PEORIA — It was if the eight DuPage County teams turned the Class 3A girls cross county meet into an extended block party.
Glenbard West junior Madeline Perez made history, only to have Naperville North steal the show with its depth and balance.
Perez not only shattered her personal-best time on a 3-mile course by nearly 26 seconds but also set a state record with her brilliant championship effort of 16 minutes, 2 seconds.
The Hilltoppers’ standout eclipsed the year-old record of Naperville Central’s Amanda Fox, now at the University of Illinois, by 22 seconds, and Glenbard West received a second anchor score from fifth-place Lisa Luczak.
Yet Naperville North completed its undefeated run against in-state competition, capturing its fifth state championship in program history — the fourth under coach Dan Iverson — behind the pack of Elly DeTurris, Maria McDaniel, Judy Pendergast, Kimber Meyer and Kate Shannon.
DeTurris’ 11th-place result, 14th overall, led five Huskies in the top 34.
“When you start with 14th place and 36 seconds apart (for your five runners), that’s how you win state championships,” Iverson said. “We ran like we have been running all year.”
“We just go out there and push each other,” DeTurris said. “It is something we have working for since the first day of practice.”
Naperville North finished with 113 points to edge Lake Park (133) and Glenbard West (138).
Perez authored a mesmerizing performance, breaking free from such stalwarts as York senior Emma Fisher, New Trier senior Courtney Ackerman and reigning state 3,200-meter track champion Kaylee Flanagan of Lake Park to sabotage Fox’s mark.
“To have my name next to (Fox and former Woodstock immortal Kayla Beattie) is a real honor,” said Perez, the first female cross country champion in Glenbard West history. “All the girls in the state have pushed me to be a better runner. Everything fell into place. Physically, my body is in prime shape. I let my legs lead the way today.”
The Hilltoppers’ third-place trophy was the second for the program.
Lake Park actually had the early team lead before Naperville North flexed its versatility.
Flanagan, who set a course record at Detweiller Park in a regular-season meet, finished fourth behind Perez, Fisher and Ackerman.
“She isn’t happy with where she finished,” Lake Park coach Lauren May said of Flanagan. “But she did what we needed her to do for the team. We have been battling Glenbard West all year.”
The Lancers’ state runner-up achievement was unprecedented in school history.
The Class 2A meet was equally thrilling as Yorkville retained its team state title.
Montini was third for a second straight year after denying Glenbard South on a sixth-runner tiebreaker.
Freshman Diana Lipa and Theresa Connelly were the respective leaders for Glenbard South and Montini with their all-state performances.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.