Naperville Central’s Amanda Fox closing on state
Updated: October 29, 2011 4:05PM
For a cross country runner, it isn’t always easy to keep pushing yourself to the finish line when you’re so far out front that the rest of the field isn’t even within shouting distance.
But Naperville Central senior Amanda Fox is pretty used to it by now.
Fox was dominant yet again at Saturday’s Class 3A Wheaton North Sectional at St. James Farm, winning the individual title in advance of a return trip to next Saturday’s state meet at Detweiller Park in Peoria.
Fox finished in 16:57.9, a whopping 36.5 seconds ahead of the field.
“(I was pushed) a little bit at the beginning, but then I just heard people cheering for me and that kind of pushed me and that kind of pushed me and kept me going,” Fox said. “I just always mentally stay tough and stay strong.”
Fox finished 34th at state a year ago, but she now has to be considered one of the main favorites to contend for the championship this year.
“My goal is to place all-state and hopefully top 10,” Fox said. “I know there will be a lot of girls coming on strong at the state meet. It’s always very fast. I’ll just try to stay with the front pack and just go from there, stay strong.”
While Fox ruled the day individually, it was Naperville North that made the biggest splash as a team, in both the boys and girls races. The Huskies picked up a clean sweep, winning both races.
On the girls side, North scored 73 points to finish ahead of Wheaton Warrenville South (80) and St. Charles East (81). Benet claimed the fifth and final team qualifying spot with a 186.
The Huskies relied on youth to advance, as their top three finishers were underclassmen. Sophomore Maria McDaniel was first across the line for North in sixth. Freshman Elly DeTurris was eighth and junior Kimber Meyer was 12th.
“It hasn’t been that way all season,” North coach Dan Iverson said of the Huskies’ sudden youth movement. “It’s a case of girls progressing throughout the season.”
Benet’s best finish came from junior Audrey Blazek in 19th place, but it was enough to edge Naperville Central for the final team qualifying slot. Waubonsie Valley junior Ashley Bruner (seventh) and Metea Valley sophomore Kendall Cast (11th) qualified for state as individuals.
The Huskies dominated the boys race with 60 points, easily ahead of St. Charles North (97). Junior Griffin Haugen led the way in fifth, but a strong pack of Huskies behind him helped them ease to the team title. Sophomore Jake Pecorin (14th), senior Dan Emrie (15th), junior Sam Ceruti (17th) and junior Jimmy Qiao (19th) comprised that pack.
Metea Valley senior twins Joe and Matt Stewart finished in the top two spots individually to advance to state. Joe finished in 14:50.1 to win it, 14.5 seconds ahead of Matt.
“Usually we just try to stay as close together as possible to help each other out,” Matt Stewart said. “It’s easier when you see your twin brother right next to you.”
Benet’s Matt Rurka finished 12th to take the seventh and final individual qualifying spot.