Girls cross country: Naperville North gets it done again

By Kevin McGavin
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 11/4/2017 10:02 PM
  • Naperville North's Sarah Schmitt (1660) heads to the finish during the Girls Class 3A cross country finals Saturday in Peoria.

      Naperville North's Sarah Schmitt (1660) heads to the finish during the Girls Class 3A cross country finals Saturday in Peoria. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

PEORIA -- Sarah Schmitt had an eventful week.

After committing to Indiana University earlier this week, Schmitt turned her attentions to her final cross country race.

Capping a remarkable four years, Schmitt finished fourth at the girls Class 3A meet Saturday at Detweiller Park as the Huskies repeated its team championship.

Naperville North completed a perfect season with its 87-117 victory over Yorkville, which was runners-up to the Huskies last year as well.

"It's just amazing, amazing," said Schmitt, a member of three state-championship teams at Naperville North. "We followed the race plan that we follow every time. We started moving up. That's what we do."

It was the third consecutive all-state campaign for Schmitt.

"This one is going to be awesome for its own reasons forever," Naperville North coach Dan Iverson said of his seventh state championship during his 22-year tenure. "They ran the race the way they were supposed to run it. We were back a little more than we planned. You have to hit a curveball sometimes -- and that's what we did."

Alex Morris was seventh to earn all-state distinctions for a second straight season for Naperville North.

"Our race plan is to go out faster than the last time and pass as many people as we can," Morris said. "Everybody on the team has worked so hard."

The Huskies' Hannah Ricci duplicated the feats of her teammates by placing all-state for a second consecutive season in the No. 14 slot overall.

Megan Driscoll and Claire Hill rounded out the Huskies' 30-point win over Yorkville, which has an astonishing five Class 2A titles and four runner-up finishes the last nine years.

"(Yorkville) would be state champions in at least 45 of the 50 U.S. states," said Wheaton Warrenville South coach Rob Harvey, whose squad was denied by Lyons Twp. (184-193) for the third-place team trophy.

The individual results for the Class 3A race were also a replay from last year.

Glenbard West sophomore Katelynne Hart retained her streak of flawless state performances with her fourth individual state title in as many attempts.

Hart has two cross country state championships and track titles in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs in barely more than a year of high school competition.

"I was a tiny bit conservative," Hart said of the beginning of her championship time in 16 minutes, 22 seconds. "I just wanted to focus on myself and not others. For the first 2 miles I knew there would be girls with me. For the last mile I just had to finish strong."

The Hilltoppers' Lindsey Payne is also a former state track champion.

A recent Stanford signee, Payne concluded her cross country senior season with a fifth-place finish in 16:38.

"That's four consecutive top-five finishes," Glenbard West coach Paul Hass said. "Lindsey Payne is the epitome of a team player."

"It wasn't the race I hoped for," Payne said. "Every day I have to wake up and count my blessings. I am just so thankful I have been able to stay healthy for four years."

"(Payne) has displayed tremendous character for what she has done," Iverson said. "It is genuinely hard to be in the situation she has been (with the emergence of Hart)."

Sam Poglitsch (WW South), Katie Hohe (Glenbard West), Brenna Cohoon (Downers South) and Hinsdale Central teammates Grace McCabe and McKenna Revord were also all-state in Class 3A.

IC Catholic Prep freshman Frankie Chaidez was third in Class 1A.

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