Boys Cross Country: Later’s time is now at state meet
Updated: November 3, 2011 6:56PM
New Trier’s Leland Later didn’t get ahead of himself last week, and he didn’t let anyone else get ahead of him either.
In a battle of two of the state’s top distance runners, Later held off Oak Park-River Forest’s Malachy Schrobilgen by 10 seconds to win the Class 3A Niles West Sectional.
“I’m really happy with the result obviously, but really what matters is the state meet next weekend,” Later said after covering the flat, turn-heavy course in a 3A sectional-best 14 minutes, 34 seconds.
It’s been a breakout year for Later, whose notable victories include invitational titles at Palatine and Hinsdale Central/Hinsdale South. At the state meet at Detweiller Park in Peoria, he’ll face Schrobilgen again, along with Neuqua Valley’s 1-2 duo of Mark Derrick and Taylor Soltys and Edwardsville’s Garrett Sweatt, among others.
“Ever since June, it’s been the goal to race well at the state meet,” Later said. “And I think I gave myself a lot of confidence with the final kick there [at the sectional].”
Also creating some positive vibes at Niles West was York, which is hoping to give coaching legend Joe Newton his second consecutive Class 3A title and 27th overall. The Dukes had a front-runner last year in current North Carolina freshman Jack Driggs, but this season they’re evoking memories of the Long Green Line teams of the past with a tight pack.
“Thirty-second split last week [at the regional for the top five runners] and now a 30-second split this week,” Newton said after the sectional. “If we could get it down to 20, then it’s really an old-time York team.”
The team race figures to boil down to York, ranked No. 2 by DyestatIl.com; No. 1 Palatine, and No. 3 Neuqua Valley.