Cross country: Yorkville girls looking to make history at state meet

Story Image Oswego's Caleb Beck approaches the finish line during the boys Marist Cross Country Sectional at Midlothian Meadow Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012, in Midlothian. | Matthew Grotto~Sun-Times Media

Updated: October 31, 2012 8:55PM



Over the last three years, the Yorkville girls cross country team has had a great run at the IHSA state meet, and a big performance Saturday at Detweiller Park in Peoria will make it historic.

After finishing second in both 2009 and 2010, the Foxes broke through and won the first state title in the program’s history a year ago. That leaves Yorkville poised to become just the 11th school in state history to earn back-to-back cross country championships.

Yorkville is led by freshman Skyler Bollinger and features three other freshmen in its top seven. Senior Casey Kramer finished eighth a year ago and looks again for All-State (Top 25) honors.

“Our goal this season was to gain experience with this young team and put ourselves in position at the end of the year to have an opportunity to compete with the best in the state on state day,” Yorkville coach Chris Muth said. “I feel like we have done that.”

Yorkville will be joined in the Class 2A race by Kaneland, led by Victoria Clinton, who finished 11th a year ago. Geneva will compete in Class 3A after missing the meet in 2011.

Individuals competing in Peoria include Rebecca Wert of Aurora Christian (1A), Karina Liz and Jenna Koerner from Aurora Central (2A), Kara Kalisz of Rosary (2A), Kendall Cast of Metea Valley (3A), Dakota Roman from Batavia (3A) and Ashley Golembeski and Kelsey Hjorth from Oswego (3A).

Hjorth is a returning All-Stater after finishing 13th last year.

Yorkville will also be running in the boys 2A race after winning its first sectional title in school history last weekend. The Foxes have made five straight trips to state and are seeking their first trophy, which are awarded to the top three teams.

The Foxes are led by sophomores Luke and Jake Hoffert, and all seven runners who competed at sectionals for Yorkville have state meet experience.

Aurora Central, which heads to state for the first time since 2006, will compete in 2A, as will Kaneland, which advanced from the tough Belvidere Sectional and will head to Peoria for the second straight year.

With several strong teams in 2A and no clear-cut favorite, the battle for the team title in the boys race will be hotly contested. Defending champion Belvidere North is back, and will have top teams like Yorkville, Glenbard North, Illiana Christian and Chicago Jones Prep to contend with if they want to join Paris (1946-49) and York as the only teams to win four straight titles.

York has won five straight twice and took home six in a row from 1989-94.

“Going into this season many experts predicted that 2A would be as competitive, if not more, as 3A,” Aurora Central coach Troy Kerber said. “(Class) 2A is loaded with great athletes and teams and this may be the strongest year ever in 2A.”

Boys individual competitors include Jake Gehman from Aurora Christian (1A), Mooseheart’s Wal Khat (1A), Max Morello of Plano (1A), Omar Gomez from West Aurora (3A), Trevor Hollis of Batavia (3A), Michael Bianchina from Geneva (3A) and Caleb Beck from Oswego (3A).

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