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2007 IESA State Cross-Country Meet Saturday

A total of 886 runners from 155 different schools will compete in the four races in the 2007 Illinois Elementary School Association (IESA) State Final Cross-Country Meet Saturday (October 13) at Maxwell Park in Normal. This is year No. 29 for boys cross-country and year No. 28 for the girls. It is the 11th year of two-class cross-country for boys and girls.

The four races will be run beginning Saturday morning on the 3200-meter course at Maxwell Park. The Awards Ceremonies will be held in the gymnasium at Parkside Junior High School. The course winds its way behind and around the school, is relatively flat, and provides excellent viewing for all spectators. There is no admission fee.

The schedule of races will be: Class A Girls at 10:00 a.m.; Class A Boys at 10:45 a.m.; Class AA Girls at 11:45 a.m.; Class AA Boys at 12:30 p.m. The Class A Award Ceremony is scheduled to begin at 1:00 p.m. The Class AA Award Ceremony will start at 2:30. The top 25 individuals in each class earn a medallion. Trophies are awarded to the top four schools in each class and members of those teams each receive a medallion.

Computer chip scoring will be used in Saturday's races for the first time. No longer will the runners be funneled into a series of chutes at the conclusion of the race. The runners will "run through" the finish line like they do in a track meet. The runners wear a computer chip on each foot and the chip registers electronically on sensors at the finish line. Mercury Sports Group, Peoria, Illinois will be administering the chip scoring system.

In Class A Girls, 206 runners from 56 schools qualified for the state meet. In Class A Boys, 205 runners from 56 schools qualified for Saturday's race. In Class AA Girls, 234 runners from 65 schools qualified for the state meet. In Class AA Boys, 241 runners from 61 schools will compete Saturday. There was a tie for third place in one of the Class AA boys sectionals which is why there are seven more runners in the Boys Class AA race than the Girls Class AA race. There were 8 Class A sectionals and 9 Class AA sectionals. The top 3 teams plus the first 5 individuals not on one of the top 3 teams qualify for the state meet.

There are a total of 19 fifth graders competing in the four races, 113 sixth graders, 267 seventh graders and 487 eighth graders. By race:

Class A Girls -- fifth graders at 13, sixth graders at 33, seventh graders at 70 and eighth graders at 90. Class A Boys -- fifth graders at 3, sixth graders at 28, seventh graders at 63 and eighth graders at 111. Class AA Girls -- fifth graders at 2, sixth graders at 35, seventh graders at 64 and eighth graders at 133. Class AA Boys -- fifth graders at 1, sixth graders at 17, seventh graders at 70 and eighth graders at 153.

The complete roster of runners in each of the four races, and their starting boxes, are on the IESA Web Site at www.iesa.org. Results of the meet will be posted on the web site Saturday evening.

Here is a breakdown of each race:

Class A Girls Race at 10:00 a.m.

Defending team champion Springfield St. Agnes has a whole new cast of characters and will be challenged by Petersburg PORTA JHS and several others, while defending individual champion Kristin Rauh of Metamora GS tries to become the second two-time winner in the Class A girls meet and the 7th overall two-time champion in the history of the girls state series. The only girl to win two Class A individual races was Sarah Selby of Shelbyville Moulton in 1997 and 1998.

Springfield St. Agnes rolled to the team title a year ago scoring 49 points to the 109 of runner-up Metamora Germantown Hills. This year St. Agnes has only one eighth grader on the team. She is Brigid Cavanaugh. The lone seventh grader is Meredith McClain. Sixth graders on the team are Hannah Bitzer, Abby Sables and Laura Seadler. Meghan McClain and Taylor Pohlman, both fifth graders, complete the roster. St. Agnes won their Sectional with a score of 40 points.

Petersburg PORTA JHS won their Sectional with 27 points. Eighth graders on the Bluejays' roster are Sierra O'Connor, Taylor Thompson and Amy Yeoman. Seventh graders are Heather Brooks, Mackenzie Griffin, and Madison Scaggs. Rachael Sampson is a sixth grader.

Three other schools won their sectional titles scoring 44 or less points. They are Peoria St. Philomena (42), St. Joseph (42) and Robinson Nuttall (44). Springfield Lincoln finished second to St. Agnes in the sectional with 41 points.

Last year, Kristin Rauh of Metamora GS won the Class A girls individual title in a time of 12:05. She won her Sectional race this year in 12:10. The next best sectional winning time was 12:42 by Julie James of El Paso-Gridley.

Four of the top 20 individuals from last year's Class A girls race return this year. Joining Rauh are last year's 12th place finisher Kalan Wyatt of Chrisman Scottland (12:41), No. 13 Haley Briggs of Argenta-Oreana (12:45) and 17th place finisher Dneesha Hamiel of East St. Louis Jackson (12:53). Briggs won her sectional race this year in 12:45.

