Boys cross country: Harvest Christian savors Class 1A state title

  • Matthew Richtman of Kaneland runs to fourth place during the boys Class 2A state cross country meet at Detweiller Park in Peoria Saturday.

    Matthew Richtman of Kaneland runs to fourth place during the boys Class 2A state cross country meet at Detweiller Park in Peoria Saturday. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Will Matushek of Hampshire runs during the boys Class 2A state cross country meet at Detweiller Park in Peoria Saturday.

    Will Matushek of Hampshire runs during the boys Class 2A state cross country meet at Detweiller Park in Peoria Saturday. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Tyler Dau of Geneva runs during the boys Class 3A state cross country meet at Detweiller Park in Peoria Saturday.

    Tyler Dau of Geneva runs during the boys Class 3A state cross country meet at Detweiller Park in Peoria Saturday. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

 
By Michael Eaken
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 11/5/2016 6:40 PM

PEORIA -- Harvest Christian Academy made the most of its opportunity on a sun-splashed day at Detweiller Park in Peoria

Junior Andrew Dobrescu (15:29) and senior Michael Sisko (15:29) finished 20th and 22nd powering the Lions to the Class 1A boys cross country state title with 107 points.

 

Freeburg followed in second with 116 points, followed by Richmond-Burton (138 points).

"It's humbling, but it's so gratifying," said Harvest Christian coach Steve Bland who has directed the Lions to four consecutive state meets. "We are young and could even be better next year, but there is no guarantee.

"There was opportunity today and we reached out got it."

Sisko missed last year state meet, but returned this year earning his first state medal. The Lion senior pushed the pace early, Dobrescu joined his teammate giving his team a tough 1-2 punch.

Harvest Christian Academy finished 24th in Class 1A in 2013, and followed it up with an 18th place finish. Last year the Lions finished in 10th place, but there was no stopping their run on Saturday.

"I don't even know what to think, it feels like a dream," said Sisko of Lions' run. "Coming this far in four years is a credit to our coaches."

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Dobrescu has also emerged this season, and came from behind on Saturday to earn his first state medal.

"It' amazing," added Dobrescu, "I'm in shock. We've been pushing each other all season and it's a great way to finish."

Sophomore Payton Kasper (15:42) kept the line moving taking 36th place, followed by junior Mark Davila (16:00) and junior Kyler Young (16:03) who took 55th and 61st in cementing the title run.

"It's not a race about time, but it's a race about position," added Bland, "and today we got out in really good position."

Rock Falls senior Brayden Hamblem (14:23) won the Class 1A individual title coming from behind to edge Athens junior Wyatt McIntrye (14:27)

Class 2A: Kaneland junior Matthew Richtman was feeling pretty good at the finish of the Class 2A race and he definitely had a reason.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

After finishing in 18th place last year, Richtman took a huge jump this cruising to a fourth-place finish in 14:36.

Grayslake Central senior twin brothers Jack Aho (14:12) and Matt Aho (14:27) went 1-2, followed by Normal senior Jack Franklin (14:30).

"I was hoping for a top ten, but got a little bit better," said Richtman of his run.

Richtman started in the box next to Grayslake Central team that featured the top 2 runners, and was able to pace himself of the Aho brothers.

"It was a cool way to start I had a reference point during the race," said Richtman.

The Knight senior made a nice move in the final 800 meters to pass Crystal Lake Central senior Cole Barkocy to secure his finish.

Also having pretty nice run was Hampshire senior Jacob Oury (14:49), who took ninth for the Whip-Purs.

"I didn't know what to expect," said Oury who finished 31st last year in Class 2A. "I just wanted to go in, run fast, and pass as many runners as possible. I finished better than I expected."

Mahomet-Seymour ran to the Class 2A title with 58 points, followed by Grayslake Central (134 points), and Normal (188 points).

Class 3A: Senior Charlie Zimmer (14:55) finished in 28th place leading Marmion Academy to a 12th place team finish with 340 points. Junior Michael Ronzone (15:02) added a 48th place finish.

Senior Tyler Dau (14:55) and sophomore Josh Rogers (14:59) finished 36th and 43rd helping Geneva to a 15th place team finish.

Crystal Lake South Jack Becker (14:56) ran to a 20th place finish in securing a state medal for the Gators.

Becker did not finish at the Fox Valley Conference meet, but bounced back at the Waukegan sectional leading to a nice state finish.

"It feels amazing," said Becker of the comeback. "The sectional race gave me some confidence to run with the top guys. I knew I had to take it out hard and it seemed to work."

Minooka senior Soren Knudsen ran to the Class 3A title in an impressive 14:02.

Neuqua Valley won the Class 3A title with 83 points, followed by Downers Grove North (116 points) and Lake Zurich (186 points).

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