PEORIA -- St. Charles North coach Kevin Harrington realized he needed to catch lightening in a bottle for a second straight weekend.
"We ran an almost perfect race (at the boys Class 3A St. Charles East) sectional," Harrington said Saturday in the aftermath of the largest-school state cross country meet at Detweiller Park. "I'm not sure we ran the perfect race twice. We just didn't close the door."
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St. Charles North was unable to continue its momentum as Spencer Gray was the sole North athlete to break the top 50.
York (82 points) captured its state-record 28th team championship as the North Stars were well back in 20th place.
"As a team, we wanted to run the first mile together and break up from there," said Gray, who led area participants with his time of 15 minutes and 2 seconds. "I was really trying to get under that 15-(minute barrier). It was my best time of the year."
Unfortunately for the North Stars, Nathan Klair was 43 spots behind his senior teammate for their second-lowest time.
"We tried to see who we could pass at the end," Klair said. "I felt like it was a good race."
Nick Borger, Ryan McSweeney and Ryan Joyce -- with the latter two finishing in consecutive positions -- rounded out the North Stars' scoring.
The runners cross the finish line three times during the course of the 3-mile race, and the congestion after the opening lap made The Loop look almost desolate.
"It's always like that at the state meet," said Geneva senior Michael Bianchina, who closed out his career with a third straight appearance. "The state meet is always hard, because it's cross country."
One of three area at-large contenders in the field, Bianchina was 90th in the 210-man field.
Trevor Hollis' 15:09 clocking placed the Batavia senior in the top 62; West Aurora senior Omar Gomez was eight seconds behind Hollis to place 80th.
In the Class 2A competition, Chicago Jones ended the two-year Belvidere North reign behind three runners in the top 15.
Conor Johnson and Kyle Carter enabled Kaneland to improve dramatically upon its fifth-place sectional result.
After narrowly gaining entrance into the 25-team field, the two Knights were in the top 40 among qualifying team members.
Kaneland easily outdistanced Fenton, 351-376, for 13th place overall.
St. Charles resident Andrew Hallet was the top performer for St. Francis for the third consecutive state series event.
"I felt better last year (during the course of the race) surprisingly, but I placed better this year," Hallet said after leading the Spartans' 23rd-place effort.
Aurora Central Catholic was one spot behind its Suburban Christian Conference league rivals.
As he did a week ago at the Wheaton Academy sectional, senior Matt Meyers was the Chargers' mainstay with his 15:30 showing.
In the two Class 1A meets, Aurora Christian had Rebecca Wert and Jake Gehman represent the Eagles' girls and boys teams.