Boys cross country: Hersey's Methner earns Palatine invite title again
Hersey senior Josh Methner entered the season with a target on his back.
Methner is the defending Class 3A boys cross country champion and all eyes have been fixed on him this season.
And the Huskies' standout has lived up to expectations.
Last week Methner ran to the Peoria Notre Dame Invitational title on the state cross country course at Detweiller Park in Peoria.
Methner continued his momentum on Saturday running to his second consecutive Palatine Invitational title at a muddy Deer Grove East Forest Preserve.
Methner took charge early and then held off a challenge by Maine South senior Joey Kasch, crossing the finish line in 15:20.
"He knows the competition is going to be on him and he loves it," said Hersey coach Kevin Young of Methner's defense of his title. "He is a kid that loves the competition."
Methner navigated the muddy course and then held Kasch at bay to finish off a strong race.
"I knew it wouldn't be blazing fast and I put a lot of caution into where I was running," said Methner of the less than ideal conditions. "I didn't feel like I would have a kick the last 100 meters, so I just tried to keep the gap the whole time."
Kasch had a breakout race in hounding Methner, crossing the line in 15:22 to take second.
"I just felt really good," said Kasch of his big run. "Honestly I thought I had a chance to get him, but every time I made a move he picked it up. He is a really strong runner."
Sophomore Nick Falk (15:41) and junior Charlie Siebert (15:42) went 6-7 in helping New Trier hold off Hersey for the team title 113-116.
Maine South took third with 150 points followed by York (172 points) and Chicago Jones (196 points).
"I knew we had a shot to win today and I knew it wasn't going to be easy, " said New Trier coach David Wisner. "We set a goal for where we wanted to be in this race and our top three runners were further up than I anticipated."
Hersey was not far off pace. Methner did his thing and senior Max Svienty (15:36) gave the Huskies a huge lift by taking fourth place right behind Jones senior Anthony Maida (15:36).
"I've been struggling in the last mile in some of the races," said Svienty, who has combined with Methner to give the Huskies a powerful 1-2 punch. "I knew I had to stay focused and we have more in us. The guys are falling into place and it is starting to come together."
Senior Colin Safford (15:49) added a 17th place finish for the Huskies.
"We're headed in the right direction," added Young. "We're still working on packing the pack and gaining more and more confidence."
Maine South made a pretty impressive statement with its third place finish. Kasch led the way for the Hawks and was aided by senior Adam Christopher (15:50), who took 18th place.
"It was a great race," said Maine South coach Greg Nordahl. "We wanted to be aggressive and Joey has been brewing with confidence and today he just let it go."
Senior Daniel Klysh (15:46) and junior Sam Ayers (15:52) went 12-21 leading York to a fourth-place finish.
Junior Jacob Myers (15:44) and junior Jack Gilboy (15:48) finished in ninth and 14th place in powering Lake Zurich to a seventh-place finish.
Junior Ben DeWeerdt (15:59) and senior Patrick Furlong (16:00) finished 27th and 30th respectively to lead Barrington to eighth place.
Individually, Mundelein senior Carter Schorr (15:38) looked impressive by securing fifth place. The Mustang senior ran with the leaders early before grinding out the final mile.
"Little discouraging ... with all those turns we were sliding in the mud," said Schorr of the slippery conditions. "Definitely a race where the toughest guy won."
Senior Dillon Blake (15:49) contributed to the Mustangs' finish by taking 16th place.
Palatine senior Richie Jacobo (15:44) was patient early then made his move in the final mile to secure 10th place.
"I could see the group breaking apart and I knew I had to make my move," said Jacobo of his final mile burst.
Senior Corey Pacernick (15:46) and senior Anthony Rodriguez (15:53) went 11-22 to pace Stevenson.
Prospect senior Erik Snell (15:54) took 23rd place, with Libertyville senior Will Gordon (15:57) taking 25th place.