Valpo captures sixth straight titleKristin Fritts of Kankakee Valley, (from left) Katelyn Devries of Valparaiso and Jordan Chester of Boone Grove push through to the finish in the 1600-meter. | Stephanie Dowell~Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 9, 2012 9:54AM
NEW CARLISLE — After a while it just becomes second nature. With two full campaigns against each other, Valparaiso’s Katelyn DeVries and LaPorte’s Elena Lancioni know how their meetings will play out.
Things will be tight until the very end.
Since Lancioni entered the scene as a freshman last year, the battle has been continuous. Especially when it matters most. Recently, Lancioni beat the senior at the Duneland Conference meet and then lost at the sectional. Saturday’s New Prarie Cross Country Regional, as expected, was also a dogfight.
“It was about halfway down the straight-away when I decided to take off,” said DeVries, who won the duel by nearly five seconds for medalist honors (in 18:55.7), topping her fourth-place finish in 2010. “It (losing DAC) made me want to beat her or get with her more.”
Added Lancioni, who’s notched second two years straight: “The whole race we were back and forth; it was hard with the wind, today, but yeah. She was right next to me the whole time and I just tried to push it.”
Using that dynamic finish, Valparaiso (No. 3 on the all-time list) tore away with its sixth consecutive title by a lopsided 33-60 score over Portage. The conference rivals will be joined by Chesterton (third), New Prarie (fourth) and Kankakee Valley (fifth) at next weekend’s semistate at the same spot.
DeVries was complemented by a third-place mark from freshman teammate Alison Mundell.
“They just kind of feed off each other; especially at the beginning of the race” Vikings coach Karen DeVries said.
Even with Lancioni (who moves on individually) the Slicers were still narrowly edged 161-162 by KV. Solid contributions, including those of four first-year runners, helped the Kougars punch their third ticket in five years to semistate.
“I think success breeds on itself, too,” said KV coach Lane Lewallen. “I thought that we had a valid chance if we ran really well.”