Schools with teams in the Class A girls race are: Agrenta-Oreana, Arlington Heights Our Lady of the Wayside, Beecher, Buffalo Grove St. Mary's, Burr Ridge Gower, Champaign St. Matthew, Downs Tri-Valley, East St. Louis Jackson, Effingham St. Anthony, Liberty, Metamora Germantown Hills, Metamora GS, Normal Epiphany, Peoria St. Philomena, Petersburg PORTA JHS, Pleasant Plains, Robinson Nuttall, Shelbyville Moulton, Springfield Lincoln, Springfield St. Agnes, St. Joseph, Tremont, Wadsworth Millburn and Westmont JHS.

Class A Boys Race at 10:45 a.m.

Last year's team champion, Fox River Grove, did not enter the 2007 state series and only four of the top 20 individuals from last year return.

Metamora GS finished second in the team scoring a year ago with 170 points to the 165 of Fox River Grove. The team to beat, however, appears to be Tremont, which won their Sectional team title with 20 points. The lowest point total a team can score in a cross-country meet is 15 points.

Eighth graders Jordan Rauh (30th last year in 11:52) and Adam Parr (94th in 12:28) are the veteran runners for Metamora GS. Other eighth graders on the team are Michael Crottea and Chance Terbush. Seventh graders are Wesley Beck, Sean Thill and Kyle Thompson.

Tremont's lineup includes eighth graders Cole Dill, Bryan Green, Caleb Pflederer, Taylor Schweigert and Sam Stuber. Two sixth graders on the team are Connor Ehnle and Caleb Imig.

The top returning individual is Matthew Avenatti of Chrisman Scottland. He finished fifth in 2006 in a time of 11:18 and won his sectional race this year in a time of 11:35. The other top 20 returnees are Ian Lee of Paxton-Buckley-Loda (12th in 2006 in 11:32), Zach Elkins of St. Joseph (14th in 11:34) and Kurt Fornoff of Havana (16th in 11:35). Fornoff won his sectional this year in 11:41.

The battle for the Class A boys individual title appears to be wide open. Four of the sectional winners this year won in times within six seconds of one another. Leading the way was Anthony Cataldo of Arlington Heights Our Lady of the Wayside with a time of 11:32. Next was the 11:33 of Tyler Morse of Peoria Limestone Walters. At 11:35 was Avenatti of Chrisman Scottland and Michael Clevenger of Decatur Johns Hill posted a time of 11:38. Of course, times in cross-country can vary greatly due to differences in course terrain, weather, etc.

Schools with teams in the Class A Boys race are: Athens, Beecher, Champaign St. Matthew, Decatur Johns Hill, East St. Louis Clark, Effingham St. Anthony, Elmwood, Lake Zurich St. Francis deSales, Manhattan, Mason City Illini Central, Metamora GS, Mt. Prospect St. Emily, Paxton-Buckley-Loda, Philo St. Thomas, Pleasant Plains, Robinson Nuttall, Rock Island Jordan Catholic, Springfield Lincoln, Springfield St. Agnes, Stanford Olympia, Tremont, Wadsworth Millburn and Westmont JHS.

Class AA Girls Race at 11:45 a.m.

Seven of the top 10 individual finishers in last year's Class AA girls race return. Defending champion Carly Pederson, a seventh grader from Normal Chiddix, tops the list of contenders for the 2007 individual crown. Oak Park Julian, Homer Glen Homer and Chatham Glenwood appear to be the teams to beat for the team title.

Carly Pederson, who ran away from the field last year as a 6th grader, is the odds on favorite to become the third individual in Class AA and the 7th girl (depending on what Metamora's Kristin Rauh does in the Class A girls race) to win back-to-back individual titles in the 28 year history of the girls state series. She won last year's race by 16 seconds in a time of 11:44 and in doing so became the first 6th grader, boy or girl, to win an individual title. A win this Saturday will give her a chance at becoming the first ever three time individual champion in 2008. Pederson won this year's sectional on the Maxwell Park course in 11:22. The all-time girls state meet best time on the Maxwell Park course is 11:29 by Amber Stack of Prospect Hts. MacArthur when she was a seventh grader in the 2002 Class AA race. Alice Doyle, also of Prospect Hts. MacArthur, ran the fastest race in girls IESA history in 1982 when she won the single class event on the course at Kankakee Community College in a time of 11:26.

The other returning top 10 finishers from last year are: Brooke Wolfe of Mt. Prospect Lincoln (4th place in 12:13), Liz Reyes of Oak Park Julian (5th place in 12:15), Olivia Jones of Buffalo Grove Cooper (7th in 12:18), Megan O'Brien of Homer Glen Homer (8th in 12:19), Brooke Gordon of Normal Parkside (9th as a sixth grader in 12:21) and Kiley Saundars of Shorewood Troy (10th in 12:24).

Olivia Jones won her sectional race this year in 12:06. Megan O'Brien won her sectional race in 11:39. Liz Reyes won her sectional in 12:25. Taylor Schissler of Frankfort Summit Hill was the only other 2007 sectional champion under 12:00 with a time of 11:50.

