Boys cross country: Lake Zurich charges to NSC victory
Lake Zurich's boys cross country team was as good as advertised Saturday morning in the North Suburban Conference meet.
The host Bears bolted to their seventh NSC championship in eight years, totaling 33 points on the three-mile Lakewood Forest Preserve course.
After a correction in the final results, Warren nipped Stevenson 89-90 to capture runner-up honors in the powerful 13-team meet. Mundelein had a solid showing with a fourth-place finish (130 points), edging Libertyville (132). Without its No. 2 runner, Vernon Hills (148) wound up sixth.
Lake Zurich junior Matt Pereira won the race in 14:48, missing the course record by two seconds. He held off junior teammate Brian Griffith by one second in winning his second conference title. Warren's Dustin Macuiba was one second behind Griffith in third place, while Lake Zurich junior Kyle Griffith (Brian's twin) placed fourth in 14:52.
"Eventually I started to grow a tiny lead and I just kicked really hard down the stretch," Pereira said. "We're excited our fifth guy is slowly moving toward us."
Lake Zurich also got a seventh from Patrick Burns and an 18th from Nate Quinn. All seven of Lake Zurich's runners collected all-conference (top 30) honors, as Eric Metzger (20th) and Matt Milner (29th) also ran well.
"Matt (Pereira) looked strong the whole way. He's running with a lot of confidence right now," Bears coach J.B. Hanson said. "Brian and Kyle (Griffith) are under the radar because they have Matt on their team. We cut our 1-5 split down to 72 seconds."
Warren's second-place finish was even more impressive considering the Blue Devils competed without No. 2 runner Alex Delgado again.
After Macuiba's third-place finish, Warren got an 11th from Brady Roegner, a 13th from Julian Ruiz and 25th from Nathan Oommen. Delgado is expected to return to the Blue Devils' lineup in time for the sectional meet in two weeks.
"I thought we ran really well, and I think this is as good a field as this conference has even seen," said Warren coach Bill Dawson, who is in his 34th season. "If (Stevenson's) Jared (Borowsky) runs today, the first five here should be all-state this year. There is a lot of depth, and the quality of runners up front is as good as I've ever seen."
After placing fifth in the NSC as a junior, Borowsky was out of the Patriots' lineup Saturday due to injury. He will be back for next weekend's regional meet.
Sophomore teammates Nikita Smyrnov (10th) and Brett Lucas (12th) led Stevenson's charge. Teammates Adam Butler (21st), Jacob Sparreo (23rd) and Paul Udoni (24th) captured all-conference honors as well for the Patriots.
"Obviously they ran really well. All of them are down probably between 20- 40 seconds apiece on this course," said Stevenson coach Scott Somers, whose team runs in the Lake Forest regional. "Nikita (Smyrnov) keeps getting better. The last time he ran here he lost his shoe, so he's looking great."
Led by freshman Michael Parduhn's 14th-place finish, Mundelein was a surprise in fourth place. Senior Uly Hagedorn added a 19th-place run for the Mustangs.
Mundelein's Robert St. Clair got the final all-conference spot in 30th place. Teammate Mitchell Alberts just missed the cutoff in 31st.
"We ran OK, but Michael Parduhn ran an absolutely fantastic race to take 14th as a freshman," Mundelein coach Kurt Rutz said. "I was a little surprised (to take fourth) because I didn't think we were quite on our game today."
Libertyville sophomore Alex Tam had an impressive eighth-place run to lead the Wildcats, while teammate Stephen Richardson was strong in 15th place.
Junior Shane Williamson continued to shine for Vernon Hills in fifth place. But No. 2 runner Tim Krashevsky did not compete for the Cougars. Vernon Hills' Trevor Moyers got 22nd place.
"Shane ran a strong race. This a tough course, and some of the best guys in the state were in that front pack," Vernon Hills coach Mark Whitney said. "We look at this meet as the last race before we start tapering for the championship series. Overall, I was very happy, especially without having everybody in our lineup."
Other all-conference finishers included Lakes' Jeremy Wallace (16th), Round Lakes' Carlos Rosas (26th) and Grant's John Schmidt (27th).