Girls cross country: Stevenson's Sparreo impresses at Wauconda Invite

 
By John Bumbales
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 9/10/2016 5:58 PM
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With some heavy rains already in the area, Mother Nature wreaked havoc on the Wauconda Invitational Saturday morning at Lakewood Forest Preserve.

Due to the predictably poor conditions on the 3-mile course, race officials decided to move the girls varsity race up to the first race of the day.

And it was Geneva that captured the championship of the powerful 17-team meet by a 36-77 margin over runner-up Stevenson, which is showing great improvement since reaching the state meet last fall.

Stevenson junior Isabelle Sparreo (10th in Class 3A in 2015) rolled to first place in 18:11.8 under the sloppy conditions. She outdistanced Cary-Grove freshman Allison Drage by 24 seconds for the individual crown.

Huntley captured fifth place with 132 points, followed by Cary-Grove (175 points) in sixth, Crystal Lake South (212) in seventh, Mundelein (220) in eighth and Lake Zurich (239) in ninth. Warren (298) placed 11th.

Stevenson also got a 13th-place finish from Natalie Sparreo, a 17th from junior Gabriela Jagielo, a 28th from sophomore Kendall Roberts and a 29th from sophomore Taylor Yen.

"I'm pretty happy with the conditions and I didn't have any problems, but I know in the later races it was pretty bad so I'm glad we ran first," said Isabelle Sparreo, whose team placed 13th in Class 3A last year. "We had pretty high goals coming into this race, and our main goal is to get back to state and try to get as close to the top seven as we can."

Besides freshman Drage's stellar showing, Cary-Grove's team looked strong behind senior Sarah Caesar in 32nd, freshman Teagan Hayes in 50th and freshman Sophia Galfano in 53rd. Junior Libby Hansen rounded out the Trojans' scoring in 59th.

"Today was the first race where we put our best varsity together for the season, and we've got a really good group of freshmen and sophomores that are varsity caliber," said Cary-Grove coach Mark Anderson. "We knew she (Drage) is good, and we knew she could come out here and medal on the varsity level. She's got no shortage of confidence, so she knew she could run with anyone."

Wauconda freshman Morgan Thompson's season is off to a great star, t as she ran to a ninth-place finish to edge Mundelein sophomore Andrea Cordova in 10th place.

Huntley was led by senior Vicky Watkins in 18th place. Sophomore Emily Burns was Lake Zurich's top runner in 24th place.

"We lost the front of our pack (to graduation) so we have a lot of girls learning how to run in the front pack," said Lake Zurich coach Ian Silverman, whose team also got a 44th from junior Carley Peldiak. "Emily (Burns) was a freshman last year and had the luxury of running with experienced runners so she's also learning to run in front, but it's only our second race."

Mundelein got a 26th-place finish from sophomore Clarissa Wienckowski. Huntley was led by Gen Porsche (30th), Mary Raclawski (31st) and Madison Overly (33rd). Red Raiders senior Sara Roberts placed 38th.

Crystal Lake South was paced by freshman Mackenzie Aldridge in 34th. Stevenson freshman Caimin Xi added a 41st-place run followed by CLS's Emma Heuck in 43rd, Wauconda's Dakota Thompson in 45th, Huntley's Olivia Boncosky in 46th and CLS's Ann Lewandowski in 47th.

Stevenson's Shea Kirby (48th), Lake Zurich's Elisa Krause (49th) and Warren's Jessica De Palma also had solid showings.

"We've had a couple of really tough weeks in a row so I asked the girls to temper expectations with the weather and the course," said Warren coach Brett Heimstead, whose team will host a big invite next weekend. "But we ran well as a pack. We're making improvements every week, and we're capable of finishing better than we did today."

Race officials canceled the final two scheduled open races of the day all together due to the continually deteriorating course conditions.

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