Cross country: York's Long Green Line wins Silver again

 
By Bill Stone
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 10/13/2018 10:44 PM
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Somewhere up there Saturday, Joe Newton was smiling, wearing his green and white stocking cap and raising his fists in ecstasy.

At the first West Suburban Conference Silver Division boys cross country meet since the legendary York coach died last Dec. 9 at 88, the Dukes' Long Green Line captured its 51st conference team title with an extraordinary performance at Proviso West.

"It's one of the best conferences in the nation. That's what all of our coaches have been saying. For sure, to come home with a team championship in this crazy good conference, it means a lot," said York junior Ethan Kern, the individual champion.

"There's always the emphasis on winning as a team. We were able to execute that plan so it's a great feeling."

Kern ran 15:29.3 for 3.04 miles and the Dukes put three in the top five as their 40 points defeated Glenbard West's 52 and Lyons Township's 62 -- the other two top-10 teams in this week's Class 3A rankings. Defending 3A champion Downers Grove North and Hinsdale Central were fourth and fifth at 95 and 96 points.

York last won the Silver in 2013. Last year's team was sixth at state behind three Silver teams.

"We were totally an underdog (Saturday). From the start of the year, I've got one guy coming back with state experience (Ethan Kern)," said York coach Charlie Kern.

"I told them at the beginning of the year the only way we're going to compete (is basically) we better just work. I hope they remember this the rest of their lives. You focus on something, you go after it, you get results."

In the girls race, Glenbard West junior and two-time defending Class 3A champion Katelynne Hart's 17:14.4 won by 1:03.8 to become only the third girls runner to win three Silver titles.

The Hilltoppers' streak of seven straight outright or shared titles was ended as Lyons Township captured its first title since 1992 with 53 points. Oak Park-River Forest edged Glenbard West 74-75 for second with York fourth at 82, Hinsdale Central fifth at 90 and Downers North sixth at 102.

Kern was soon followed by York junior Daniel Klysh and sophomore Colin Hill in third in 15:45.7 and fifth. Junior Brian Pratt was 14th to also earn top-16 all-conference honors.

Glenbard West senior Stephen Moody was second in 15:34.1, seniors Will O'Brien and Rory Cavan sixth and seventh and senior Ian Repking 16th.

Also all-conference were Downers Grove North senior Matt Moravec in fourth in 15:50.2 and senior Trevor Murphy in 13th and Hinsdale Central sophomore Piyush Mekla and senior Matt Kusak in 10th and 12th.

Kern improved from 19th in 2017.

"I beat a lot of high-ranked kids in the state so it was cool to be able to win conference," Kern said. "All season (assistant coach Jim) Hedman has been telling me if someone makes a move, stick with them. I decided that I was going to be the one to make that surge today. And that ended up working."

Moody and Cavan were the only 2017 all-conference runners who competed Saturday, taking eighth and ninth. Downers North ran without injured senior Jack Roberts, 22nd at 2017 state after fourth at conference.

Glenbard West had four all-conference runners for the first time in at least four decades.

"That was the first time getting second in a long time (as a team also)," Moody said. "Overall as a team we did as well as we should have done. We had goals but they weren't that lofty. I'm definitely happy with where I placed."

In 2019 Hart could become the first four-time champion in girls conference history dating back to 1979. Even in muddy and windy conditions, she ran one of the course's fastest girls times behind opening miles of 5:25 and 5:31.

"I don't think I really had a time goal coming in," Hart said. "My goal was just to feel good while running and work on my form and I think I accomplished that. I'm super excited for (regionals at Lake Park) and hopefully I'll be able to run fast there, too."

Lyons Township sophomore Kate Dickman was second in 18:18.2. Glenbard West senior Katie Hohe was third in 18:27.5 for her third all-conference honor and senior Abby Hoffman 13th for her first.

York senior Sarah May was fourth in 18:37.1 and Hinsdale Central junior McKenna Revord fifth despite losing a shoe with 2 miles left. Also all-conference were Hinsdale Central senior Kayla Byrne in 10th and Downers North sophomore Katie Figliomeni and junior Eva Bednard in 14th and 15th.

The Hilltoppers would have at least taken second had senior Chloe Connolly not dropped out because of injury. Freshman standout Audrey Allman also remains sidelined.

"I don't think that it was our best race, teamwise, which is OK. It was a good learning experience that we'll hold with us going into the postseason," said Hohe, fifth in 2017.

"I'm really happy with my race individually. It's the highest I've ever finished at conference. This year I ran a better race tactically. I think I had a very strong finish."

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