Twice in Class AA girls history has a runner won back-to-back titles. In 1997 and 1998 Meghan Braffert of Normal Parkside was champion. Amber Stack won in 2002 and 2003 for Prospect Hts. MacArthur. When girls cross-country was just a single class, Alice Doyle (1981 and 1982); Monica Mikulski (1987 and 1988); and Jenny Zehr (1990 and 1991) all won back-to-back individual titles. Each of those girls ran for Prospect Hts. MacArthur.

Oak Park Julian scored 17 points to win their Sectional team title this year. In addition to Liz Reyes, Oak Park Julian's roster includes eighth graders Carolina Cotton, Kelly Hobin, Katie Kurtz, Abby Nevins and Nina Rossiello and sixth grader Erin Schrobilgen.

Homer Glen Homer and Chatham Glenwood each won their sectional with 28 points. Meghan O'Brien is one of five eighth graders on the Homer Glen Homer team. The others are Julie Divita, Stephanie Sanders, Samantha Spencer, and Liz Wahl. Seventh grade runners are Courtney Correa and Erika Powers. Chatham Glenwood, last year's team runner-up, has three runners who finished in the top 20 last year. All eighth graders, they are Katherine Short (No. 15 in 12:28, Nicole Joerger (No. 16 in 12:29 and Rachel Kobayashi (No. 18 in 12:30). Other members of the team are eighth graders Lauren Mueller and Brittany Peterburs, seventh grader Lindsay Rogers and sixth grader Kristen Aydt.

Teams entered in the Class AA girls race are: Algonquin Heineman, Arlington Heights South, Barrington Station, Belvidere Central, Bolingbrook Jane Addams, Buffalo Grove Cooper, Cary, Champaign Edison, Chatham Glenwood, East Peoria Central, Edwardsville Liberty, Edwardsville Lincoln, Flossmoor Parker, Frankfort Hickory Creek, Freeport, Homer Glen Homer, Lake Zurich North, Lemont Old Quarry, Mahomet-Seymour, Mt. Prospect Lincoln, Mt. Zion, New Lenox Martino, Normal Chiddix, Normal Parkside, Oak Park Julian, River Forest Roosevelt and Shorewood Troy.

Class AA Boys Race at 12:30 p.m.

Last year Normal Parkside won the Class AA boys team title with 62 points. Oak Park Julian was second with 94. Both bring seasoned teams to the meet this year. Five of last year's top 20 individuals return led by Lukas Verzbickas of New Lenox Liberty, who was fourth in 2006 in a time of 10:54.

Normal Parkside scored 20 points to win this year's sectional. The Pythons return five runners who ran in last year's race. They are eighth graders Logan Abeling (7th in 11:00), Eric Gordon (27th in 11:20), Logan Degroot (33rd in 11:28), Caleb Wiebenga (48th in 11:41) and seventh grader Peyton Scheuermann (49th in 11:42). Two other seventh graders on the team are River Gordon and Taylor Hallatt. Degroot won his sectional last Saturday in a time of 10:54.

Oak Park Julian will counter with three eighth graders who ran well a year ago. They are Malachy Schrobilgen (17th in 11:11), Jason Hameister (26th in 11:19) and Nick Reyes (37th in 11:33. Other members of the team are eighth grader Danny Winters, seventh graders Alex Darnall and Sam Walder and sixth grader Sam Demaree. Oak Park Julian won its sectional title with 45 points.

Other team contenders are Mahomet-Seymour (23 points in the sectional), Buffalo Grove Cooper (27 points in the sectional) and Belvidere Central (32 points in the sectional).

In addition to Lukas Verbickas, the returning top 20 runners from a year ago are Normal Parkside's Logan Abeling (No. 7 in 11:00), Garrett Sweatt of Edwardsville Lincoln (No. 8 in 11:01), Jereme Atchison of Buffalo Grove Cooper (No. 16 in 11:11) and Oak Park Julian's Malachy Schrobilgen (No. 17 in 11:11).

Three of this year's sectional individual champions won their race in a time under 11:00. Lukas Verzbickas of New Lenox Liberty posted the best time with a 10:17. Next was Jereme Atchison of Buffalo Grove Cooper at 10:46 and Logan Degroot of Normal Parkside at 10:54. Stephen Garrett of Bolingbrook Jane Addams won in 11:00.

Schools with teams in the Class AA boys race are: Arlington Heights South, Arlington Heights Thomas, Barrington Station, Belvidere Central, Buffalo Grove Cooper, Cary, Champaign Franklin, Channahon, Chatham Glenwood, Dunlap MS, East Peoria Central, Edwardsville Lincoln, Homer Glen Homer, Johnsburg JHS, Lake Zurich North, Lemont Old Quarry, Lockport Oak Prairie, Mahomet-Seymour, McHenry MS, Minooka, Mt. Zion, New Lenox Martino, Normal Kingsley, Normal Parkside, Oak Park Julian, River Forest Roosevelt, Springfield Franklin and Woodridge Jefferson.



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