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updated: 9/22/2012 6:44 PM

Jacobs' Van Vlierbergen takes Bartlett title

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Jacobs' Lauren Van Vlierbergen has only been running cross country for a year. So with the cool and windy conditions Saturday at the Barlett Invitational, she sought out head coach Kevin Christian for advice.

"He said to stay with the pack and let them block the wind for me," Van Vlierbergen said. "And I did that until the last half-mile. I broke free then and sprinted in."

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With plenty of energy left, Van Vlierbergen broke from the pack and raced down the stretch at Sunrise Park to finish first with a time of 18:07.2.

"Lauren sat behind like she was supposed to," Christian said. "She is a sophomore and still trying to get some experience. She did a great job of being patient."

Waubonsie Valley's Ashley Brunner was second with a time of 18:20.0 while Van Vlierbergen's teammate Sam Baran was third with a time of 18:28.1.

"This was not what I was expecting," Baran said. "Coach told me 10th place and I was hoping to do that. Something in me said, 'You're feeling good Sam'. So I went out there and did it."

Batavia's Lexi Slome was 4th in a time of 18:28.7. Schaumburg's Caroline Kurdej led early, but faded a bit down the stretch to finish 5th in a time of 18:30.5

"The past couple of weeks I have not been able to finish," Kurdej said. "It is the most important part. Mentally I should be thinking the finish line is at the lake and I should be jumping into it."

Despite her personal disappointment, Kurdej was pleased to lead her team to the title with a score of 56.

"I was great to win as a team," Kurdej said. "We have been running very well together."

The Saxons got string finishes from Erin Falsey, who was 8th (18:42.1), Ali Gutt, who was 9th (18:43.8), Sam Nordli, who was 14th (19:17.6) and Debra Sodimu who finished 20th (19:25.3)

"We have a good history of winning it at this meet," Schaumburg coach Jason Beer said. "The girls stepped up big again today."

Jacobs was second with 63 points. St. Charles North was third with 65, followed by Batavia's 104, Waubonsie Valley's 132 and Conant's 155.

"We were missing our fifth runner," said Christian, who had Alex Lorenz at 10th and Kayla Giuliano at 15th. "Our other girls finished well, but we just fell a bit short."

St. Charles North had 6 runners in the top 25. But the North Stars, who got good performances from Ashley England (6th), Nina Olshever (7th), Kayle Wessel (13th), Shelby Artman (17th), Megan Young (22nd) and Elle Murata (25th) came up a bit short in points.

Conant's Abby Tripp (11th) and Zoe Shoro (16) helped the Cougars to a 6th-place finish. Batavia's Alicia Grant (18th) and Gracie Ball (19th) were strong for the Bulldogs while Huntley's Kate Mitchell was 21st.

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