Cross Country: Jacobs sophmore Lauren Van Vlierberge makes splash at state

Story Image Kaneland sophomore Victoria Clinton sprints for the finish to place first overall at the 2012 Class 2A girls cross country state finals on Saturday, November 3, 2012, in Peoria. | Jeff Cagle~For Sun-Times Media

Updated: November 3, 2012 10:05PM

PEORIA — Lauren Van Vlierberge’s name will not be any easier to pronounce in the future.

But, you can probably just refer to her as “future and current star”.

The fresh-faced Jacobs sophomore took seventh in the Class 3A state finals, finishing the three-mile Detweiller Park course in 16:47. Since 2007, when the classes were split into three, less than 20 females have run faster in Class 3A. Seven, including the new record holder, Glenbard West junior Madeline Perez, competed on Saturday.

“I wanted to finish in the top 10 and break 17 minutes,” said Van Vlierberge. “It was a mental battle to stay up with the leaders, but I did it. I am extremely pleased with this time.”

A total of 16 runners broke 17 minutes. Of those athletes, only seven will be graduating. Three of the top five are seniors.

The St. Charles North girls team took 17th as a team, scoring 308 points.

“We wanted to finish in the top 15, but nothing went wrong with our race,” said St. Charles North coach Shari Hayes. “I thought we would have a little bit more improvement.”

The North Stars were led by junior Ashley England, who finished 40th in 17:29. The other St. Charles runners included Nina Olshever (67th, 17:48), Kaylee Wessel (127th, 18:23), Nicole Lopez (137th, 18:28), Shelby Artman (144th, 18:34), Elle Murata (170th, 18:53) and Fabiola Ortiz (188th, 19:11).

Boys Cross Country

Spencer Gray of St. Charles North finished his career with a 41st-place finish in the Class 3A boys race, crossing the finish line in 15:02.

“I wanted to break 15:00 pretty bad and was disappointed that I did not accomplish that at first,” said Gray. “But, I have run this course a few times and this was my best time by 30 seconds. I wanted to take it out and have a great finish. I stuck to my plan, I wanted to be slightly under 4:50 at the mile and I was.”

The North Stars took 20th as a team, finishing with 459 points. Other than Gray, the finishers included Nathan Klair (104th, 15:26), Nick Borger (110th, 15:27), Ryan McSweeney (167th, 15:50), Ryan Joyce (168th, 15:50), Kevin Davis (180th, 15:57) and Keane O’Kelley (201st, 16:23).

“We had high hopes and high expectations,” said St. Charles North coach Kevin Harrington. “We wanted to improve on our sectional performance. It was not magical, but it was a good race for us. All of our guys dropped time.”

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