Lincoln-Way East runs with heavy heartMarist's Kyle Houser and Andrew's Mike Keller battle for first throughout the race, Mike ended up in first with a time of 15:41 and Kyle finished in second with a time of 15:43, at the Tinley Park Cross Country Invitational hosted on Saturday at Midlothian Meadows. | Paul James Bergstrom~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 24, 2011 7:51PM
Lincoln-Way East’s boys cross country team ran for its fallen teammate Saturday, and ran quite well.
The Griffins captured the team title in the large-school Championship Division of the Tinley Park Invitational at Midlothian Meadows, finishing with 79 points to top Marist (88).
It was East’s second meet since freshman Pat Mizwicki was hit by a car and killed while practicing with the team September 15.
“Essentially, we’re dedicating the rest of the season to Pat,” said East’s Tom Rotondi, who, along with the rest of his teammates, wore shirts which read “We will miss you forever, Pat” after the race. “It’s been a tough week, but we have strong guys on this team. We really pulled together today.”
Rotondi (15 minutes, 57 seconds) finished third, 16 seconds behind individual champion Mike Keller, of Andrew.
“I stuck with the main guys for the first mile and a half then took off a bit,” Keller said. “I went the wrong way a couple times, so that didn’t help, but I was able to hold on at the end.”
Marist’s Kyle Houser (15:43) took third, Richards’ Tim Geraghty (16:02) fourth and Marist’s Cody Haberkorn (16:03) fifth.
For the Griffins, Ben Hedges finished 13th, Luke Johnston 15th, Eamonn Hughes 23rd and Alex Gilmore 25th.
“They did really well today,” East coach Ross Widinski said. “We certainly have doubled our efforts to do well for Pat. It’s been tough, but it’s times like this that bring out the best in people.”
Andrew (139) finished third.
Marist dominated the Championship Division girls race, scoring 22 points to easily outdistance Lincoln-Way East (58) and Joliet West (106).
The RedHawks’ Maggie O’Loughlin (18:22) was the individual champion, followed by her teammates Moira McDermott (18:50) and Anne Marie Leonard (19:01). Shepard’s Lauren Loomis (19:07) was fourth and Lincoln-Way East’s Nicole Nepote (19:08) fifth.
“It feels good to do so well as a team,” O’Loughlin said. “We didn’t run well Tuesday, but coming back and doing good here is a confidence builder.”
Lincoln-Way North (43), led by runner-up Dena Waldier (19:41), took the team title in the girls small-school Olympic Division ahead of Lemont (56) and Illiana Christian (76).
Kaitlyn Sendzik, of Mount Assisi, was the individual winner in 19:30. Lemont’s Amanda Ruban (19:44) was third, followed by Alexa Beezhold (19:46) and Emma Pawlowski (19:55), of Illiana.
Illiana (28) took the title in the boys Olympic Division behind individual champion Matt Hall (15:34). Runner-up Eric Lindelsee (15:40) led Oak Lawn (53) to a second-place finish.
Tony Wondaal (16:00), of Illiana, was third followed by Louis Henderson (16:20) and Luke Henderson (16:23), of Rich South.