McKenna, WW South win again
For the second straight week, Nolan McKenna crossed the finish line in first place for Wheaton Warrenville South.
On Saturday at the West Aurora Stampede held at Marmion, McKenna was more excited about the two runners who finished right behind him.
McKenna followed up his title last Saturday at the St. Charles North Invitational by running a 15:25 Saturday. Teammates Luke Schroer and Kyle Cepeda made it a 1-2-3 finish for the Tigers by running a 15:33 and 15:46, respectively.
WW South dominated the 13-team invite with 27 points, well ahead of Oswego East (102), St. Charles North (109) and Marmion (118).
"Me and the team are gearing toward the state series," McKenna said. "The early meets we didn't put a whole lot of emphasis on. We're really doing it all as a team. We raced really well today and we're looking forward to the rest of the season. Now that it's later in the season we're adjusting our training and I think a lot of the guys are finding their legs more. We're doing a great daily effort and working hard to be a Tiger."
McKenna, an Iowa State commit, led throughout the race as he improved on his fourth-place finish in this race a year ago.
Seniors David Dillon (seventh, 16:06) and David Santana (14th, 16:32) rounded out the Tigers' top five.
"It's a great, great team experience," McKenna said. "I definitely wouldn't be where I am today without every guy on the team, not just the top seven. It's the first guy to the last guy we all contribute."
Glenbard East senior Jack Peters finished fourth, the first non-Tiger into the chute.
"They are a good team," Peters said of the Tigers. "I've been running with them four years so we know each other well. Coming up into the postseason it's good to start running against better kids."
Saturday was the second time Peters has run at Marmion this year. He won the Royal-Cadet Invite in September with a slower time -- 16:07 -- than he took fourth with Saturday, 15:53.
Peters got out a little quicker than he usually does, running a 4:40 first mile.
"I was trying to hang onto the Wheaton Warrenville South kids as long as I could," said Peters, who also took 24th last month in Peoria. "This is one of my better races. It's good to know I'm starting to peak when it actually matters."
St. Charles North coach Kevin Harrington often rests his runners for the Stampede. This year he brought most as he continues to look for them to run together in a tighter pack.
Kevin Davis (11th, 16:14), Nathan Klair (19th, 16:40), Hayden Joyce (20th, 16:42), Max Markowicz (24th, 16:48) and Peter Francissen (36th, 17:07) made up the top five Saturday.
Marmion finished 9 points behind the North Stars despite sitting lead runner John Graft and three others normally in the top seven. The Cadets again held the Stampede this year because of construction at Waubonsee Community College.
Marmion also will be back on its home course next week for the conference meet.
"We're happy to do that," Cadets coach Dan Klatt said. "It's always nice to run on your home course especially when we are going to come back for conference. Now we have a time today, we have something we can shoot for."
Senior Ethan Young led Marmion in 12th (16:24) followed by freshman Charlie Zimmer (18th), sophomore Andrew Burroughs (27th), freshman Andrew Lifka (31st) and junior Paul Bancroft (32nd).
"The way we look at things can you really run hard five weeks in a row?" Klatt said. "If we have them mentally ready today, can they really run hard conference, regional, sectional? That's the mindset there. You have to be smart when you put those guys out there. Asking them to do it five times in a row isn't in their best interest. I think we're peaking at the right time."
Sophomore Connor McCue led seventh-place West Aurora in ninth place with a time of 16:11. Junior Patrick Redmond ran a 16:45 to take 22nd and senior Nick Lowe a 17:01 (33rd) for eighth-place Batavia.
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