Cross country: Strong pack leads WW South boys to SCN title

  • Wheaton Warrenville South's Nathan Virginelli runs at the St. Charles North cross county invitational at LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve in St. Charles on Saturday, October 1, 2022.

      Wheaton Warrenville South's Nathan Virginelli runs at the St. Charles North cross county invitational at LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve in St. Charles on Saturday, October 1, 2022. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Downers Grove North's Lily Eddington crosses the finish line to win the St. Charles North cross county invitational at LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve in St. Charles on Saturday, October 1, 2022.

      Downers Grove North's Lily Eddington crosses the finish line to win the St. Charles North cross county invitational at LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve in St. Charles on Saturday, October 1, 2022. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Cary-Grove's Jocelyn Onstot leads all runners in the first half of the St. Charles North cross county invitational at LeRoy Oaks Forest Preserve in St. Charles on Saturday, October 1, 2022. She finished second overall.

      Cary-Grove's Jocelyn Onstot leads all runners in the first half of the St. Charles North cross county invitational at LeRoy Oaks Forest Preserve in St. Charles on Saturday, October 1, 2022. She finished second overall. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Cary-Grove's Ada Saletnik finished third overall at the St. Charles North cross county invitational at LeRoy Oaks Forest Preserve in St. Charles on Saturday, October 1, 2022.

      Cary-Grove's Ada Saletnik finished third overall at the St. Charles North cross county invitational at LeRoy Oaks Forest Preserve in St. Charles on Saturday, October 1, 2022. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • The varsity Marmion Academy runners come together at the finish of the race Saturday.

      The varsity Marmion Academy runners come together at the finish of the race Saturday. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Jack Allen was the first Elgin High School runner to finish.

      Jack Allen was the first Elgin High School runner to finish. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • The Naperville Central varsity boys team starts the St. Charles North cross county invitational at LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve in St. Charles on Saturday, October 1, 2022.

      The Naperville Central varsity boys team starts the St. Charles North cross county invitational at LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve in St. Charles on Saturday, October 1, 2022. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Fox Lake Grant's Melissa Ketter leads a pack at the St. Charles North cross county invitational at LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve in St. Charles on Saturday, October 1, 2022.

      Fox Lake Grant's Melissa Ketter leads a pack at the St. Charles North cross county invitational at LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve in St. Charles on Saturday, October 1, 2022. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Metea Valley's Maya Hall finished in 13th at the St. Charles North cross county invitational at LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve in St. Charles on Saturday, October 1, 2022.

      Metea Valley's Maya Hall finished in 13th at the St. Charles North cross county invitational at LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve in St. Charles on Saturday, October 1, 2022. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • St. Charles North's Norah Dorrance was the first North Star finisher in seventh overall while Grant's Brianna Osmon finished in fifth at the St. Charles North cross county invitational at LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve in St. Charles on Saturday.

      St. Charles North's Norah Dorrance was the first North Star finisher in seventh overall while Grant's Brianna Osmon finished in fifth at the St. Charles North cross county invitational at LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve in St. Charles on Saturday. John Starks | Staff Photographer

 
By Jared Birchfield
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 10/1/2022 5:44 PM

There's no I in team as the old sports cliché goes. And the vowel is also missing from the word pack, a cross country concept that encourages teammates to run together.

Wheaton Warrenville South used the group run strategy to win the St. Charles North Invitational boys varsity race with 43 points Saturday at LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve.

 

Nathan Virginelli took top honors for the Tigers, finishing fifth with a time of 15:26.4. He was followed by teammates Josiah Narayanan (6th, 15:36.7), Samuel Cruz (8th, 15:41.9) and Lucas Yonker (10th, 15:44.7).

"We will give the front guys the lead, but we're a pack team," said WW South coach Chris Kuntz. "That's our philosophy. We just try to pack it up as close as we can and help each other out."

"We started packed up. The turn after the first mile was such a tight corner, we decided to surge there after everyone else slowed down," Virginelli said.

Belvidere North's Evan Horgan finished first, completing the 3-mile course in 14:59.2, a personal record for the senior.

"Coming in, I was going to stay with the pack for the first two miles," Horgan said. "But I thought the pack was going a little too slow, so I took over at the mile."

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Belvidere North scored 96 points for a third-place finish.

Will Gelon's fourth-place finish helped Prairie Ridge (83 points) take home second-place honors.

"The first mile I wanted to go out hard but be smart to save a lot of gas in the tank for the last two miles and close hard over the last mile and a half stretch," said Gelon. "And the downhill near the end really kept me rolling and kept my rhythm really nice."

The Wolves also put an emphasis on running as pack.

"(Runners) one through five only had 55 seconds difference in time and that was our best this season," said Prairie Ridge coach Judd Shutt. "It's always contingent on your No. 1 man, but (Gelon) probably had his best day of the season. Our fourth and fifth runners really stepped up and ran close to our No. 3 man."

Paced by Grant Giblin's second-place finish (15:06.6,) Sandburg (98 points) took fourth place.

Marmion Academy notched 132 points to come in fifth in the 21-team field. Connor Carlson (15:39.2) was the top Cadet runner, finishing seventh.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Girls race:

Lilly Eddington from Downers Grove North and Jocelyn Onstot from Cary-Grove battled for first in the girls varsity race. Onstot had the early lead, but Eddington, a freshman, passed her after the second mile to win with a time of 18:10.5. Onstot finished second, crossing the finish line at the 18:12.7 mark.

"I just kept going and kept pushing little by little to try to get up there," Eddington said. "I got her on the second lap right before the hill."

"It's her first invitational win so we were just happy for her," said Downers Grove North coach Tim McDonald. "And looking forward to a great career from her."

"It was strange being alone for the for first two miles," Onstot said. "I was happy with my time."

Teammate Ade Saletnik (18:13.5) finished third.

Taking seven of the top 14 spots, Downers Grove North captured the team title with 28 points.

"They did a great job running a pack race. Our three, four, five, six and seventh runners came through at the mile together and they just moved up consistently throughout the race," McDonald said. "That's what we want to see and hopefully they'll continue to do that."

In addition to Eddington, five Downers Grove North runners finished in the top 10: Clair Payne (4th, 18:22.3), Sydney Hnatiuk (6th, 18:49.1), Audrey Casten (8th, 19:01.1), Ava Gilley (9th, 19:01.5) and Alayna Todnem (10th, 19:05.1).

Lyons Township squeaked past Cary-Grove for second by one, 95 to 96. Kristina Findley (19:13.8) paced the Lions with a 12th-place finish.

"We took third in a tiebreaker. We're very happy with it," Cary-Grove coach Mark Anderson said. "I think we're the only Class 2A school here, so to be able to come here and compete with them and beat some of the teams we did is great."

Grant's Brianna Osmon (18:40.0) finished fifth.

Paced by Sasha Semanision's 11th-place finish (19:09.2), Batavia (118) took fourth in the team competition.

Metea Valley (129) took home fifth led by Maya Hall (19:21.6) who finished 13th.

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