Girls cross country: Prospect's Wilson runs to sectional victory

Prospect's Brooke Wilson has really turned it on in the last month, and the Knights junior continued to impress on Saturday at the Class 3A Schaumburg girls cross country sectional.

Lake Zurich senior Caitlin Shepard set the early pace, but Wilson found an extra gear just before the final mile and didn't look back in taking the title in 17:49.23 on a soggy day at Busse Woods.

Shepard took second in 17:56.73, followed by Barrington sophomore Jocelyn Long (18:04.11), Schaumburg sophomore Maddie Marasco (18:06.55) and Lake Forest sophomore Brett Chody (18:12.15).

Lake Forest placed four runners in the top 21 in taking the team title with 79 points. Grant (100 points) nipped Barrington (101 points) for second place with Stevenson (113 points) edging Palatine (115 points) for fourth place.

All five teams advance to next Saturday's Class 3A state meet at Detweiller Park in Peoria. The Class 3A race will begin at 1 p.m.

Mid-Suburban League champion Prospect finished sixth with 143 points, with Schaumburg (171 points) taking seventh place.

Wilson started her month by taking first at the Peoria Central Invitational. She then came on strong in the final stretch to win the MSL title, and she also took first at the Hoffman Estates regional.

"It feels really good," said Wilson of her impressive month. "My team has been there to support me and that has definitely helped me reach higher."

Wilson continued to run with confidence on Saturday, pushing for the lead midway through the race. She used a final burst to secure the victory.

"Shepard was with me the entire final mile, with 400 meters to go I wanted to put some separation between us," Wilson said. "I wanted to make it hurt in that final mile."

North Suburban Conference champion Lake Forest also ran with confidence on Saturday, with freshman Lauren Garriques (18:13.93) finishing in sixth place and combining with Chody to help set the tone for the Scouts.

Lake Forest senior Katie Condon (18:41.36) and sophomore Emma Milburn (18:48.83) also aided the Scouts finish by taking 17th and 21st place.

Senior Madison Romig (18:14.06) and freshman Danielle Osmon (18:14.42) took seventh and eighth place in pushing Grant to a second-place finish and its first-ever state appearance.

Freshman Eva Cardy (18:50.57) and junior Rachel Temple (18:58.08) elevated the Bulldogs by taking 22nd and 24th place.

Long set the tone for Barrington in securing third place. She was followed by freshman Sophie Hoeltgen (18:34.27) in 14th place.

"Everybody really stepped up today, especially Sophie," said Long. "We missed out on state last year, so now we're all excited to see what we can do."

Senior Lauren Conroy (19:04.85), who has been battling a foot injury, finished in 25th place, followed by freshman Eve Hoeltgen (19:23.49, 30th) and Samantha Samaryczew (19:24.70, 32nd).

"That was the goal, to get there," said Barrington coach Deb Revolta of her team's state-qualifying effort. "I thought we ran well today, but there were a lot of teams that ran well. It's just about advancing and surviving today."

Freshman Isabelle Sparreo (18:15.06) finished ninth to power Stevenson to a fourth-place finish. Senior Jessica Phillip (18:31.59) added a 13th-place finish, with sophomore Natalie Sparreo (19:08.04) taking 26th place for the Patriots.

Palatine was missing Sabina Yosif, its No. 4 runner, but the Pirates were still able to advance.

Senior Sam Lechowicz (18:16.01) and senior Kelly O'Brien (18:16.07) went 10-11 to pace the short-handed Pirates. Junior Anna Buckstaff (18:46.03) secured 20th place, with senior Rebecca Duran (19:36.01) and sophomore Jaclyn Frank (19:38.05) combining to take 40th and 41st place.

"We did what we needed to do," said Palatine coach Joe Parks. "I'm really proud of how the girls stepped up."

Wilson and Shepard led the list of individual qualifiers, with Marasco also securing spot with her fourth-place finish for Schaumburg.

Crystal Lake South junior Caitlin Bruzzini (18:16.60) finished in 12th place with Libertyville sophomore Melissa Manetsch (18:35.93) taking 15th place to advance.

Conant junior Sydney Davis (18:36.72) secured her spot at state with a 16th-place finish for the Cougars.

"She has just been really consistent this season," said Conant coach Ron Theberge of his junior star. "She knew she had it in her, she just got out there and competed like she has all year."

Hoffman Estates senior Meagan Biddle (18:44.32) secured the final individual spot by using a burst at the end to finish in 18th place.

"I was nervous at the beginning, but it felt good," said Biddle.

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