Boys cross country: Libertyville runs to title at own regional
With temperatures right at 50 degrees at race time, host Libertyville was ready to tackle the hilly, 3-mile Adler Park course Saturday morning as boys cross country runners took part in Class 3A regional competition.
And when all was said and done, the Wildcats came out on top as they captured first place with 72 points to hold off Warren and Mundelein with 78 points each as the Blue Devils won the second-place tie breaker based on their No. 6 runner finishing higher than the Mustangs.
Fourth-place Deerfield (104 points), fifth-place Stevenson (112), and sixth-place Wheeling (151) also earned berths to the powerful Hoffman Estates sectional next Saturday at Busse Woods with a potential trip to the 73rd annual IHSA state meet at stake.
Libertyville's push for the crown was led by the duo of Will Gordon in second and Liam Tucker in fourth. Sophomore Griffen Pasha led Warren's squad in fifth place.
After his team broke a 40-year drought and won two straight regional championships, Mundelein coach Kurt Rutz chose to hold out top runners Dillon Blake and Robert St. Clair Saturday in order to prepare for what the Mustangs hope will be another berth to the state meet next weekend.
"We didn't run three of our top seven, including our top two, and I wanted to give them a mental rest and not expose them to the roots on this course," said Rutz, whose team placed 12th in Class 3A last year. "We're just going to get ready for sectionals, and I feel very confident about our chances for next week. But hats off to Libertyville, they definitely ran a great race today."
Mundelein's pack was led by Matt Olorvida in 10th, Aidan Afonso in 12th, Carter Schorr in 15th and Dario Carrillo in 16th.
As was the case at the North Suburban Conference meet last weekend, Stevenson was led by junior Anthony Rodriguez in sixth and teammate Alex Beckerman in ninth.
"Anthony and Alex both looked great, but as a team today we were missing our third and fourth runners (Corey Pacernick and Alan Sherman) due to injury," said Stevenson coach Scott Sommers. "I think they (Rodriguez and Beckerman) have a chance to make some noise as individuals (at sectionals), but they will have to run their best races."
Wheeling's pack was led by the senior duo of Tyler Polak in seventh and Jackson Gross in eighth. Warren freshman Luke Wiley placed 13th followed closely by teammates Andrew Metcalf (14th) and Bryan Holland (17th).
In Class 2A competition at Antioch, Lakes ran to its second regional title in school history at Fox River Park with 58 points as the Eagles toppled runner-up Lake Forest (58 points) based on a sixth-runner tiebreaker.
Grayslake North (82 points) placed third behind fourth-place finisher Connor Riss while the host Sequoits (85 points) placed fourth behind runner-up Charlie Smith's 16:01 clocking.
Fifth-place Vernon Hills (95 points) was led by third-place finisher Jimmy McDonald while sixth-place team Grayslake Central (137) also advanced to the Woodstock North sectional next Saturday.
"They packed up nicely, and we had that great group of three up front again," said Lakes coach Travis Shepherd. "In my opinion the race of the day was our senior Ethan Schommer as our No. 5, he has a great mentality, and he really wanted it."
The Eagles were led by Jack Erwin (fifth), Owen Wenberg (sixth), R.J. Migas (10th), and Jack Engel (15th).