Boys cross country: Wilson, St. Charles East in midseason form
Even with last year's unofficial state meet jokingly referred to by some as a fake state meet, St. Charles East's boys cross country team and star runner Micah Wilson are all in on shooting for a three-peat this fall.
Wilson led the Saints to the team title at Saturday's Harvey Braus Invite at Lake Park and their performance sent a message to the rest of the state that this year's team looks primed for another run at top honors. Wilson topped the field with a time of 14:52.1, but was more impressed to see his teammates run well and record a team score of 54, which easily distanced runner-up Wheaton Warrenville South (71).
"I'm really proud of these guys. Four and five [runners] stepped up which is exactly what we needed," said Wilson, who won the 3,200 state title in track last season after helping the Saints win the Class 3A cross country championship in 2019. "I'm really happy with the showing of this team. We're just going to keep getting better throughout the season. Hopefully by the time state comes we'll be ready."
With Wilson and a strong senior group up front, the Saints won the unofficial, COVID-interrupted crown in 2020, but now desire another "real title."
On Saturday, Mitch Garcia and Joey Xotla joined Wilson as top eight finishers, while Jedidiah Wilson was 15th and Lexton Rockwell 24th to round out the team's strong scoring.
"I'm going to work these guys hard and work myself hard, I'm hungry for the state title. We want the three-peat," Wilson added.
Saints coach Chris Bosworth was all smiles at Lake Park on Saturday, noting that the program lost several key runners to graduation but looks to have reloaded quite well for 2021.
"It was a fun day. The team as a whole we just keeps making steps forward," he said. "Our 2-5 splits have come down, which is great. They took a big step forward today. We've had success the last two years and now this team they want to write their names into the history here."
Wheaton Warrenville South used just five runners, making their runner-up showing all the more impressive. Individual runner-up Michael Atkins did his best to stay with Wilson and ended up with a sub-15-minute time while taking second. Michael Macabobby was 10th overall and Caleb Hatzinger and Luke Yonker gave the Tigers four finishers in the top 20.
"I wanted second so I tried to stay with Micah and I surged with him," said Atkins, who was happy to go 14:58.6 on Saturday after striving to get under 15 minutes much of last season. "I feel great and we have some big goals this year. If I stay healthy I'll just keep running well."
Wheaton North was fifth in the team standings with a score of 118 as Ryan Zydek was fifth and Ryan Schreiner was seventh. Huntly placed sixth at 155 led by Thomas Nitz, who took 16th with a time of 15:59.6. Elgin's Yahya Arastu finished 18th in 16:07.9 and Joey Santoro of St. Charles North was 20th with a time of 16:11.6.