Cross country: Downers Grove North's Eddington does family name proud at Kaneland invite

Led by the grandson of the cross country meet's honoree, Downers Grove North repeated as the winner of the Larry Eddington Invitational boys race Saturday at Kaneland High School.

Senior Ryan Eddington crossed the finish line with a time of 14:48.9 to win the 53rd edition of the invite.

The Trojans placed two other runners in the top seven to finish with a score of 53.

Four of the top five teams also placed runners in the top five. Evan Nosek (14.57.2) crossing the finish line second was key to Kaneland earning fifth place (170). Benet, paced by Finn Richards' third-place finish (15:05.6), took home the second-place trophy (96). Andrew Beyer (15:15.6), who came in fourth, was fourth-place Jacobs' (118) top runner.

Glenbard West (105) came in third. Chuck Halden (15:24.1), who crossed the finish line in ninth place, was the Hilltoppers' speediest finisher - against a field of 156 runners in the race representing 17 schools.

"Well, I mean, it's part of the reason why we came to the race to begin with. Our team is about family. We have Ryan Eddington on our team and this race is named after his grandfather," said Downers Grove North coach John Sipple. "We needed to be here and Kaneland let us in. It's awesome to be here. I mean it's a surreal sort of thing and I'm glad that it worked out."

The Trojans did a good job of executing their game plan.

"Our guys did a really nice job of being patient throughout the race, really being aggressive the second half of the race and challenging their teammates to keep moving," Sipple said. "Isaac Moss (sixth place - 15.17.4) really stuck his nose up front and did a nice job of being there. Will Surratt (seventh - 15:18.2), one of our sophomores, did an awesome job of moving up throughout the race."

Runners were bunched up at the first mile. By the second mile, the top racers started to pull away with Eddington and Nosek in second and third place, respectively. Eddington took the lead during the last mile.

"I just kept surging the turns and I trusted myself that the last half mile I knew I would pull away," Eddington said.

Nosek thought a quick start caused the runners to stay together at the beginning of the race.

"My main goal the whole entire time was just to stick with the leaders," said Nosek. "But the main separation, I think, was just that we went out a little bit too fast, to be honest. It was a fast first mile."

Girls race:

Hampshire winning the Eddington Invitational girls race is just another step in the team's development according to coach Ryan Hollister.

Led by Hudson Szymonik's first-place finish (18.11.7), the Whip-Purs captured the first-place trophy with a score of 51 in the 16-team field.

"I mean, it's been a long process throughout the season," Hollister said. "I think we had such a young team last year and they saw a lot of success. We didn't get to the state meet or anything, but they are a group that's really focused, really competitive and they're really supportive for each other."

Benet, which had won four of the last five Eddington invites, came in second (115). Junior Delilah Helenhouse, the Redwings top runner, took home the fourth-place medal (18.50.4).

Paced by Kylie Simpson (second - 18:23.1) and Allyson Niefeldt (fifth - 18:53.9), Hononegah garnered third-place honors.

Dixon finished fourth (130) and Jacobs came in fifth (147). Emma Smith was Dixon's highest finisher at 14th place (19:26.2) Jacobs' top runner, junior Bailey Schwartz, crossed the finish line in 10th place (19.09.6).

Morris' Makensi Martin (18.40.2) finished third.

Szymonik led from wire-to-wire.

"I just started off hard and stayed strong and when I had the blind spots, I tried to pick it up and increase my lead," said the junior about her race strategy. "And I just focused on chasing the gator (the utility vehicle in front of the runners)."

In addition to Szymonik, Hampshire had two runners in the top 10 - Hannah Jones (seventh - 19.02.5) and Annabelle Haskins (ninth - 19:07.4)

"Obviously Hudson had a good race. I thought she showed a lot of mental toughness, being able to take control and hold that pace the entire time," Hollister said. "Kassidy Papa (21st - 19:51.5) came up big for us today. She kind of closed that gap between Ella Perrone, our fourth runner (13th - 19:23.1) and herself. Overall, the whole group just had a great race."

Helenhouse was among the top four runners throughout the race.

"Honestly, I think I went out a little bit too fast, but what helped me was going through the turns," said the junior.

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