three seniors from last year squad that finished sixth in the MSL. "We lost a lot of depth, but we're developing and gaining some experience. I think we can surprise some people."

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