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updated: 9/12/2017 9:26 PM

Boys cross country: Gritty efforts lifts Palatine

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By Michael Eaken
Daily Herald Correspondent

Palatine's boys cross country team showed a bit of grit in Tuesday's Mid-Suburban League dual meet.

And the Pirates needed it, as host Fremd gave Palatine all it could on the challenging Harper College course.

But the Pirates leaned on their depth to pull out a 27-30 MSL West victory.

The teams were tied with 18 points apiece after four runners, but the Pirates placed seven runners in front of the Vikings' fifth runner to secure the victory.

"I liked our grit today," said Palatine coach Chris Quick of his team's narrow victory. "Our back end ran really well today and we found a way to win. But give credit to Fremd for giving us a real good race."

Fremd senior Ed Worthem has been running hot all season, and it was no different on Tuesday as the Vikings senior pulled away in the final mile to secure the individual title in 15:47.

But Palatine senior Evan Eckels (15:56) and sophomore Richard Jacobo (15:57) kept the pressure on by securing second and third.

Fremd took the next two spots with senior Matt Wallace (16:07) and junior Charlie O'Brien (16:20) taking third and fourth.

Palatine seniors Art Oshinson (16:25) and senior Henry Lechowicz (16:36) answered by securing sixth and seventh place, but Fremd junior Wesley Jones (16:44) kept things even by taking eighth.

And then came a line of Pirates led by junior Joe Ahlgrim (16:51), who secured the victory with his ninth-place finish.

"The fifth runner is where they got us," said Fremd coach Darius Sanchez whose team ran one of its best races of the season. "They put a big old pack in front of our fifth runner. But they competed and that is what you want to see on your home course."

Jacobo did a nice job of shadowing Worthem for the first 2 miles, and Eckels ran an inspired final mile for the Pirates.

"We knew they'd be a tough challenge," said Eckels. "I think we were ready and did a nice job of responding."

"We've been training really hard and I thought it paid off today," said Jacobo.

Worthem seems to be running at different level this season and was coming off an impressive run at First to the Finish Invite in Peoria on Saturday.

"It was good to run against Palatine-they are always going to give their best and bring out the best in us," said Worthem, who finished 31st in Peoria on Saturday. "My mindset is in a different place this year, and I'm more focused."

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