Cross country: Batavia girls, boys shine at Bartlett
The rich are getting richer in girls cross country.
Batavia, coming off a ninth-place finish at last year's Class 3A state meet and with four straight state appearances, had most of its key runners returning from that team.
And then the Bulldogs added freshman Katrina Schlenker.
Schlenker continued her seamless transition to high school with the championship Saturday morning at Bartlett's Flyin' Hawk Invitational at Sunrise Park.
With a blistering time of 17:04, Schlenker finished 38 seconds ahead of runner-up Katerine Olsen from DeKalb to win the invite.
"My coach told me I had a good chance (to win) but I wanted to focus on time and everything," said Schlenker, who started her high school career by running a 16:42 in her first race this fall. "Today was a pretty good day. I just wanted to take advantage of the weather.
"It's really exciting for me. The transition has been really smooth from middle school to high school. I was really nervous for the transition at first but it was has gone pretty well so far and I'm excited to be here and compete against such excellent runners."
Batavia dominated the meet, winning with 37 points to 91 for second-place Jacobs. St. Charles North (106), DeKalb (108) and Crystal Lake South (110) rounded out the top five in the 17-team field.
Junior Mia Gianfrancesco was third overall for Batavia in 17:48. Audrey Pellico was ninth, Jenna Schifferer 10th and Erin O'Brien 14th for the Bulldogs.
"I'm really excited for our team," Schlenker said. "We have high expectations for state. We're just working hard and making sure that we stay healthy."
Jacobs coach Kevin Christian was pleased with his team's second-place finish. Freshman Elisabeth Kania was eighth (18:49) and junior Aly Doherty 13th (10:05) but Christian really liked what he saw from his third and fourth runners, Alyssa Demma (15th) and Lindsay Loga (24th).
"We have been waiting to put it together," Christian said. "Second place against some really good teams, that is the race we've been looking for. They haven't really had a good race since County. Our one and two didn't run great but our three and four did.
"Alyssa ran 22 a year ago and all of a sudden is getting low 19s. That makes it all worth it with a kid like that. That was fun. (Loga), that's another girl who has been working hard for four years and deserves everything she is getting right now.
"It's setting up for a good finish right now, a lot better than people thought earlier."
Schlenker has company among the standout freshmen in the area this fall. St. Charles North was led by freshman Rachel Price who took fourth overall in 17:59.
Along with sophomore Grace Dorrance (sixth, 18:20) and Natalie Galvan (12th, 19:03), Price gives the North Stars a top three coach Shari Hayes can count on.
"They were there last week as well," Hayes said. "The last couple weeks they've been up toward the front."
The key for the North Stars is getting the rest of their lineup healthy. Ella Townsend was 36th on Saturday and Maddie Wiltrout 48th.
"Ella is coming off a stress fracture, she did well," Hayes said. "It's been a nice little threesome up front. Hopefully we can close the gap between the three of them so we're not so far stretched. I think we're going in the right direction. Hopefully the back end will get healthy by the regional and sectional and our team will be better as a whole."
Crystal Lake South had the fifth and seventh runners, respectively -- Mackenzie Aldridge and Olivia Beckwith.
Batavia just missed the team title, finishing with 55 points to DeKalb's 52.
Jacobs took third in the 17-team field with 98 followed by East Aurora (130) and St. Charles East (149).
Jared Kreis from Lincoln-Way Central won the individual title in 15:09. Batavia junior Adam Kennedy was the top local finisher in fifth place at 15:42.
"We were focusing on running with our team today," Kennedy said. "I was able to readjust and finish. It's (the Sunrise Park course) a lot more tiring than I remember."
Kennedy, who ran in the championship flight last week at Minooka, said he was happier with his closing kick than his finish earlier this season at Peoria's First to the Finish.
"I'm progressively getting better," Kennedy said.
Batavia's Damian Rodriguez finished seventh in 15:45, Christopher Levario was 12th, Joseph Knanishu 15th and Reid Coyle 16th.
"That was a good race," Kennedy said. "As a team effort it was better than normal for us. Packing it up is our main priority right now."
Zach Albrecht returned to Jacobs' lineup and took 10th. His teammates Mark Lemke (eighth, 15:56) and freshman Andrew Doetsch (ninth, 16:00) finished right ahead of him.
"He (Albrecht) looked good, very much in control, he had a ton left," Jacobs coach Kevin Christian said. "We're waiting to unleash him in Peoria."
East Aurora's Jesus Nava was second overall (15:37) and Connor Murphy was 23rd for St. Charles East in 16:28.