Cross country: Hersey boys impress at Palatine invite; York wins girls race

With seven of the top 10 teams in the state running Saturday morning at Deer Grove East Forest Preserve, the Palatine Invitational provided a good idea of what the 77th IHSA boys state cross country meet is going to look like on Nov. 4.

Defending Class 3A state champ Plainfield South rose to the top of the huge 30-team field by winning the title by a 112-124 margin over rival squad Plainfield North while No. 2-ranked Hersey was a close third with 139 points despite losing its No. 5 runner in the race.

Barrington put together a fourth-place effort with 156 points followed by Neuqua Valley (242 points) in seventh, the host Pirates (250) in eighth, and Fremd (270) in 10th.

Plainfield South's Camyn Viger won the race in 14:36.20 while Barrington's Joe Bregenzer (14:40.45) was the top area finisher in third.

Grayslake Central's Trey Sato placed fifth followed by Palatine sophomore Alex Krieg (seventh), and Fremd's Rory Gaan (eighth). Neuqua Valley's Zac Close placed 10th while Liam Naughton was Hersey's top runner in 12th.

"When you're trying to go against some of the top teams in the state you've got to be on your game. Our fifth (runner) lost his shoe about 400 meters in so I stopped him and took him out with about a mile to go," said Hersey coach Kevin Young. "Our top four were good. Our sophomore Nathan Marotta (67th) stepped up as our fifth guy today and they know they can do better."

Maine South was led by Owynn Garrelts in 13th place followed by Neuqua Valley's Robert Glenn in 14th and Hinsdale Central's Aden Bandukwala in 15th. Hersey's pack was bolstered by Zach Frayder in 18th and Cameron Donner in 19th.

"It was a good performance. Joe (Bregenzer) had a great race, and our guys raced well," said Barrington coach Tom Root. "We've been trying to work on a few team aspects of how we're racing and we're still not quite there, but it was a great step in the right direction today. It was a very positive step towards what we want to be in November."

Downers Grove South got a 21st-place run from Josh Poeschel to outdistance Hersey's Rob Geissenberger in 24th, and Stevenson's Dylan Zimmerman in 25th.

"This is our first year at this meet. I've wanted to come to this meet for a very long time solely based on the awesome competition that's here," said Neuqua Valley coach Jaime Janota. "If you run against great competition then we're going to rise to that competition. We're pleased so far, but there's a lot of work to be done."

Palatine got a 28th from James O'Sullivan while Barrington teammates Mark Mcginn and Ethan Scott placed 30th and 32nd, respectively.

"It was the first time this year that our three sophomores moved up to the varsity ranks," said Palatine coach Joe Parks. "He (Krieg) is one of the better sophomores in the state. He's a tough kid, and not a lot of teams rely on three sophomores."

Grayslake Central coach Jimmy Centella was also hoping that facing the kind of competition his team saw Saturday will pay big dividends at the end of the season.

"It was super competitive. It went out super fast, and it was tougher than a 2A state meet that's for sure," said Centella, whose team placed fourth in Class 2A last year. "I like how our guys competed after a tough week of training, and Trey (14:42.85) almost caught that front pack in the end."

Girls race:

With all of the top-ranked girls cross country teams in attendance, the Palatine Invitational was certain to be a blockbuster 3-mile race Saturday morning.

And in the end it was York that rose to the top of the massive 27-team field. The Dukes captured the team title by a 68-80 margin over somewhat surprising runner-up Barrington.

No. 1-ranked Downers Grove North was a close third with 84 points while defending Class 3A state champion Prospect had to settle for fourth place with 97 points.

Barrington junior Scout Storms was clearly the class of the field as she recorded a time of 17:06.78 to easily win by 13 seconds. Prospect was led by Veronica Znajda in third place followed by Wheaton Warrenville South's Nicole Poglitsch in fifth, and DGN's Lily Eddington in sixth.

The Dukes' push to the crown was led by Margaret Owens in seventh, and Katherine Klimek in eighth.

"This is probably the toughest competition we've had in years, and every team is getting better because we are pushing each other to get better," said York coach Lauren Deangelis, whose team placed second in the state last year. "It was a full team effort. These girls are super supportive of one another, they love each other, and they will do anything for one another and it's showing."

After Storms, Barrington got an 11th from Mia Sirois, and a 20th from Abby Lewis. "I had people calling out how far back they were and I could hear my teammates cheering me," said Storms. "I had a good finish, I'm really happy where our team is at. We're really competitive, and really deep this year."

Barrington coach Debbie Revolta was very happy following the runner-up performance.

"They are for real. They were really excited to race against these top teams and see where they stack up," Revolta said. "A lot of these other teams are really good in the last 400 so we focused on that as well that we pushed that last 400. And I think that was the key to them doing well."

Prospect's Lily Ginsberg placed ninth followed by DGN's McKenzie Willard in 10th, Prospect's Meg Peterson in 12th, DGN's Sarah Paul in 13th, and York's Michaela Quinn in 14th.

"We came in here with bigger expectations. We put together a race plan that we thought was going to work, and now it's back to the drawing board over the next couple of weeks to get ourselves ready," said Prospect coach Peter Wintermute. "Barrington ran an outstanding race, hats off them. York was outstanding today with six up in the top 20 early and we just couldn't match it."

Hersey placed sixth while Grayslake Central was ninth. The Huskies were led by Margaretha Grabske in 17th while York teammates Anna McGrail and Sophia Galiano-Sanchez placed 18th and 22nd, respectively. Barrington's Sabrina Roach (23rd) and Hersey's Alexa Izenstark rounded out the top 25. Prospect's Ireland Wildhart placed 26th to edge Barrington's Kaleigh Burns in 27th.

DGN's pack of Alayna Todnem, Audrey Casten and Ava Gilley placed 28-30 followed by York's Maggie Quinn in 32nd and Grayslake Central's Ava Henne in 33rd.

"It's great competition here. We had a pretty tough week of practice, and we really wanted to push ourselves," said Grayslake Central coach Jimmy Centella, whose team is the two-time defending Class 2A state champions. "We're just trying to stay healthy, get good miles in, and stay consistent."

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