Cross country: Prospect, Grayslake Central girls win state titles

  • The Grayslake Central girls cross country team won the Class 2A state title Saturday in Peoria.

    The Grayslake Central girls cross country team won the Class 2A state title Saturday in Peoria. Courtesy of Grayslake Central

  • The Prospect girls cross country team won the Class 3A state title Saturday in Peoria.

    The Prospect girls cross country team won the Class 3A state title Saturday in Peoria. Courtesy of Prospect

 
By John Bumbales
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 11/5/2022 7:04 PM

The Prospect girls cross country team had been knocking on the door for a long time in their quest to win the IHSA Class 3A state championship.

Saturday afternoon on the legendary 3-mile Detweiller Park course, the Knights knocked that door down as they toppled defending state champion York 39-58 at the 43rd IHSA state meet to take home first place for the first time in school history. Naperville North was a distant third with 229 points.

 

Prospect's elite pack running was fantastic again as Hailey Erickson (fifth), Veronica Znajda (sixth), Meg Peterson (eighth), Lily Ginsberg (13th), and Cameron Kalaway (18th) carried the Knights to the title.

"York is a dynamite program, we respect them but don't fear them, and it worked out great," said Prospect coach Peter Wintermute, whose team placed second to the Dukes last year. "The key was the seniors and the team, we believe in each other, and having confidence in each other can carry you a long way."

Erickson was ecstatic following the meet as it was a great culmination to her senior campaign.

"It was an incredible experience that I was able to be with my best friends and be able to succeed," said Erickson, who will run at Calvin University in Grand Rapids next year. "Our coaches are incredible, and he (Wintermute) has done so much for our team it's awesome."

Glenbard North's Grace Schager (16:40.35) rolled to first place over Glenbrook North runner-up Juliet Frum while Hersey's Anna Harden placed fourth. Huntley got an all-state (top 25) run from Breanna Burak in 12th as did McHenry's Danielle Jensen in 14th, and Palatine's Abigail Jordan in 15th. Warren's Mia Pasha (17th) was also all-state along with Huntley's Brittney Burak (21st), and McHenry's Lynda Rotundo (25th).

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It was a heartbreaking end to the season for Lake Zurich senior Brooke Johnston, who was unable to make the trip to Peoria for the state meet due to illness after UCLA-bound Johnston took first place at the sectional meet last weekend.

After winning their first state title in school history last year, the Grayslake Central girls cross country team was aiming to reach the mountain top again Saturday morning under some slippery running conditions.

And while it was a close battle with rival squad Lakes all the way to the finishing chute, the Rams worked their magic again as they outdistanced the runner-up Eagles 104-124 down the stretch to bring home the Class 2A state championship for the second year in a row.

Grayslake Central freshman Ava Henne led her team's pack with a seventh-place finish while teammates Sara Armstrong (16th), and Jordan Sutter (25th) also earned all-state honors to help carry the Rams to the crown under the poor conditions. Grayslake Central's Bella Domier also turned in a crucial 31st-place finish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"We knew coming in we were ready to go, excited, and confident," said Grayslake Central coach Jimmy Centella. "The rain and the mud made the race a real wild card, and Jordan and Bella really moving up in the second half of the race made a big difference for us."

Lakes' push for second place was led by Paige-Elicia Caruth in eighth, and Becca Runyan in 19th. Crystal Lake South took fourth place in the massive field with 155 points behind a 20th-place finish by Isabella Gonzalez while Carmel's Izzy Bing (23rd), and Cary-Grove's Jocelyn Onstot (24th) also made the all-state team.

Prairie Ridge's Rachel Soukup took second place behind individual champion Tatum David of Richland County while Cary-Grove's Ada Saletnik just missed all-state in 26th place. Lakes' Madison Twarling placed 34th to outdistance CLS's Olivia Pinta in 37th.

Boys race:

The Grayslake Central boys cross country team had high hopes of at least bringing home a top-three trophy Saturday afternoon at the 76th IHSA state meet at historic Detweiller Park.

But in the end, that goal just wasn't in the cards for the Rams on this rainy day as Riverside-Brookfield won the Class 2A state title with 131 points followed by Belvidere North (155) in second, and Glenbard South (157) in third. Grayslake Central had to settle for a close fourth with 169 points.

The Rams' valiant effort was led by junior Trey Sato's 11th-place finish while freshman teammate Adan Cordova made the top 25 all-state team in 21st place. Prairie Ridge's Will Gelon led the Wolves in 19th while Micah Linda paced Lakes in 32nd.

"It was really muddy, our boys ran their hearts out, and we had some illness earlier in the week," said Grayslake Central coach Jimmy Centella, whose team won Class 2A state titles in 2015 and 2016. "So we weren't really at 100 percent, and the times were about a minute slower because of the wind and mud. And the grass being all saturated made it a really tough day to run today."

After placing 12th in the state as a sophomore, Sato moved up one place to 11th in 2022. But overall, the Rams were disappointed with the final results at the end of the day as the course conditions really threw a monkey wrench into the competition.

"It was definitely a learning experience, we weren't too happy with the results, and we were all pretty disappointed," said Sato, whose team has five of its top seven runners coming back next year. "This year was the first year where we really had a chance to win, and next year I think we have a chance to win if we stay healthy."

In the Class 3A meet, Plainfield South barely nipped Hinsdale Central 88-89 for the team title while Downers Grove North (150 points) took home the third-place trophy.

Led by senior Dylan Myers' fourth-place finish, Lake Zurich's team had a solid sixth-place showing with 236 points while Palatine (257 points) placed eighth, and Maine South (271 points) ninth.

Sectional champion Palatine's troops were led by senior Mason Krieg in 12th place while Barrington's Joe Bregenzer was all-state in 24th. Buffalo Grove's Mario Torres fell just short of all-state honors in 28th while Conant's Vijay Krishnamoorthi led the Cougars in 33rd. Mundelein's Javier Mata placed 39th to edge Fremd's Rory Gaan in 41st. Lake Zurich's Braden Eckman placed 47th to edge Barrington's Ethan Scott in 48th. Maine South's Luca Arcuri rounded out the top 50 runners on the treacherous course.

"It was probably our best race of the season, and I'm really proud of the guys," said Lake Zurich coach J.B. Hanson. "They did a really good job of persevering under some really sloppy conditions. It was a mess, it was a state meet for the memories."

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