York reclaims top finish at Palatine
York's boys cross country team made a bit of a statement at the 32nd Palatine Invitational on Saturday.
The Dukes have set the standard for Illinois boys cross country, earning 28 state titles. But they've been shut out of earning state trophies the past two seasons.
On warm and pleasant Saturday morning at Deer Grove East Forest Preserve, York showed plenty of life, running to the title with 88 points and in the process knocking off West Suburban Silver conference rival and two-time Class 3A state champion Hinsdale Central, which finished second with 97 points.
York was missing its No. 2 runner, but still placed five runners in the top 28 and gave legendary Duke coach Joe Newton a big lift.
"This was a revival for today for us," said Newton of the Dukes' performance. "When you're use to winning and don't trophy, it's highly motivating."
"I'm 86, but today I feel like I'm 52."
New Trier finished third with 196 points, followed by Maine South (203 points) and Prospect (238 points).
Oakwood senior Jon Davis continued to impress. He has won back-to-back Class 1A titles and ran a sizzling 14:10.9 to win the Notre Dame Invitational title on the state course at Detweiller Park in Peoria last week.
All eyes were on Davis on Saturday. He'd finished sixth the year before at Palatine and was looking for a bit of redemption.
And that is exactly what he got after taking control of the race with 400 meters remaining and holding off Hinsdale Central junior Blake Evertsen (14:45.9) to earn the title in 14:41.9.
"Last year I didn't have my best race here, and we talked about redeeming ourselves," said Davis who has solidified himself as the top Illinois runner in all three classes. "There is always great competition here and it was a good boost to get the victory."
Evertsen took a brief lead with 800 meters remaining but could not hold off the finishing touch of Davis.
"I just wanted to stick with him and see what I could do all the way down to the finish," said Evertsen, who has elevated himself as one of top runners in Class 3A. "Davis ran a really good race and handled the pressure well."
Prairie Ridge junior Filip Pajak (14:48.8) took third, followed by Lake Zurich junior Matt Pereira (14:51.7) and St. Ignatius senior Daniel Santino (14:53).
Pereira, finished third in Class 3A last season, and is one of the contenders for the state title this season.
The Lake Zurich junior set the tone early leading at the halfway mark, before falling off the pace in final half mile.
"I like to get control of race early and not get caught up in all the crowds," said Pereira, who was able to measure himself against Davis for the second week in a row. "He is pretty good, and his kick is outstanding. There are definitely a lot of great runners, and they helped push me today."
Stevenson senior Jarod Borowsky (14:56.1) also had a strong run in taking sixth place. Last week, the Patriots senior ran a 14:38.7 at Peoria Notre Dame and was looking for a bit faster time on Saturday.
"This is usually a pretty fast course, so I was a bit surprised with the times," said Borowsky who challenged for the lead early. "I was kind of waiting for Jon (Davis) to come in and blow everybody away, but it never really happened until the end."
York sophomore Charlie Kern (14:56.4) paced the Dukes' attack with a seventh-place finish, followed by New Trier senior Josh Derrick (14:56.9), McHenry senior Michael Hahndorf (15:00.8), and Maine South junior Reese Jordan (15:05.4).
Last year, Prospect finished a disappointing 14th place at the Schaumburg sectional but this fall the Knights have been a team on a mission.
Senior Matt Cozine (15:30.2) and senior Luke Filipic (15:32.) took 31st and 37th in leading a tight pack and helping the Knights secure an impressive fifth-place finish.
"The guys have a little bit of a chip on their shoulders," said Prospect coach Mike Stokes of his rebound season. "What we did at sectionals last year was not us; I think we're being a little more like us. The guys are excited."
Senior Maxwell Crowninshield (15:39.1) and junior Jack O'Donnell (15:47.9) helped to push the Knights' attack with a surge midway through the race.
"Confidence was big today, we just wanted to get out and we believed in ourselves," said Cozine. "Now we just have to keep improving."
Lake Zurich placed sixth place with 242 points. Pereira led the charge, but the junior had plenty of help especially from the Griffith twins.
Brian Griffith (15:07.9) and Kyle Griffith (15:15.4) secured 12th and 15th place, and sophomore Patrick Burns (15:41.9) was 44th.
"Obviously I don't think we have shown our hand yet," said Periera of his team's potential. "But once we get that fifth man I think we can do some damage."
Vernon Hills junior Shane Williams (15:10.2) finished 13th in leading the Cougars to a 14th-place team finish. Williams finished third in Class 2A last season and is looking to build on that finish this season.
"Today the main goal was just to come out and run as hard as I could," said Williams of his effort. "It was a tough field and tight course, I think myself and the team are on the right course."
Libertyville sophomore Alex Tam (15:24.5) gave his team a lift by finishing 20th. Cary-Grove junior Alex Ratkovich (15:26) finished 24th.
Senior Daniel Trejo (15:43.2) finished 48th place in leading Palatine to a 15th-place team finish, and senior Kevin Patton (15:38.6) secured 40th place as Hersey finished 18th.