Depth leads New Trier to invitational titleLibertyville, 09/17/11-- New Trier's Carter Kofman in the Varsity Boys 3 mile run Saturday morning during the Libertyville Cross Country Invitational at Adler Park. | Eric Davis ~ For Sun-Times Media
New Trier exercised its depth Saturday by resting two of its best runners, and the Trevians still won Libertyville’s invitational.
Even though coach John Burnside gave Julie Jackson and Molly Krueger the day off at Adler Park, the Trevians topped the field with 34 points to win their third invitational title this season.
New Trier was helped by its lead pack, which finished 2-3-4. And for the third time in three wins, the Trevian medalist was different.
Courtney Ackerman took her turn in front by placing second in 17:52.64. Twin sister Jessica was third in 17:52.96, while freshman Mimi Smith finished fourth in 17:53.18.
Prospect’s Brooke Wolfe won the race in 17:46.98.
“Depth always has been a strength of ours, but now we’ve added some front-runners,” Trevian coach Jim Burnside said. “That’s why we are having so much success.”
Smith’s effort came as no surprise to those who follow cross country. Before coming to New Trier, she set the IESA record for the fastest mile by an eighth-grader. She was ranked by ESPN’s Dyestat even before competing in her first varsity race.
“The great word for her is ‘potential,’ ” Burnside said. “We haven’t seen her reach it yet. The great thing about her is that she’s extraordinarily focused and flexible. She listens to direction but has excellent instincts.”
With Jackson and Krueger on the sideline, New Trier turned to Kathleen Keene and Kaitlin Frei to form the second pack. Keene finished 12th (19:16.59), and Frei was right behind her in 13th (19:26.37).
“They stepped up and made a huge difference,” the coach said. “We are lucky to have this kind of depth.”
Earlier this month, New Trier won a 29-team invitational at Peoria’s Detweiller Park, site of the State Meet. The Trevians went 3-4-5 there, with Jessica Ackerman leading the way.
New Trier will next compete in Oak Park-River Forest’s invitational at Schiller Woods.
“One of the things we are looking to do is expand our depth,” Burnside said. “We probably will shake up the lineup again and see what we can do. The season is long and it’s nowhere near the end. We want to make sure we are using all of the instruments we have.”
New Trier boys
The Trevians placed three runners in the top 10 on their way to a third-place finish at Libertyville. New Trier finished with 86 points; Prospect won the meet with 54.
Dominic Gattuso placed ninth in 16:18.25. He was followed by Carter Kofman in 15th (16:31.57) and Andrew Murdoch in 17th (16:36.26).
Prospect’s Michael Leet won the title in 15:27.74.
New Trier will split its squad during the weekend, running at both Oak Park-River Forest and Palatine.