PEORIA — Prospect senior Quentin Shaffer left no doubt that he belongs with the state’s elite boys cross country runners at the Class 3A state meet at Detweiller Park on Saturday.
The Knights senior surged from behind in the final mile to grab second place in an impressive 14:14 on a cloudy and cool afternoon.
“I came to prove something,” said Shaffer, who finished 48th in Class 3A last season. “A lot of people didn’t believe in me, because I’m kind of new … I wanted to show I could run with the top.”
St. Ignatius senior Jack Keelan failed to qualify for the state meet last season, but he made the most of his appearance this time. Keelan took control of the race midway through and never looked back in claiming the individual title in 14:05.
York won its 28th state title, cruising to the 3A title with 82 points followed by O’Fallon (117), and Lyons Township (125).
O’Fallon was led by the power duo of junior Patrick Perrier (14:15) and senior Alex Riba (14:15), who took third and fourth place individually. Lake Forest senior Billy Bund (14:17) was fifth.
Shaffer was sitting in third place at the 2-mile mark and fell a bit off the pace early in the final mile. But the Knights senior dug deep into the well with 400 meters remaining to make a late surge.
Shaffer swept to victories at the Mid-Suburban league conference meet, Hoffman Estates regional, and Schaumburg sectional, and continued his rise on the biggest of stages.
“Who is this guy?” said Prospect coach Mike Stokes echoing the feeling of many at the state race of the unheralded senior. “He never quit and he finished with confidence. He found himself in a position at the end and he never stopped believing.”
Shaffer ran a smart race and didn’t use too much energy early, timing his closing move perfectly.
“I was just trying to maintain my pace, because I knew I could kick at the end,” said Shaffer of his closing flourish. “I didn’t want to surge too early, but once I started cranking I felt good.”
Buffalo Grove sophomore Steven Salvano took a back seat last season as the Bison earned a fifth-place team finish in Class 3A. This year Salvano led the Bison attack, and the sophomore made quite a statement in doing so.
Salvano (14:37) hung tough the entire 3 miles on Saturday to finish ninth.
“I knew I had to get out right from the start,” said Salvano. “I just turned it on in the final mile. I want to have nothing left when I finish, and I did that today.”
Senior Ryan Burgoon (14:40) took 12th place in helping Barrington (293 points) nip Palatine (294) for eighth place. Sophomore Graham Brown (15:00) finished 41st in pushing the Pirates’ attack. Sophomore David Rodriguez (14:55) finished 35th in leading Hersey to a 19th-place finish.
Burgoon ran in the shadows of Erik Peterson the past two years for the Broncos. But he stepped up this season, capping it with his second consecutive all-state honor.
“It was nothing I expected, it was a really fast field today,” said Burgoon, who cemented his position as one of Barrington best-ever runners. “With the last 300 meters to go I made a surge. I’ve been trying to be really consistent and it’s a culmination of a lot of hard work.”
Junior Nick Brey (15:44) and senior Will Beiersdorf (15:45) took 87th and 89th place as St. Viator finished 21st.
Chicago Jones Prep won the Class 2A title with 85 points, becoming the first Chicago Public League school to win a cross country state title since Lane Tech won in 1963.
Three-time defending state champion Belvidere North (126 points) took second followed by Yorkville (129 points).
Glenbard South junior John Wold (14:16) outkicked Crystal Lake Central senior Alex Baker (14:21) in the final 400 meters to secure the individual Class 2A title.Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.