Cross country: Harvest Christian wins truncated Elgin City Championship
Despite being billed as the Elgin City Cross-Country championship, Wednesday's meet hosted by Harvest Christian lacked any school with Elgin in its name.
After Elgin and Elgin Academy opted out the meet amounted to a triangular between the host Lions, Larkin, and a small squad from St. Edward.
With such a small field, the boys and girls ran together, and the Lions ended up winning both team titles.
Led by Daniel Winkelman, the Lions' boys won the title with 16 points.
Winkelman, with a time of 16.33, finished nearly a full minute in front of his closest challenger, teammate David Peterson. Fellow Lions J.J. Gronnam and Sam Rozier finished third and fourth. Larkin's top finisher, Andy Salazar, finished in fifth place.
"Last week I raced hard, and this week I wanted to pace some of the boys to good times," said Winkelman. "They kind of fell off pretty quickly, so I just kind of cruised it. At this point I'm just starting to prepare for state, looking ahead, getting healthy and taking some time off."
Larkin's Heather Durrant was similarly strong in the girls' race, finishing in 19:35, a half-minute ahead of Harvest's Eva Camp. Hannah Durrant, Heather's twin sister, finished fourth for the Royals. But Harvest eked out the team title, 25 points to 30, thanks to second, third, and fifth-place finishes by Camp, Emma Leslie, and Caitlyn Terrien.
Larkin's Jinni Gimenez and St. Edward's Sophia Scheider finished just outside the top 5 on the undulating course through Harvest's wooded campus.
"For today, I was just trying to survive the course and all the hills and downhills," said Heather Durrant. "I tried pushing myself more downhill because the uphill was too much. I was too tired to go uphill."
The team title was a pleasant surprise for the Lions' girls, who have been brought along slowly this year by coach Steven Bland.
"We've been developing them all year, and we haven't really pushed the whole pack hard until today," Bland said. "We said, 'Go out and race,' like we were gunning for time. We knew that Larkin was fairly strong, and so we benchmarked against them to say, 'Look, let's run hard and let's try to compete, and let's race.' And so they all ran really well. Some girls, like our number three girl, Caitlyn Terrien, was like, wow, she cut loose today."