Derrick, Soltys lead Neuqua to sectional title
Updated: October 29, 2011 9:14PM
Neuqua Valley’s boys cross country team came to Saturday’s Class 3A Lockport Sectional with two giant cutout heads of leading runners Mark Derrick and Taylor Soltys. It was appropriate considering the duo took first and second respectively in last week’s regional. Could they do it again this week?
The answer was a resounding yes as Derrick and Soltys turned in another 1-2 performance to lead the Wildcats to the championship. Their final team score of 56 was 50 points ahead of second-place finisher Hinsdale Central.
Derrick took an early comfortable lead that he never relinquished and ran the course in 15:28. Soltys was not far behind as he clocked in at 15:47.
“Our coaches are great at what they do,” said Derrick. “They always get us ready for the big races and I’ve definitely improved over the last few weeks.”
“Maybe compared to some other teams, we’ve looked good,” said coach Paul Vandersteen. “But what really matters is next weekend (at the state meet).”
Joining the Neuqua Valley boys at next week’s state final in Peoria will be their female counterparts. That’s because the girls cross country team qualified for the meet by finishing fifth out of all competing teams. A 161 score put them 21 points in front of sixth-place Sandburg.
Gina O’Brien led the Wildcats with a time of 19:20. That fell well short of cracking the list of the top five runners. However, the team helped their cause by having their next four finishers complete the course within a 30-second span.
“We knew going in that there were about 10 teams that realistically could go (to state),” said coach Tim McCoskey. “We knew honestly that six of those teams were vying for the last spot, so we’re thrilled that that was us today.”