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Four Races Saturday in IESA State Cross-Country Meet

A total of 727 athletes will compete in the four races in the 2005 Illinois Elementary School Association State Final Cross-Country Meet Saturday at Maxwell Park in Normal. This is year No. 27 for boys cross-country and year No. 26 for the girls. It is the ninth 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.

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 schedule 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. Members of the top four teams in each race earn medallions. The top four schools receive a trophy.

In Class A Girls there are 181 runners from 53 schools. In Class AA Girls there are 182 runners from 44 schools. In Class A Boys there are 182 runners from 46 schools. In Class AA Boys there are 182 runners from 46 schools. A total of 92 Class A schools entered the 2005 state series and 66 qualified athletes for either or both of the Class A races. A total of 94 Class AA schools entered the 2005 state series and 59 qualified athletes for either or both of the Class AA races.

There are a total of 14 fifth graders competing in the four races, 111 sixth graders, 244 seventh graders and 358 eighth graders. By race:

Class A Girls -- fifth graders at 4, sixth graders at 35, seventh graders at 65 and eighth graders at 77.
Class A Boys -- fifth graders at 7, sixth graders at 33, seventh graders at 64 and eighth graders at 78.
Class AA Girls -- fifth graders at 1, sixth graders at 27, seventh graders at 62 and eighth graders at 92.
Class A Boys -- fifth graders at 2, sixth graders at 16, seventh graders at 53 and eighth graders at 111.

The complete roster of runners in each of the four races is on the IESA Web Site at 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.

Defending team champion Elmwood is one of 21 schools competing for the team title. Elmwood won last year with 156 points and returns four of the seven runners. The returnees are eighth graders Katelyn Dwyer, Taylor Neiders and Colby Wineland, and sixth grader Hailey McFall, who finished No. 82 in the state meet last year as a fifth grader. Top returning finisher for Elmwood is Taylor Neiders who finished No. 33. Colby Wineland was No. 53 and Katelyn Dwyer No. 125 in 2004.

Teams joining Elmwood in the battle for the team title are Auburn, Brimfield, Burr Ridge Gower, Chrisman Scotland, Decatur Our Lady of Lourdes, Downers Grove Lakeview, Downs Tri-Valley, Easton Illini Central, Manhattan, Metamora Germantown Hills, Mt. Prospect St. Emily, Ottawa St. Patrick, Paxton-Buckley-Loda, Petersburg PORTA, Shelbyville Moulton, Springfield St. Agnes, St. Joseph, Tremont, Urbana Home Hi, Willowbrook Westview Hills.

The first race of the day Saturday could be one of the best ever. A foursome of high finishers in last year's meet lead the way - two of them transfers. The leading returnee from a year ago is Kelly Curran of Bloomington Holy Trinity who finished fourth in cross-country in a time of 12:26. Curran was in seventh grade last year and was fifth in last spring.s Class 8A 800-meter run and third in the Class 8A 1600-meter run at the IESA State Track and Field Meet. Amanda Duvendack of Metamora Germantown Hills finished ninth in cross-country last year in 12:43. Kelsey Herridge finished sixth in 12:34 last year for Elmwood and this year leads the Brimfield team. Coal City's Megan Petty is a transfer from Shorewood Troy where she finished sixth in the 2004 Class AA meet in 12:00. Shorewood Troy dropped sports at the school last spring and reinstated most sports this fall.

Class A Boys at 10:45 a.m.

The top two teams from last year are expected to battle it out again in 2005. Fox River Grove rolled to first place with 51 points and Paxton-Buckley-Loda was runnerup with 119. Third place was Rantoul Eater, which moved up to Class AA this year and qualified its team for Saturday.s large school race.

All seven runners for Fox River Grove were eighth graders last year. The brand new crew for this year.s race includes eighth grader Ryan Gustafson, sixth grader Tyler Anderson and seventh graders Cody Busic, Jacob Cunningham, Chris Henk, Dan Hernandez and William Jamebro. Busic won last week's Class A sectional in 11:32.

Paxton-Buckley-Loda is led by eighth grader Tom Pacey who finished ninth in last year's state meet in 11:26. He won his Sectional in 11:13 last weekend. Joining him are eighth graders Derek Bristle, who went 12:07 in the state meet, Adam Kyrouac and Mike Sagen along with sixth graders Ian Lee and Dallas Glazik.

A sleeper could be Metamora Grade School, which rolled to the Sectional C team title with a blistering 17 points. Leading the way for Metamora Grade School is Ryan Van Fossen, last year's tenth place individual finisher in 11:28. Van Fossen won the sectional in 11:10. He is joined by eighth graders Greg Coffman, Ryan Donnelly, Derek Holapple, Stephan Rauh and Nate Wilson. Seventh grader Kevin Kamm is the other runner.

