Boys cross country: DuPage County teams dominate Class 3A

PEORIA - It was the ultimate role reversal for Downers Grove North.

One year after watching the Neuqua Valley boys cross country team collectively hoist the Class 3A championship trophy, the Trojans were second to none Saturday at Detweiller Park.

With five runners in the top 27 overall, Downers North reversed the results from last year to deny Neuqua Valley a second straight title with a 73-149 victory.

Wheaton Warrenville South turned back Hinsdale Central 156-168 for third place.

Five schools from the vaunted West Suburban Silver finished in the top seven; Lyons Twp., York and Glenbard West placed fifth through seventh, giving DuPage County schools six of the top seven places.

"We know it's the best of the best in that conference," said Downers North senior Jake Ridderhoff, eighth overall to pace the Trojans. "We had a tremendous amount of work to do if we wanted to challenge (Neuqua Valley) for the state title."

It was the first state championship in the sport for Downers North.

"It's actually only the second male-championship trophy in school history," Downers North coach John Sipple said. "(Neuqua Valley is) a really tough team. They have been running great all year."

Downers North was the lone school to defeat the Wildcats this season.

"They proved that today," Neuqua Valley coach Paul Vandersteen said of the Trojans' lofty national ranking. "We executed our plan to perfection. They were just the better team today."

Zach Kinne was fourth overall in 14 minutes, 33 seconds to lead Neuqua Valley.

Notre Dame recruit Danny Kilrea of Lyons Twp. won in 14:08.

"We're second in state with one of the fastest races in state history," said Kinne, who duplicated his all-state campaign from last year. "It's definitely not that bad."

Billy Hauenstein was 13th overall in leading WW South to its first trophy.

"The most I ever wanted was for us to do well at state," Hauenstein said. "For my team to come home with a trophy means more than being all-state."

Glenbard West had a pair of all-staters in Rory Cavan (14th) and Stephen Moody (18th).

The theme of Silver all-state runners continued with the Downers North trio of Nick Chudzik, Miles Christensen and Jack Roberts all finishing in the top 22.

York senior Sean McGregor was yet another conference all-state member from his No. 20 slot.

Neuqua Valley had Ryan Kennedy, Danny Winek, Michael Madiol and Alex Johnson contribute to its runner-up total.

"We were gunning for that championship," Winek said. "We gave it everything we had."

Adam Balutowski was the top finisher for 15th-place Naperville Central.

Brett Haffner was the lone DuPage County all-state finisher in Class 2A. The Hinsdale South senior led the race early, only to settle for No. 13 overall.

"I didn't expect to be out in the front," Haffner said. "I wanted to be out in front."

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