A couple runners who have been battling various injuries returned to top form Saturday at the West Aurora Stampede hosted by Marmion.
St. Charles East sophomore Torree Scull ran an 18:32 to finish second to Yorkville freshman Skyler Bollinger's 18:11. Yorkville also won the team title with 40 points.
Scull missed last week while she rested a knee injury.
"I had an IT band flare-up," Scull explained. "It was a minor injury, I just wanted to make sure it didn't turn into anything big. The IT band runs all the way down the leg, mine was bothering me in my knee."
Scull, who placed 16th at Peoria two weeks ago, stayed with Bollinger for the first mile.
"She started to break away," Scull said. "I sped up too, but I don't know. The whole race I wasn't quite sure of the course. I had to yell out, 'Is this the last loop?' because I wasn't sure. She (Bollinger) ran really good, she's a good runner."
This was Scull's first chance to run the Marmion course. Until last year the Stampede had always been held at Waubonsee Community College.
"It was a really good course, I liked it," Scull said. "It went by fast."
Hoping she's 100 percent to stay, Scull will turn her focus to the Upstate Eight Conference River meet next Saturday at LeRoy Oakes. She will be out to defend her title she won as a freshman.
"I'm really excited for conference, that's why I wanted to run this to see where I'm at," Scull said.
Most of the varsity teammates Scull usually runs with didn't compete Saturday for the Saints who finished in ninth. Senior Kaitlin Guerin took 42nd.
Like Scull, Fremd's Kelly Breen knows what it's like to run at less than 100 percent. Breen finished one spot behind Scull in third with a time of 18:37.
"I'm really happy with how I did today because I've been having some iron issues this season," Breen said. "I feel like I'm starting to get my feet back under me so I'm really excited."
Breen said her iron problems "makes you kind of tired when I'm running." But Saturday she felt "more like I did last season."
Second at this race a year ago, Breen was encouraged both by her individual performance Saturday and also Fremd's runner-up finish. Ayako Higuchi (ninth, 19:08), Megan Moroney (11th, 19:17), Olivia Youman (18th, 19:38) and Katherine Filosa (28th, 20:08) followed Breen.
"I'm happy I was able to find out what the problem was so I can get better and be at my best at the end when it really counts and help my team out as much as I can," said Breen, who placed second at the Warren Invitational earlier this fall. "We all started falling apart (as a pack) but it seems everyone ran a great race so it's really exciting."
Two other area runners finished in the top 10: Batavia freshman Dakota Roman (sixth, 18:52) and West Aurora's Claire Loran (10th, 19:10).
"I was hoping to finish better," Roman said. "My sore throat was bothering me today. At the end I started feeling bad."
It's been a strong freshman season for Roman who has emerged as Batavia's No. 1 runner.
"I think it's (high school cross country) kind of easier because there's less pressure on you since you are the freshman," said Roman who started the sport in sixth grade and is unsure if she'll go out for track or softball in the spring. "It's been fun."
Neuqua Valley finished fourth led by Claire Costelloe in 16th place. Addie Kelly was 23rd to lead Streamwood in seventh while West Aurora took 11th, Rosary 12th, Bartlett 13th and Geneva 16th. The Vikings are running their top runners Sunday at the Chicago Challenge in conjunction with the Chicago Marathon.
Boys race: Several of the teams in the 19-team field including Marmion, Batavia, Geneva and St. Charles North didn't run their top lineups Saturday, but Yorkville sure did.
The Foxes ran away with the West Aurora Stampede title -- their 29 points were 66 better than runner-up Fremd -- putting the first three runners into the chute on their way to a lopsided victory.
West Aurora was pleased with its third-place finish, just four points behind Fremd.
"I'm super excited about how the team did," West Aurora coach Matt Sinnott said. "We looked fantastic. We're still down one guy. Deonta (Motley) should be back there very soon, put him in the mix and it looks even better. Nice to see some competition with Wheaton Warrenville South (fourth, 116). It was a good day."
Omar Gomez continued his role as the West Aurora front-runner; his fourth-place finish of 15:56 broke up the Yorkville parade to the finish line.
From making West Aurora's regional team as the seventh runner as a freshman to running on the state team the past two seasons, Gomez has been on a steady climb the last four years for Sinnott.
"He's really worked his way up," Sinnott said. "He's been a solid kid, a lot of talent."
Sinnott was just as encouraged by the Blackhawks' two through five runners.
"Robert Herrera (13th) has been a solid No. 2 for us all year and he's getting closer and closer to Omar which is fantastic," Sinnott said. "Graham Isaacson (15th) had a great day. He's been anywhere from No. 2 to No. 8 but today it really clicked for him."
Alan Martinez (28th) and Connor McCue (40th) rounded out the top five.
Glenbard East (fifth, 130 points) got a strong race from Jay Peters in sixth, one spot and two seconds behind Wheaton Warrenville South's Nolan McKenna. Peters took second on the same course earlier this year at the Royal-Cadet invite.
"I came in here looking at the weather and didn't think it would be that great but I guess it turned out to be a good race," Peters said. "There's a lot of good kids here so I knew it was going to be a fast one. I felt pretty good going through the mile."
Peters has also finished 24th at Peoria and second at the Argo Invitational so far this year.
"I remember last meet here the leaders made a move at the two mile so I thought I'd try that but it didn't really work but I guess I still hung with them," Peters said. "It was a pretty good day."
Fremd placed two runners in the top 10: Harry Winter in seventh (16:07) and Nick Vucovich in eighth (16:10).