Wheaton North senior Joseph Emmanuel was ready to be happy with second place at Friday's DuPage Valley Conference boys cross country meet.
He wasn't prepared for the outright joy that flowed when he learned he had edged Wheaton Warrenville South's Nolan McKenna for first place by two-tenths of a second at Madison Meadows in Lombard.
"I'm lucky to have beaten him, because I honestly thought he had beaten me when I crossed that line," Emmanuel said after celebrating with teammates, coaches and family. "I'm really happy all the training I've done has meant something and I came victorious today."
"It's just been a great season for him, but he hasn't been able to put together a race since that first one where he was in the hunt with some elite guys and then able to finish it off," Falcons coach Nate Roe said. "He's the kind of kid his confidence has been growing year by year and it's his senior year, so he's trying to put it all together. I'm not surprised that he could at least put himself in the hunt for that."
Running side by side with McKenna down the stretch, Emmanuel won in 14:28.8.
"I couldn't hear anybody, I was so focused on that finish," Emmanuel said, adding, "I didn't think I was capable of that time."
WW South won the team title with McKenna, Luke Schroer, Kyle Cepeda and David Dillon taking second though fifth place, respectively. The Tigers scored 27 points to easily outdistance second-place Naperville North's 55 points. Naperville Central scored 92 points, and Wheaton North had 112.
The girls race had nowhere near the suspense as the boys race, as Naperville North junior Elly DeTurris outran teammate Katherine Shannon by five seconds, winning in 17:17.7. She ran without looking behind her to see how far back the pack was.
"I don't really remember," DeTurris said of when she pulled away. "I just tried to push the tape a little bit and tried to push the race and tried to get my team up there with me and they did. I was really proud of them."
The Huskies took the team title also, scoring 25 points. Naperville Central scored 47, and Wheaton Warrenville South was third with 72 points.
Katie Hoffman took third and Maggie McClowry fourth for Naperville Central.
Follow Orrin on Twitter @orrin_schwarz