Glenbard West's Hart finishes four-year sweep; Benet, Naperville North win team titles
PEORIA -- Katelynne Hart was her usual incredible self Saturday in her final girls cross country race at Detweiller Park.
The Michigan-bound Glenbard West phenom became the fourth athlete in state history to capture four individual state championships. Meanwhile, Naperville North and Benet won team titles.
Naperville North defeated Yorkville for the fourth straight year to win the Class 3A team title with 90 points. Benet had few issues in claiming the Class 2A championship with a resounding 110-177 victory over Lakes.
It was the first title in program history for the Redwings.
Meanwhile, Hart had the all-time state record -- established by former Naperville North state champion Judy Pendergast -- in her sights.
"It definitely was on my mind this year," Hart said of the 15-minute, 52-second milestone. "Last year I missed it by a couple of seconds. I am disappointed, but there is definitely some confidence that came out of this race. I would say (the title my) freshman year (was my favorite)."
As has been her calling card in becoming an 11-time state champion, Hart took the lead early and only expanded her cushion to win in 16:05.81.
Wheaton Warrenville South junior Sam Poglitsch was a distant runner-up in 16:37.68.
"I already had the mindset that I was going to own the stage," said Poglitsch, who earned a third consecutive state medal. "What was really on my mind was to stay with the chase pack and see where it leads me."
The pack led Naperville North to more state glory.
Maggie Gamboa was fifth in 16:44.99 as the Huskies' edge over Yorkville was significantly greater than a year ago.
Audrey Mendrys' revelatory eighth-place finish for Naperville North was further augmented by contributions from Lucy Westlake, Kate Donaldson and Molly Morton.
The Huskies (90 points) bettered Yorkville by 52 points; the margin was 8 last year.
"I feel more attached to (the team championship) than I did freshman year or sophomore year," said Gamboa, a junior. "I understand how much work you have to do to earn it."
"This team is very similar to last year," Mendrys, also a junior, said. "We all work together."
"(Mendrys) had a really good race," Naperville North coach Dan Iverson added. "It was fantastic."
Benet eased to its state title behind all-state twin anchors Emily Spellman and Meaghan Andrews, who finished 12th and 14th, respectively.
The Redwings' Joy Jackson, Amelia Parisi and Louisa Diamond placed in team slot Nos. 19, 33 and 40 to bring home the grandest hardware in the land.
"It started getting real when we got closer to the last race of the postseason," Andrews said of the Redwings' championship aspirations. "We would leave it all on the course and hopefully be successful."
"I didn't have much (individual) expectations going into this race," Spellman said. "I just wanted to give all of my effort."
"Last year when we found out we were 2A, I challenged the girls," Benet coach Scott Brooks said. "'We have an opportunity to do something historic.' We had different heroes every race (this season)."
Hinsdale Central snared the final trophy with its third-place score of 183 points; junior Emma Watcke paced the Red Devils with her seventh-place effort.
Erin Reidy and Brenna Cohoon were all-state for fifth-place Downers Grove South.
Glenbard West will look to replace Hart next year with sophomore all-stater Audrey Allman.
Ashley Heidenrich and Sophia Sandy were all-state for Waubonsie Valley and Metea Valley.
Carly Manchester was 12th for IC Catholic Prep in Class 1A.