Girls Cross Country: Sandburg’s Carly Krull crowned sectional champWillow Springs resident Scott Thyer (left) cheers on Bolingbrook and Stagg runners during the girls Marist Cross Country Sectional at Midlothian Meadow Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012, in Midlothian. | Matthew Grotto~Sun-Times Media
After two years on the swimming team at Sandburg, Carly Krull decided she wanted to run. That wasn’t good news for runners throughout the Southland and beyond.
The diminutive junior won the Class 3A Marist Sectional by 22 seconds Saturday at Midlothian Meadows to lead Sandburg to second place at the 21-team meet and a spot in the state finals.
“It’s really crazy. I never would have thought that would have happened,’’ said Krull. “This is just a great experience.’’
Team champion Downers Grove South (64), Sandburg (100), Hinsdale Central, (119), Lockport (131) and Lyons (142) advanced to Saturday’s state meet.
Krull covered the sometimes muddy Midlothian Meadows course in 17:05 to beat Hinsdale Central’s Jill Hardies (17:27), who was fifth in the 2011 state meet.
“With the wind, I didn’t want to go out leading because that would tire me out,’’ Krull said. “I just took control after the mile.’’
Leading a race unchallenged for the final two miles can take some getting used to, but Krull is handling the test.
“I’ve been really practicing focusing on just ‘Keep going, don’t settle’ because you can’t when you’re alone,’’ she said.
The other Sandburg scorers were Grace Foley (5th, 17:54), Maggie Sobolewski (24th, 18:34), Jacquelyn Schirmacher (30th, 18:42) and Annie Lebert (40th, 18:55).
Getting Lockport to the state finals were Bianca Wiemeyer (14th, 18:16), Kimberly Johnson (17th, 18:21), Courtney Correa (31st, 18:42), Aubrey Elwood (33rd, 18:43) and Taylor Stortz (36th, 18:49).
“All the kids ran great. Proud of every one of them,’’ Lockport coach Evon Marie Schlotter said.
Southland runners qualifying as individuals were Marist’s Maggie O’Loughlin (4th, 17:52) and Moira McDermott (18th, 18:23) and Shepard’s Lauren Loomis (8th, 18:03). O’Loughlin and McDermott are both repeat qualifiers, having finished 22nd and 90th, respectively, last year at state.
“It was muddy and kind of cold, but I thought it went really well,’’ O’Loughlin said of Saturday’s race. “I tried to have a strong finish. Unfortunately that girl (Oswego’s Kelsey Hjorth) got me. But she has an awesome kick.’’
Class 3A Normal Community Sectional: Samantha Ostmann (18:17) was eighth in the 3-mile contest in leading Lincoln-Way East (123) to a fourth-place finish and a spot in the state meet. Kaley McLawhorn (18:36) added an 11th-place showing for the Griffins at Maxwell Park. Fifth-place Lincoln-Way Central (133) also qualified for the state championships as Elizabeth Venezio (18:58) led the team with an 18th-place finish. Lincoln-Way North’s Abby Casey (19:17) will compete at state on an individual basis.
Class 2A Peoria Notre Dame Sectional: Lincoln-Way West’s Natalie Waters (17:39) was the top individual qualifier for the state meet by taking second in the 2.94-mile race at Illinois Central College.
Class 2A Wheaton Academy Sectional: Illiana Christian (103) captured a state berth by coming in fourth at Reed-Keppler Park. The Vikings’ top runner was Alexa Beezhold (18:12), who finished fifth over three miles at Reed-Keppler Park. Lemont produced a pair of individual state qualifiers in Victoria Salazar (19:01) and Claire Gagan (19:11).
Class 1A Lisle Sectional: Beecher (165) captured the final opening in the state meet by finishing fifth at Lisle Community Park. Jade Dooley (21:24) was the top individual for the Bobcats, finishing 17th in the 3.1-mile race.
Contributing: Josh Krockey