Cross Country: Naperville North boys, girls claim sectional titles
Updated: October 27, 2012 11:41PM
During summer practices, the Naperville North girls cross country team laid out its plans for the 2012 season with high expectations: Return to the IHSA state championships.
The Huskies fulfilled their preseason aspiration Saturday at Leroy Oakes Forest Preserve in St. Charles by taking first overall at the Class 3A St. Charles East Sectional. Naperville North had four runners place in the top 10, earning them a team score of 39, while Wheaton Warrenville South placed second.
Huskies sophomore Elly DeTurris — whose time of 17:11:9 led her team — will be making her second-straight trip to the state championships.
“I guess I would say that I’m a little less nervous than I was last year,” DeTurris said. “Just because I know the course and I know I can give it my all.”
Geneva (122), Naperville Central (145) and St. Charles North (175) rounded out the top-five schools going to state, joining Naperville North, Wheaton Warrenville South and Geneva.
Jacobs sophomore Lauren Van Vlierbergen finished second overall with a time of 16:58.9. She is one of seven individual runners whose schools didn’t crack the top five that will be making the trip down to state, joining Jacobs teammate Sam Baran, DeKalb’s Kelsey Schrader, Metea Valley’s Kendall Cast, Benet’s Audrey Blazek, St. Charles East’s Torre Scull and Batavia’s Dakota Roman.
The uphill terrain was at times difficult and tough at times for Roman, a freshman, but she was pleased with her time of 17:44.6, placing her 14th individually.
“After awhile, it’s kind of hard to stay mentally focused when you’re going uphill, so you kind of have to dig in,” Roman said.
As Naperville North’s girls’ team took first, its boys squad did just the same.
The Huskies team score of 80 trumped St. Charles North (111) and Wheaton Warrenville (155) for the top finishing team.
“These past few weeks we were focusing on speed training, so I think that’s what primarily got our team to the next level,” said Huskies’ senior Jimmy Qiao, who paced the way for his team, finishing first overall with a time of 15:05.5.
Naperville North coach David Racey said the one-to-five 22-second split was key to its top finish, and the Huskies will strive for the same results at state.
“If we can do that and move everyone up a little bit — with the exception of Jimmy, who won the race and ran great — then I think we’ll perform really well next week,” Racey said.
Naperville Central (166) and Wheaton North (174) also qualified among the top-five teams to finish at the event.
St. Charles North’s Spencer Gray led the North Stars by finishing second overall with a time of 15:12.5.
Batavia’s Trevor Hollis joins Geneva’s Michael Bianchina, Bartlett’s Connor Rachford, Rockford Jefferson’s Jason Reynolds, DeKalb’s Marc Dubrick, Huntley’s Keagan Smith and West Aurora’s Omar Gomez as individuals who advance to state even though their teams didn’t qualify.