Boys cross country: Hersey's Methner, Barrington's Laning rise to the occasion
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PEORIA -- Barrington senior Nick Laning finished what he started, and Hersey sophomore Josh Methner seems to have found a nice launching pad for the next couple of years.
Methner had a breakout sophomore season and capped it by taking seventh place at the Class 3A state meet at Detweiller Park.
Methner has been bubbling with talent all season, and it showed on Saturday as rushed across the line in 14:36.
"He's believing in himself more than anything," said Hersey coach Kevin Young of his star sophomore. "He's got more gears, and he's at a different level with his confidence."
For Laning, it was a four-year process to get on the state podium. The Broncos senior reached his peak on Saturday running to a ninth-place finish in 14:38.
"He ran his fastest day of the year and gutted it out," said Barrington coach Tom Root of senior run. "He just has never stopped putting in the work putting in the miles. He is just one of the most consistent runners to ever come through our program."
Downers Grove North ran to the Class 3A title with 73 points, followed by defending Class 3A champion Neuqua Valley (149). Wheaton Warrenville South (155) took third. Hinsdale Central (168) and Lyons Township (191) rounded out the top five.
Lyons Township senior Danny Kilrea ran to the individual Class 3A title, crossing the line in 14:08. He was followed by Whitney Young senior Clayton Mendez (14:22), Maine South senior Tommy Brady (14:29), Neuqua Valley senior Zach Kinne (14:33) and Niles North senior Conor Perreault (14:34).
Methner showed a bit of mettle by jumping out with the lead pack and then holding steady to secure his first state medal.
"It feels great," said Methner who finished second in the Mid-Suburban League and also finished second at the Hoffman Estates sectional. "I'm really happy with my race -- I got the time I wanted.
"The back triangle is where I knew I had to keep going with the pace. This race gives me a lot of confidence and I'm really looking forward to what is to come."
For Laning it was a special ending for a long journey. The Broncos senior finished 32nd in Class 3A last season, setting the stage for a big senior year.
And he didn't disappoint. Laning won the MSL title before adding regional and sectional titles to his postseason haul.
Laning admitted that a hard start took its toll, but the senior grinded it out like usual in securing his first state medal.
"I just had to push through it and give it my all," Laning said. "It's really incredible, it's been such a great journey and I've been helped by all the support from my coaches, teammates and family … that's what really help me keep going.
"The final mile I was kind of where I expected, and you just have to leave it all out there."
Hersey capped a nice season by taking eighth place. Keys to that effort were senior Ryan Theisen (36th place), junior Ryan Buch (75th place) and sophomore Max Svienty (81st place).
"These kids gave everything they had," said Young of his team that the MSL along with regional and sectional titles. "It's been a great year."
Sophomore Paddy Furlong aided Laning in pushing Barrington to an 18th-place team finish.
Palatine sophomore Richard Jacobo and Prospect senior Jack Terry also were in the state field.
Sophomore Patric Natindim and senior Richard Rinka helped to pace St. Viator to a 25th-place team finish in Class 2A.