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2008 IESA State Cross-Country Meet Saturday

A total of 883 runners from 159 different schools will compete in the four races at the 2008 Illinois Elementary School Association (IESA) State Final Cross-Country Meet Saturday (October 18) at Maxwell Park in Normal. This is year No. 30 for boys cross-country and year No. 29 for the girls. It is the 12th year of two-class cross-country for boys and girls.

The four races will be run 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. More than 4,000 people are expected to be at the races. 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 race 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 second time. 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. River City Race Management, Peoria, Illinois will be administering the chip scoring system.

In Class A Girls, 207 runners from 56 schools qualified for the state meet. In Class A Boys, 208 runners from 58 schools qualified for Saturday's race. In Class AA Girls, 234 runners from 60 schools qualified for the state meet. In Class AA Boys, 234 runners from 65 schools will compete Saturday. 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 27 fifth graders competing in the four races, 113 sixth graders, 297 seventh graders and 446 eighth graders. By race:

Class A Girls -- fifth graders at 16, sixth graders at 39, seventh graders at 57 and eighth graders at 92.

Class A Boys -- fifth graders at 7, sixth graders at 20, seventh graders at 75 and eighth graders at 106.

Class AA Girls -- fifth graders at 3, sixth graders at 42, seventh graders at 86 and eighth graders at 103.

Class AA Boys -- fifth graders at 1, sixth graders at 12, seventh graders at 79 and eighth graders at 142.

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 at 10:00 a.m.

Six of the top 11 individuals in last year's race return in 2008 and the battle to become state champion should be a wild one.

Sally Doak of Rock Island Jordan Catholic finished second in the state meet in 2007 in a time of 12:00 and won her sectional race last Saturday in 12:46. Julie James of El Paso-Gridley was third in the state meet in a time of 12:06 but did not win her sectional race Saturday. Last spring James won the 7AA 1600-meter race in the state track meet in a time of 5:15.01 and placed second in the 800 in a time of 2:23.99.

Hanna Winter of Arlington Heights Our Lady of the Wayside was seventh at the 2007 state meet and won her sectional in a time of 12:33. Last spring she was the seventh grade state champion in the 1600-meter run in a time of 5:28.20 and took third in the 800-meter run.

Mackenzie Griffin of Petersburg PORTA JHS was eighth at state last year in 12:21 and won her sectional in 12:19. Maddison Zimmer of Delavan was ninth at state a year ago in a time of 12:24 but did not win at the sectional last Saturday.

Normal Epiphany's Emily Brelsfoard is also a serious contender for the individual title and has a ton of state final experiences that could make a difference. Brelsfoard finished eleventh in the 2007 state cross-country meet in a time of 12:26 and won her sectional race this year with the best sectional time of 11:50. She was second behind Hanna Winter in the seventh grade Class A 1600 last spring and took fourth in the 800 to help her team tie for the state championship. She also was a hitter on the Epiphany volleyball team that made it to the state tournament and was point guard on the Epiphany girls basketball team that made it to the state tournament.

Buffalo Grove St. Mary's, Metamora GS, Peoria St. Philomena and Springfield St. Agnes appear to be solid contenders for the 2008 team title.

Metamora GS won the team title in a rugged sectional with 75 points to 87 for Bloomington Holy Trinity. The seven runners for the Redbirds are fifth grader Gillian Urycki, sixth graders Gabby and Joanna Anglin and Quinn Matthews and a trio of eighth graders -- Jojo Brockhouse, Jordan Terbush and Erika Wilson. The Anglins are cousins.

Buffalo Grove St. Mary's won the team title in the northern sectional with 59 points and only two eighth graders. They are Caitlin Kelley and Rachal Spizzirri. The other runners are fifth grader Madison Kemph, and four seventh graders - Nicole Bitter, Becky Callen, Fidas Ocampo and Allyssa Rao.

Peoria St. Philomena has only one eighth grader, Maureen Lawless, with two runners in fifth grade (Allison Dickerson and Cecelia Ricca), two in sixth grade (Abigail Ricca and Ellie Schwegel) and two in seventh grade (Abbie Cox and Ashlyn Rulis).

Springfield St. Agnes, which qualified both its girls and boys teams, is proof that the family that runs together wins sectional titles together.

Both teams won sectional titles last Saturday and two sets of twins in the McClain family are a big part of the success. Sixth grade twins Bridget and Meghan McClain compliment their eighth grade sister Meredith and her twin brother Glen, a member of the boys team. Meredith was the individual winner at the girls sectional Bridget was second and Meghan finished in the top 10.

The other members of the girls team are fifth grader Taylor Pohlman, sixth graders Lydia Nelson and Abby Sables and seventh grader Keeley Kolis.

Class A Boys at 10:45 a.m.

Beecher's Grant Nykaza is heavily favored to take the individual title, but the race for the team championship appears to be wide open.

Nykaza and Kyle Sims of Mason City Illini Central are the only returnees from among the top 15 individuals in last year's race. Nykaza was third in 2007 with a time of 11:02 and Sims was ninth in 11:22.

This year, Nykaza has not lost a Class A race. The only runner who beat him before the state series began was Peyton Schuermann of Normal Parkside.

Conversely, Schuermann has not lost a Class AA race this year and the only runner to beat him is Nykaza.

At the sectional last week, Sims won the individual race in a time of 11:00. Marc Dubrick of newcomer DeKalb St. Mary's also won his sectional race last week in 11:00. Nykaza, however, cruised home first in his sectional with a time of 10:45 and won by almost 90 seconds. DeKalb St. Mary's is competing in IESA cross-country for the first time this year.

Two teams scored identical points to top their sectional scoreboard. Rock Island Jordan Catholic and Elmwood each scored 50 points in their sectional.

