Lots of positives in Central Suburban League South boys cross country meet
It was the most painful race Nick Ihrke has run this season.
Like they say, no pain, no gain.
At the Central Suburban League South division boys cross country meet, hosted by New Trier at Duke Childs Park in Winnetka on Saturday, the Glenbrook North senior ran his first mile of the 3-mile race faster than he had all season.
The second mile, too.
"Really, really, really painful," Ihrke said Saturday afternoon.
His determination resulted in what Ihrke and his coach, Bill Race, had been seeking -- an all-conference finish, in 12th place at 15 minutes, 47.42 seconds. The Spartans didn't field an all-conference runner last year, when Glenbrook South hosted what was still a 12-team meet.
"Right now it feels pretty good," Ihrke said. "This has been a goal I have had for myself all season."
Since his freshman year, actually, he said.
"It was important for me to stand up to the rest of the division," said the Glenbrook North co-captain.
As well, Spartans Gabe Johnson, Nick Redstone and Patrick Herbst all placed ahead of Niles West's second finisher to avenge a loss to Niles West in Glenbrook North's first dual meet of the season.
"Our team ran pretty well as a group," Race said.
Running really well, New Trier showed why MileSplit ranks the Trevians No. 1 in Class 3A.
Led by CSL South individual champion Nick Falk at 14:59.87, New Trier won the meet with 27 points, all seven of its runners finishing among the top 14 to earn all-conference honors.
Maine South and runner-up Matt Coyle (15:01.89) finished second with 50 points while Glenbrook South achieved coach Kurt Hasenstein's goal of a top-half finish by placing third with 89 points, ahead of Evanston (98) and third-place finisher Essay Tolosa (15:09.87).
Glenbrook North (127) and Niles West (149) followed.
"I think every team in the league has something to be proud of today," Hasenstein said.
The Titans were led by Brian Hiltebrand's ninth-place finish, in a season-best 15:28.87, the junior's second straight all-conference honor.
"Not many kids can say they're all-conference. He's been it two years in a row. I think for him it really shows he can be a front runner," Hasenstein said.
Even more important in the team standings against Evanston, Mrugesh Thakor, Jayson Stamm, Cody Slutzky and Matt Finkel all finished among the top 23 individuals, ahead of Evanston's fourth- and fifth-place runners. Five of the Titans' seven varsity runners scored season-best times.
"I was really pleased," Hasenstein said.
New Trier remained undefeated after six dual meets, two invites and Saturday's conference meet. Not only did Falk, Charlie Siebert, Conor O'Neill, George Esteve, George Cahill, Andrew Flynn and Noah Rush all place in the top 13, the Trevians' junior varsity scored a perfect 15 points and occupied the first seven individual spots.
"It literally is a collective team effort to have won the title today. Not just the top seven, the whole varsity group made a difference," said New Trier coach Matt Sloan, a 2004 New Trier graduate.
Falk, and Coyle of Maine South -- which also placed senior Eamon Brady (15:60.90) in fourth -- had each won once in two previous meetings this season.
Saturday they engaged Evanston's Tolosa in a battle at the front. At the end of the second of two 1,500-meter loops in the park's short grass, over the last 100 meters Falk broke away to win the CSL South title in his first time under 15 minutes.
After a summer in which a conference meet during a pandemic was not considered a given, Sloan credited his boys "because they put in the work," he said.
"By focusing on a daily basis we're able to achieve what we wanted in the long term," Sloan said.