Naperville North girls win regional

Neuqua Valley's Aidan Livingston not only had the joy of winning the individual title at Saturday's Class 3A West Chicago regional, but he saw nothing but teammates behind him.

The Wildcats swept the top five spots in the boys race to easily win the team championship and move on to Saturday's West Aurora sectional at the Stuart Sports Complex.

Neuqua scored 15 points followed by Plainfield North (94), Naperville Central (112), Oswego (120), Oswego East (131) and Waubonsie Valley (146) with the top six teams in regional competition moving on to sectionals.

"More important than winning was turning around and seeing all my teammates, which makes this so special," he said.

Livingston finished the 3-mile Kress Creek Farms course in 15 minutes, 30 seconds. Right behind him was Dominic Dina, Patrick Wolak Matt Milostan and Danny Winek.

"It makes it special because you are not running for yourself but for your team," Wolak said.

Just six seconds separated the top five Neuqua runners.

"It's a big confidence builder running with people that believe in you," Milostan said.

Rounding out the Neuqua lineup was Jackson Jett and Josh Mollway.

"I'm happy with the way we ran. We executed well," said Wildcats coach Paul Vandersteen.

He said the other regionals that feed into the West Aurora sectional will increase the intensity Saturday.

"You've got Marmion, St. Charles East, Geneva. They are all running well and great programs. We will have to compete well against them," he said.

The top finisher for Naperville Central was John Manos in 11th. Tyler Hampton, Tommy Chavez, Declan Jensen, Josh Toby, Adam Balutowski and Thomas Shilgalis also pushed the Redhawks towards sectionals.

Waubonsie's Justin Colvin was 21st, and teammates Riley Blackmore, Christian Freitag, Austin Rader, Riley Miller, Wes York and Trevor Bon will join him at West Aurora.

Naperville North's Emerson King was the top individual qualifier with a seventh-place finish. Teammate Mark Quinn also qualified. Metea Valley's Ralph Papa and Michael Varzino also head to sectionals as does West Chicago's Dan McComb.

While the boys race was held in almost sunny weather, the girls race, the first event of the morning, started in heavy rain and strong wind. But the rain stopped and the second half of the race was pretty much weather free.

The conditions didn't stop Naperville North from winning the team title. Individual winner Sarah Schmitt won the 3-mile race in 17:39.8 for a new course record. She said she and her teammates don't give much thought to adverse conditions.

"We didn't change our strategy. Actually it makes it a lot more fun," she said.

It was the sophomore's first varsity victory.

Four other Naperville North runners finished in the top 10. Emory Griffin was second followed by Kate Shannon, Kayla Glowacki and Claire Hill. Jenny Gibson and Natalie Dunnett also contributed.

"It's great to know that there is somebody pushing you every step of the way. They are giving their best and you want to give your best," Schmitt said.

Coach Dan Iverson said in addition to having to face their tough regional opponents again at West Aurora, Batavia and Geneva get thrown into the mix.

"They are really tough. We ran really well today. When you get five of the top 10 runners, you are doing well. Sometimes it's not about times. You just run as fast as you can and beat as many people as you can," Iverson said.

Naperville North finished with 32 points, with Neuqua (73), Plainfield North (80), Oswego (100), Metea Valley (106) and Naperville Central (115) also getting to run another week.

Caitlin Horn was third for Neuqua Valley. Also contributing were Corinna Pena, Sofia Medina, Caroline Johnson, Keara Ginell, Julie Pena and Lauren Giurini.

The top finisher for Metea Valley was Leana Goldman in ninth. Nicki Cast, Terri Scarlett, Keeley Weber, Talia Saleh, Kyla Ohst and Brittney Sidwell also pushed the Mustangs to sectionals.

Naperville Central was led by Alana Austin in 16th. Carolyn Carpenter, Maggie McClowry, Ellen Spencer, Erin McHugh, Meghan Donovan and Madeline Engels will represent the Redhawks at sectionals.

Waubonsie Valley's Cassandra Tsagaris and West Chicago's Maddie Brotnow qualified as individuals.

  Naperville North's Sarah Schmidtt on her way to winning the Class 3A West Chicago boys and girls cross country regional race Saturday in West Chicago. Paul Michna/
  Emory Griffin, left, and Kayla Glowacki of Naperville North celebrate a strong finish at the Class 3A West Chicago boys and girls cross country regional in West Chicago Saturday. Paul Michna/
  Caitlin Horne of Neuqua Valley finishes the Class 3A West Chicago boys and girls cross country regional race Saturday in West Chicago. Paul Michna/
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