Hersey has a zest for winning
Hersey colored the Busse Wood course orange at the Class 3A Hoffman Estates boys cross country regional on Saturday.
The Huskies, wearing their bright orange tops, were juiced about winning the program's first regional title since 2006 and putting the squeeze on the competition by taking first with 45 points.
"We looked real good in the bright orange," said Hersey coach Jay Renaud.
Hersey placed five runners in the top 15.
"I thought we moved up the whole race," said Renaud, "and we were fighting for position the whole way."
Prospect senior Quentin Shaffer cruised to the individual title in 15:31, shaking Hoffman Estates junior Billy Thomas (15:39) early in the third mile and leading the Knights (67 points) to a second-place team finish.
"I just couldn't push like I usually do," said Shaffer, who took the first mile hard but was slowed by a soft course and a bit of wind. "I was hanging on the final mile."
"We wanted to get him (Shaffer) out of his comfort zone," said Prospect coach Mike Stokes of Shaffer, who has rarely been challenged this season.
Fremd (107 points) edged Conant (109) and Hoffman Estates (110) for third place with Schaumburg (116) and Rolling Meadows (193) also advancing to next Saturday's Schaumburg sectional at Busse Woods.
Junior Andy Philipose (15:47) and sophomore David Rodriguez (15:56) powered the Huskies by taking the 3-5 positions. Philipose made his move at the mile-and-a-half mark, and didn't back down.
"I got my place back," said Philipose who finished ninth at the Mid-Suburban League meet.
Junior Jack O'Neil (16:09) kept the Huskies rolling by bridging the back pack with a ninth-place finish, with sophomore Grant Von Der Lippe (16:20) and senior Ryan Kearns (16:22) adding 13th and 15th place.
"That's been my goal since the beginning of the season, to make the gap smaller between our top runners," said O'Neil.
Prospect got an eighth-place finish from senior Michael Leet (16:06). Junior Blake Hallman (16:21) also gave the Knights a lift with a 14th-place finish.
Fremd seemed to take a step backward, but junior Nick Vucovich (16:10) gave the Vikings a lift with his 10th-place finish.
Last week junior Harry Winter finished eighth at the MSL meet, but the Vikings junior was a bit flat on Saturday finishing in 19th place.
"We lived to run another day," said Fremd coach Darius Sanchez. "Right now I don't think our true colors are showing, and it doesn't do much for our confidence. But I still believe we have it in us."
Sophomore Zach Dale (16:05) and senior Joe Sulentic (16:13) took 7th and 11th place in propelling Conant to a fourth-place finish.
Dale continues to make progress and pushed the Cougars' attack in the third mile.
"I think the summer miles have really paid off," said Dale, "I felt a bit sluggish today, but I overcame it."
Hoffman Estates has leaned on Thomas all season and the Hawks junior came through once again on Saturday.
Thomas hung tough with Shaffer for over 2 miles and paced the Hawks to a fifth-place finish.
"I tried to stay with him the whole race," said Thomas, who was nipping at Shaffer's heels the first 2 miles. "I wanted to give it all I had."
Senior Evan Prizy (15:53) and senior Juan Barajas (15:59) paired up in taking fourth and sixth place.
Last week Barajas lost connection with Prizy's pace, but he stayed in contact Saturday.
"Juan and I have been going back and forth for awhile now," Prizy said. "He pushed me do better, and I think I push him to do better."
Senior Alex Duman (16:39) took 23rd place in helping Rolling Meadows secure the final spot for next Saturday's sectional.
Wheeling freshman Justin Loquercio (16:19) was the top individual qualifier, finishing in 12th place overall for the Wildcats.