Hersey boys cross country coach Kevin Young was looking for a good measuring stick for his Huskies, and the Peoria Notre Dame Richard Spring Invitational provided a perfect platform.
Hersey certainly did not disappoint on a hot day at Detweiller Park in Peoria, as the Huskies ran to a nice third-place finish with 125 points.
Defending Class 3A state champion Neuqua Valley took first with 112 points, followed by Wheaton Warrenville South (119 points).
Sophomore Josh Methner (15:01) powered the Huskies by taking ninth place. He was followed by senior Ryan Theisen (15:08) and senior Nate Mayo (15:23) in 16th and 27th place.
"It was a good day, it was the first time we really got after it," said Hersey coach Kevin Young of his team, currently ranked No. 5 in the Illinois Cross Country Coaches Poll. "We are starting to believe we are an elite team and before we believe we are an elite team we had to race like an elite team. That's kind of where we are at right now."
Junior Ryan Buch (15:29) and sophomore Max Svienty (15:42) added to the effort in 34th and 49th place.
Sandburg senior Dylan Jacobs ran to the individual title, crossing the line in 14:23. He was followed by Arthur's Logan Hall (14:37) and Neuqua Valley junior Zachery Kinne (14:39).
Barrington senior Nick Laning (14:46) also had a good day, running to a fourth-place finish with his best mark on the state course.
Laning used a fast start to gain position and then focused on pushing the middle mile, leading to a sweet finish.
"I'm super happy," said Laning of his big performance. "I had to stay focused in the back loop, and then I went all out in the third mile. It was just a great race overall for our entire team."
Palatine sophomore Richard Jacobo (15:17) took 24th and was followed by senior Evan Eckels (15:31), who captured 38th place in helping the Pirates to an eighth-place finish.
Laning paced Barrington's 14th-place finish. He was aided by senior Aiden King (15:48) in 60th place.