Boys cross country: WW South 'family' brings home state championship
PEORIA -- Billy Hauenstein was beyond ecstatic after the Wheaton Warrenville South boys cross country team captured the Class 3A championship on Saturday at Detweiller Park.
"All these guys are my brothers," Hauenstein said after he and his teammates defeated Hersey 116-156 to earn the first state title in program history. "This whole thing has been family for three years. Unbelievable. Our whole team builds around the family."
The Tigers' Scott Maison and Jacob Kluckhohn also placed among the top 11 in the team qualifiers to augment Hauenstein finishing eighth.
"We just have a great pack," WW South coach Chris Kuntz said. "The three guys were up there at the top. Our strength all year has been our pack."
The Tigers completed an undefeated season one year after earning their first state trophy with a third-place finish last fall.
As is typically the case at the state level, the West Suburban Silver was ably represented on the all-state stand.
Downers Grove North, the defending state champion, had Jack Roberts in fourth place.
But Glenbard West had season-long leaders Rory Cavan and Stephen Moody finished in back-to-back slots at fifth and sixth.
"To cap off (my senior year) top five is pretty special," Cavan said.
York was even better than their league rivals. Ethan Kern finished ninth to pace the Dukes' fourth-place effort. The most storied program in state history, York was denied yet another state trophy by Neuqua Valley.
For the fourth straight year the Wildcats earned state hardware. Michael Madiol was all-state for Neuqua Valley with his 19th-place finish.
"It's the best way I could end my career," Madiol said.
Connor O'Keefe was 17th overall to lead Benet to seventh place at the Class 2A finals.
Kaneland, however, was even better as the Knights narrowly missed a trophy in the exceedingly tight competition in Class 2A.
Chatham Glenwood eased past Springfield 153-161 for the title; Bloomington was but a point better (167-168) over Kaneland for third.
"When you can put seven kids in a race who PR, it's a good day, no matter what the results are," Kaneland coach Chad Cleary said.
Daniel Occhipinti was ninth to lead the Knights.
"(Matthew Richtman, the Knights' 2017 state champion) was a big inspiration for me," Occhipinti said.
Burlington Central senior Anthony Farmer was certainly inspired for an individual state championship, but in settling for a second consecutive all-state season Farmer was third overall and second among team qualifiers.
St. Charles East, fresh off its first sectional championship in 31 years, was fifth with 187 points.
Bennett Melone was all-state for the Saints in leading the team in No. 23 slot overall.
"Am I disappointed? No," St. Charles East coach Chris Bosworth said. "Maybe the guys are disappointed they didn't get a trophy. The kids have put St. Charles on the map."
Huntley sectional runner-up Ian Geisler placed in the top 15 to stamp an all-state campaign.