Girls cross country: Prospect, Lake Zurich's Johnston sectional champs

By John Bumbales
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 10/30/2021 2:52 PM

After a one-year hiatus due to the pandemic, girls cross country runners poured their hearts and souls into qualifying for the IHSA state meet Saturday morning at the Class 3A Hoffman Estates sectional.

Prospect won its fourth straight sectional championship in a row on the 3-mile Busse Woods course by a comfortable 86-128 margin over New Trier while Barrington locked up third place with 160 points.


Under the new IHSA format with seven teams and 10 at-large individuals now qualifying for state, Loyola captured fourth place with 184 points to nip Jacobs (187 points) as the Golden Eagles' squad will be heading downstate for the first time since 1985.

Sixth-place Hersey (235) and seventh-place Libertyville (237) will also be heading to Peoria. But eighth-place Palatine (246), Grant (247), Lake Zurich (247), and Warren (252) just missed the cut.

The individual race to the finish was a good battle between Lake Zurich junior Brooke Johnston (17:11) and Grant senior Aly Negovetich. But Negovetich falling on the slippery course late in the meet opened the door for Johnston to pull away and take first place by nine seconds.

"With about a half a mile to go (Negovetich) took a little tumble on a turn and I took the opportunity to pull away," said Johnston, who placed 13th in the state as a freshman.

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"It was pretty muddy, I ran here my freshman year and it was worse, but there were some areas where people were slipping around."

Negovetich had won three individual sectional crowns and she has placed fourth at state twice.

"Aly fell with about 1,000 (meters) to go. To her credit she got up and fought, it's just unfortunate it happened," said Grant coach Jeff Durlak. "The good thing is that she didn't get hurt."

Prospect was led by sophomore Lily Ginsberg in eighth, Hailey Erickson in 10th, and Audrey Ginsberg in 16th as the Knights continued to dominate the sectional meet.

"They had goals out here to be sectional champs and we put seven runners in the top 32," said Prospect coach Peter Wintermute. "(Lily Ginsberg) really turned it on in the second half of the race."


Barrington's pack was led by the duo of freshman Scout Storms in ninth, and Kari Drage in 18th.

"They ran very well and I'm very proud of them," said Barrington coach Debbie Revolta. "They learned a lot from this and hopefully we'll apply this next week."

Jacobs' team effort to reach fabled Detweiller Park next Saturday was led by Kelly Carpenter in 22nd, Bailey Schwartz in 33rd, and Elisabeth Kania in 36th as the Golden Eagles will run in the state meet as a team for the first time in 36 years. Senior Ella Tamburrino placed 42nd as Jacobs' fourth runner.

"Four of the top five are seniors who have never made state and this group deserves it," said Jacobs coach Kevin Christian. " We have seven quality runners. What saved us today was going strong one through seven and this is just special."

Hersey's troops were led by Anna Harden in third place while Bree Ponchak was Libertyville's top runner in 25th followed by teammate Sheila Tucker in 30th.

Other at-large qualifiers were Warren's Mia Pasha (fourth), Glenbrook North's Juliet Frum (fifth), Glenbrook North's Maria Polyakov (sixth), Lake Zurich's Kristin Loftus (11th), Wheeling's Brenda Torres (13th), and Palatine's Abigail Jordan (14th). Warren's Emma Leung just missed state in 20th place as did Glenbrook South's Maggie Jortberg in 21st.

"(Johnston and Loftus) are great teammates above and beyond, and they wanted the whole team to be going (to state)," said Lake Zurich coach Jeremy Kauffman. "They're very humble, hardworking girls, they are really true to the sport, and they don't cheat it in any way."

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