New Trier’s Later wins loaded Hinsdale meet
Updated: September 3, 2011 4:25PM
Unknown Leland Later of New Trier stuns the field to win at Hornet-Red Devil meet.
With a pair of returning runners from the top 20 in last year’s Class 3A state meet such as Neuqua Valley’s Taylor Soltys or Palatine’s Anthony Gregorio, few would have expected New Trier senior Leland Later to win the Hornet-Red Devil Invitational Saturday in Hinsdale.
After all, Later finished 44th last season in the state meet and wasn’t even New Trier’s top runner. With graduate Tommy King gone, Later is no longer overshadowed. Later (15:08.09) beat Palatine’s Peter Tomkiewicz (15:14.31) for the overall individual title Saturday at Legge Memorial Park.
Later pulled away from the lead pack with nearly a half mile remaining in the three-mile race. Later said it was his first win for a major varsity meet and his first victory since competing in the freshman conference meet for the Central Suburban League West.
“It felt good to get the first race out of the way,” Later said. “I’m excited about having a great season.”
To battle temperatures in the 80s, Later kept well hydrated by drinking 20-ounce bottles of water before races and has learned to eat better with an Italian meal on Friday nights. He ate a big breakfast of scrambled eggs, toast and a peach on Saturday morning.
Neuqua Valley senior Mark Derrick (15:19.44) finished third to lead the Wildcats (41 points) to the team title over Palatine (58). The Wildcats, who were third at the state meet, had all five of its runners in the top 12, including Soltys in seventh, Alekh Meka in eighth, Nick Bushelle 11th and Drew Smith 12th.
Senior Jack Feldman finished 14th (15:45.46) to lead Hinsdale Central, one of the co-hosts, to one of its top finishes in recent years. The Devils (132) were fourth with Tom Lyons in 23rd and Ted Owens in 29th.
“[The race] was not as I planned,” Feldman said. “I could have done better. It was only the first race.”
“I was dying out there [due to the heat]. I will definitely do better in the next few races. I run a lot with Tom Lyons. He’s our No. 2 guy, who is usually up there with me,” Feldman said.