Cross country: Lakes girls, Libertyville boys savor county meet performances

  • Lake Zurich's Brooke Johnston won the individual title at the recent Crystal Lake South invite.

    Lake Zurich's Brooke Johnston won the individual title at the recent Crystal Lake South invite. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

By Mike Miazga
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 9/8/2021 6:15 PM

The Lakes girls cross country team got off to a hot start with two runners earning all-county at the Lake County invitational and three making the Top 10 at the Racine Horlick invite.

Becca Runyan was ninth at Lake County and third at Racine, while Paige Caruth was 13th at Lake County and sixth at Racine. Madison Perez was ninth at Racine. Aine Boyd has dropped more than 60 seconds from her best time last year.


"Becca, Madison and Paige are firing on all cylinders and running fantastic," coach Travis Shepherd said. "While it's early in the year, these three have set the tone with their sights set on accomplishing big goals. All three are in the conversation as some of the fastest ladies in Lake County."

Grant girls update:

Standout Aly Negovetich won the Lake County individual title and won the Fenton title for a third time (both meets were not run in 2020). Junior Brianna Osmon took 21st at Fenton with a season-best time and was 16th at Lake County to start the season in a course-best time.

Libertyville boys update:

Wildcats coach Stuart Mendelsohn is a big fan of Jack Hamilton, who took third at Lake County (helping Libertyville to a third-place team finish) and won a home meet against Stevenson, Wauconda, Fremd and Buffalo Grove.

"Jack is coachable and puts in the work," Mendelsohn said. "Jack continues to trust the process and the results are showing. He exemplifies leadership among his teammates and is a class act."

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Lake Zurich girls update:

The Bears were second-place trophy winners at the Crystal Lake South invitational, missing a team win by a single point. Brooke Johnston won the meet, while Kristin Loftus was fourth. Lindsey Bitzer was 13th and McKenzie Bergfeld was 21st.

"Brooke ran an incredible 18:39 on a very tough course at the Crystal Lake South invite," Bears coach Jeremy Kauffman noted. "Lindsey was on the JV last year as a freshman and was 12th on the varsity at Crystal Lake South. She has put in an incredible amount of hard work along with (fellow sophomore) McKenzie."

Stevenson girls update:

Sophomore Adeline Gobble has been strong at the top of the Patriots' lineup, assistant coach Christian Thibaudeau said. She was seventh in the frosh-soph race at the Red Devil-Hornet invitational. "Most of our returning runners started the year near or ahead of their best times from last year," Thibaudeau added. "We are rounding into form. Our strength looks like it will be a large pack of improving runners, but we have yet to run with a full slate of our top seven so we have yet to get a full measure of where we are at."

Warren boys update:

The Warren JV team entered the varsity race at the Lake County invitational and took eighth. "The young guys on the team have been running well and are learning our training system and culture," Blue Devils coach Brett Heimstead said. "It has been great to see the team come together in the first few weeks of the season."


Lakes boys update:

Gavin Murrie finished 11th at Lake County to earn all-county honors.

"Gavin has started off on a great note," coach Travis Shepherd said. "He has been our No. 1 in both races. He is on pace for his best season yet as he looks to break into our Top 20 of all-time."

Also for Lakes, Liam Makela, a sophomore, has improved his time by more than one minute and earned himself a spot on the varsity. Senior captain Jackson Sayre already has dropped 30 seconds from his previous personal record on some challenging courses, Shepherd said. "We are young, but have a lot of potential. It will take time to develop, but you will see our best at the end of the season."

Vernon Hills girls update:

The Cougars won the Lake County title for a fifth year in a row. Junior Reina Hill (third), Anna Todd (eighth) and Rose Sheridan (11th) were all-county. Sophomore Jayden Parker was 19th and freshman Clara Sheridan was 25th. Vernon Hills also was fourth at Fenton with Hill finishing eighth and Tood ninth. Sheridan and classmate Jori Ellen have helped in their first years on the team. Ellen ran nearly a minute faster at Fenton than Lake County. "Jori hasn't run cross country since the sixth grade," Cougars coach Suzanne Curry said. "She's been impressive."

Wauconda girls update:

Jessie Pakaski was seventh in her varsity division at the Crystal Lake South invite, while Alyssa Vodicka was seventh in her frosh-soph division. Coach Emily Waters also is high on Emma Schuett's progress. "Emma has been working hard at practice and also has been a great leader within our team," she said. "Emma took a year off from cross country and has come back full-swing into our season, working to get back to where she was."

Lake Zurich boys update:

Junior Braden Eckman recently took 15th at the UW Parkside Rebel invitational. The Bears placed fifth there with half the varsity squad not competing. "Braden has continued to train and work hard," coach JB Hanson said. "He is ready to step into varsity competition and will be a formidable runner. Look for Braden to be a leader in our varsity pack this fall."

Carmel girls update:

Carmel opens its season Saturday. Coach Jim Halford is looking for big things from freshman Izzy Bing. "Izzy will be one of our best distance runners, if not the best, in school history," he said. "She has been exceptional in practice. We expect big things from her." Maddie Ivees, Sydney Krcmarik (freshman), Nora Belmonte and Nora Christiansen also will help.

Carmel boys update:

Corsairs coach Jim Halford said Jeremy Bobber has shown dramatic improvement, while sophomore Ian Steward is looking strong after coming off a track injury, as has fellow sophomore PJ Beigel.

Vernon Hills boys update:

The Cougars finished eighth at Fenton after placing 13th a year ago. Vernon Hills had a 64-second split from 1-7. Junior Brady Clegg finished 10th at Lake County, earning all-county honors. Senior Christian Gitzinger has stepped up as an important leader and is a Top 5 lineup runner, coach Steve Szabo noted.

Grant boys update:

The Bulldogs were fifth at Lake County. Sophomores Memphis Roman (17:28) and John Nehmzow (17:58) both broke 18 minutes in the frosh-soph meet at Fenton. Senior Joseph Zamora has run two personal best times to start the season.

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