Eureka and Stanford Olympia each scored 67 points. The widest margin of victory for a sectional team champion was 27 points where Liberty scored 48 points to runner-up Petersburg PORTA JHS with 75. The lowest sectional team score was posted by Springfield St. Agnes with 30 points on the rolling Lincoln Park course in Springfield.

Tremont took last year's team title but did not qualify a team for this year's meet.

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

Carly Pederson of Normal Chiddix is seeking to become the only three-time individual winner in the history of IESA boys and girls cross-country, but she'll have her work cut out for her.

As a sixth grader, Pederson won for the first time in 2006 with a time of 11:44. Last year she set the course record winning in 11:20. She is one of three two-time Class AA girl winners. The others are Amber Stack of Prospect Hts. MacArthur (2002-03) and Meghan Braffet of Normal Parkside (1997-98).

Three other girl runners, Alice Doyle (1981-82), Monica Mikulski (1987-88), and Jenny Zehr (1990-91) also were two-time winners when there was just one class. All three ran for Prospect Hts. MacArthur. Sarah Selby of Shelbyville was the only other two-time girl winner when she won the Class A race in 1997-98.

But, Pederson did not win the sectional. She ran 11:32 to finish four seconds behind Brooke Gordon of Normal Parkside (11:28) on the Maxwell Park course last Saturday. Gordon finished eleventh in last year's state meet in a time of 12:06 and will be a strong contender for the individual championship this year.

The top three individuals in the 2007 state meet were seventh graders and all return for a shot at a state title this year. Challenging Pederson for the individual title will be Brooke Wolfe of Mt. Prospect Lincoln, who was second last year in 11:39, and Nicole Choquette of Urbana MS, who was third last year in 11:44. Also returning from the top 10 individuals are sixth place finisher Ariane Wright of Edwardsville Liberty (11;54), and tenth place finisher Laura Hill of Wilmette JHS (12:04).

Choquette, Wolfe and Wright each won their sectional race. Choquette posted a time of 13:15, Wolfe ran 12:10 and Wright ran 12:13. J.J. Robinson of New Lenox Martino won her sectional race in 11:27.

Four teams won their sectional team title scoring in the 30's. Defending champion Chatham Glenwood won with 30 points. New Lenox Liberty with 32, and Homer Glen Homer and Normal Chiddix won with 38. For Chiddix, it was the first time this season that it finished ahead of cross-town rival Normal Parkside in team scoring.

Chatham Glenwood's team uses two sixth graders (Maggie Juhlin and Taylor Mueller), two seventh graders (Kristen Aydt and Clare Bennett) and three eighth graders (Delaney Dixon, Hannah Johnson and Lindsay Rogers) and won the sectional title by 32 points. New Lenox Liberty won its sectional by 38 points with a lineup of one sixth grader (Natalie Waters), three seventh graders (Ali Bianchi, Brittany King, Natalie Stefka) and three eighth graders (Danijela Jackovich, Emily Owens and Kara Winans).

Homer Glen Homer goes with sixth grader Emily Hahn, seventh graders Lacey Clarida, Courtney Hackett and Kelly Hearne, and eighth graders Courtney Correa, Erika Powers and Alexiss Santoni.

All three Normal schools qualified their teams for the state meet. Normal Chiddix uses two sixth graders (Katie Herrman, Natalie Martin) and five eighth graders (Holly Gregory, Rachel Hile-Broad, Rachel Roggenbuck, Alison Seger and Pederson). Normal Parkside counters with three sixth graders (Breanna Fairley, Andrea Gordon, Christy Hulett) and four eighth graders (Megan Kaiser, Kelsey Kinley, Bekka Rood and Brooke Gordon). Normal Kingsley goes with three seventh graders (Coraline Garrido, Rachel Johnson, Taylor Webber) and four eighth graders (Megan Cable, Carley Catherine, Emily Jacob, Lindsey Wiggs).

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

There were only four seventh graders among the top 22 individuals in the 2007 state meet, and two of them run for defending team champion Normal Parkside, which won the team title last year by 60 points over runner-up Buffalo Grove Cooper (49-109).

The top finishing individual returnee is Sebastian Pique of Darien Eisenhower, who placed ninth in a time of 10:54. Finishing eleventh last year was Tyler Yunk of Belvidere Central in 10:57. Normal Parkside had Peyton Schuermann in 13th at 10:57 and Taylor Hallatt in 15th at 10:59.

Pique won his sectional last Saturday in a time of 10:47. Yunk won his sectional with a time of 10:36. Schuermann won his sectional in 10:45 on the Maxwell Park course, and has not lost to a Class AA runner this year. The only runner to beat him is Grant Nykaza from Class A Beecher, and Schuermann is the only runner to beat Nykaza this year.

Oswego Plank entered IESA cross-country for the first time this year and Plank's Desmond Meyer won the sectional in a time of 10:41.

Schools tabbed as the teams to beat are Belvidere Central, New Lenox Martino and Normal Parkside.

Belvidere Central has a lineup of sixth grader Zack Lyons, seventh graders Chase Hill and Jacob Howe, and eighth graders Frank Degner, Jesse Laseman, Josh Whitcomb and Yunk.

New Lenox Martino uses five seventh graders (Kevin Fabian, Chris Kaminski, David Katula, Joe Nelson, J. T. Schmitt) and eighth graders Dru Rozewicki and Grant Vinkavich.

For the defending team champions, who won the sectional title with 22 points and a 47-point margin over runner-up Normal Chiddix, the seventh graders are Justin Dedianous and J.D. Lafayette and the eighth graders are River Gordon, Brenden Lucas, Baylor Wagehoft, Hallatt and Schuermann.



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