Lake Zurich saves its best for last
PEORIA — Lake Zurich started the season slowly, but the Bears sure finished the season with a bang.
Senior Alex Milner (14:42) and junior Trevor Kuehr (14:46) set the tone by making all-state with 16th- and 20th-place finishes in leading Lake Zurich to fourth place in the team race with 203 points in the Class 3A boys cross country state meet at Detweiller Park.
York won its 28th state title with 82 points. The Dukes were followed by O'Fallon (117 points) and Lyons Township (125 points).
St. Ignatius senior Jack Keelen won the individual title in 14:05, with Prospect senior Quentin Shaffer (14:14) taking second. They were followed by O'Fallon junior Patrick Perrier (14:15) and senior Alex Riba (14:15).
Lake Zurich started the season with a dud, finishing 11th at the mid-September Peoria Notre Dame Invite and then 10th at the Palatine Invite.
But the Bears turned it on at the end, sweeping to consecutive victories at the North Suburban Conference meet, Grant regional and Schaumburg sectional.
"It's been a great couple of weeks," said Lake Zurich coach JB Hanson of his team's finishing kick. "I think we ended with the best race of the year."
Kuehr struggled with a sore calf early in the season, but by the end of the season the junior was teaming with Milner to make a potent 1-2 punch for the Bears.
Milner set the tone early for the Bears, and Kuehr followed closely as both runners hung tight at the top.
"Early in the season we had no connection," said Milner of the Bears' pack. "We decided to become one fist. It took awhile, but the pack was really good today."
"We knew when we ran our best we could accomplish something," said Kuehr. "This is how we felt we could run."
Senior Jared Ripoli (15:05) finished 48th to support the Bears effort, with senior Joe Ramirez and senior Bobby Klett aiding LZ finish.
"We were proud to be in the mix," said Hanson. "The boys worked really hard this season."
Warren senior Martin Martinez (14:41) picked up his second consecutive state medal with a 13th-place finish for the Blue Devils.
"This year was a quick race," said Martinez, who saw a 17-second improvement in his time. "I kind of knew where I needed to be, so I got with the group I needed to be and stayed with them."
Freshman Keagan Smith (15:10) made an impressive debut at Detweiller finishing in 63rd place.
Libertyville senior Nick Korhumel (15:27) capped his career by competing in his first state race on Saturday.
Crystal Lake Central senior Alex Baker battled Glenbard South junior John Wold the final mile before Wold pulled away in the final 400 meters to secure the Class 2A title in 14:16.
Baker (14:21) took second, helping lead Crystal Lake Central (182 points) to a fourth-place finish.
"He started to pull away and it kind of demoralized me," said Baker of Wold's final move. "I came into this race with a lot of confidence, and I wanted to get off to a good start."
Chicago Jones Prep (85 points) became the first Chicago Public League school to win a team title since Lane Tech won the title in 1963.
Three-time defending state champion Belvidere North (126 points) took second followed by Yorkville (129 points).
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