Schools with full teams in the Class A boys meet are Beecher, Bloomington Holy Trinity, Champaign St. Matthew, Chrisman Scotland, Clifton Nash, Delavan, Easton Illini Central, Elmwood, Fox River Grove, Metamora Grade School, Mt. Prospect St. Emily, Paxton-Buckley-Loda, Pekin St. Joseph, Peotone, Petersburg PORTA, Rochester, Springfield Lincoln, Springfield St. Agnes, St. Joseph, Toledo Cumberland and Willowbrook Westview Hills.

The individual race should be a battle among Busic, Pacey and Van Fossen. Pacey won both the 800-meter run and 1600-meter run in the 7AA Boys State Track Meet last spring. Van Fossen won the 7A 1600 and finished second in the 800.

Class AA Girls at 11:45 a.m.

It may be the biggest calvary charge in Class AA girls state meet history for the 2005 team title. All ten of the schools that finished in the top ten team places in 2004 return.

Defending champion Shorewood Troy, which announced it was dropping sports last spring but reinstituted most of their sports just before the start of the 2005-06 school year, will be hard-pressed to repeat. Leading contenders for the team title appear to be Buffalo Grove Cooper (28 sectional points), Oak Park Julian (25), New Lenox Martino (27) and Chatham Glenwood (28). Shorewood Troy took last year's team title with 51 points; Buffalo Grove Cooper was second at 135, Chatham Glenwood third at 141 and Oak Park Julian fifth at 169. Sterling Challand was fourth with 165 points and won Sectional E with 51 points last weekend.

Schools sending teams to Saturday's meet are: Algonquin Heineman, Buffalo Grove Cooper, Cary, Champaign Edison, Chatham Glenwood, East Peoria Central, Edwardsville Liberty, Edwardsville Lincoln, Frankfort Hickory Creek, Homer Glen Homer, Lemont Old Quarry, Mahomet-Seymour, Mt. Prospect Lincoln, Mundelein Carl Sandburg, New Lenox Martino, Normal Parkside, Oak Park Julian, Prospect Heights MacArthur, Shorewood Troy, Sterling Challand and Urbana Middle School.

Chatham Glenwood returns three runners from last year's team, including a pair of eighth graders who finished in the top ten last year as seventh graders. Ali Traina was seventh in 12:12 and Rylie Sullivan was tenth in 12:14. Also back is Lindsey Koch who finished No. 52 in 12:58.

Buffalo Grove Cooper returns eighth grader Erin Cleary and seventh grader Katie Donnewald. Cleary was No. 45 last year in 12:52 and Donnewald was No. 76 in 13:13.

Oak Park Julian returns three runners. They are Katherine Rack No. 14 at 12:19, Evangelie Zachos No. 35 at 12:43 and Camille Range No. 83 at 13:17.

Sterling Challand returns three from last year. They are Cassandra Palacio No. 24 at 12:30, Carissa Apperson No. 54 at 13:00 and Tonya Hamman No. 134 at 14:05.

Cassie Lohmeier of East Peoria Central won the Sectional E individual race in 12:26 and is unbeaten this season. Stephanie Houts of Homem Glen Homer won the Sectional D race in 12:22. Katherine Rack of Oak Park Julian won the Sectional C individual title last weekend in 11:39. This trio, plus the Chatham Glenwood pair, appear the runner to beat for the 2005 Class AA girls individual title.

Class AA Boys at 12:30 p.m.

Defending team champion Buffalo Grove Cooper returns five of the seven runners who helped their school nip Shorewood Troy by one point for the 2004 team title. Buffalo Grove Cooper scored 105 points to 106 for Shorewood Troy. This year Buffalo Grove Cooper nipped Mt. Prospect Lincoln for the Sectional B team title 36-39. The question of the day: Can they do it again?

Returning runners for Buffalo Grove Cooper are eighth graders Mark Giannis (5th overall last year in 10:51), Tim Marr No. 22 at 11:27, Mike Galla No. 26 at 11:29, Chris Sorgani No. 73 at 12;10 and seventh grader Michael McGrath who finished at No. 128 in 12:43 as a sixth grader. New to the lineup this year are eighth grader Nick Mau and sixth grader Jereme Atchison. Giannis took the individual race in Sectional B last weekend in 11:34.

Schools competing for the 2005 Class AA boys title are: Arlington Heights South, Belvidere Central, Buffalo Grove Cooper, Cary, Chatham Glenwood, Dunlap, East St. Louis Lincoln, Frankfort Summit Hill, Lemont Old Quarry, Mahomet-Seymour, Minooka, Mokena, Mt. Prospect Lincoln, Mundelein Carl Sandburg, New Lenox Martino, Normal Chiddix, Normal Parkside, Oak Park Julian, Rantoul Eater, River Forest Roosevelt and Springfield Franklin.

Giannis is a contender for the Class AA boys state individual title, but the race appears to be wide open. Four other sectional winners bettered his 11:34 mark. Leader is Will Rigall of River Forest Roosevelt who scorched the Sectional C course in 10:49. Eric Mauser of Dunlap Middle School took the Sectional E race in 11:14, and Sam Pimpo of Antioch and Kevin Smith of Minooka each won their sectional race last weekend in 11:25.

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