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2014 IESA State Cross-Country Meet Set for Saturday, October 18

A total of 1,261 runners from 214 different schools will compete in the six races at the 2014 Illinois Elementary School Association (IESA) State Final Cross-Country Meet Saturday, October 18 at Maxwell Park in Normal, Illinois. This is the third year of the 3 class series. There were 309 schools that entered the 2014 IESA state series compared to 291 last year.  There were eight sectionals held in each class last Saturday (October 11). The top 3 teams from each sectional plus the top 5 individuals not on one of the top three teams all advance to the state meet. Additionally, any individual who finishes in the top 10 also advances, as well as teams that tied for 3rd place. This is year No. 36 for the boys cross-country state series and year No. 35 for the girls state series.

The six races will be run Saturday morning on the 3200-meter course at Maxwell Park.  The schedule of races will be: Class 1A Girls at 9:30 a.m.; Class 1A Boys at 10:15 a.m.; Class 2A Girls at 11:00 a.m.; Class 2A Boys at 11:45 a.m.; Class 3A Girls at 12:30 p.m.; Class 3A Boys at 1:15 p.m.

The awards ceremonies will be held in the main gymnasium at Normal West High School. There is no admission fee. The Class 1A award ceremony is scheduled to begin at 11:45 a.m. The Class 2A award ceremony will start at 1:15 p.m. The Class 3A award ceremony will begin at 2:45 p.m. The top 25 individuals in each race will earn a medal. Trophies are awarded to the top four schools in each class and members of those teams each receive a medal.

A complete listing of the 2014 state qualifiers is available at the following link:

Complete final results, individual and teams, will be available from the IESA website around 5:00 p.m. on Saturday.

Here is a closer look at each of the races:

Girls Class 1A
History could be made in the first race of the day as Katelyn Robbins of Liberty, who captured gold in Class 1A a year ago, returns to the finals hoping to build off another terrific season. She will be looking to become the first female in the history of the IESA state meet to break the 11 minute barrier. Robbins secured her first place finish in 2013 by running an impressive time of 11:27. Hoping to derail Robbin's bid for another title are the Tournoux sisters from Springfield Christ the King. Brigid and Bernadette Tournoux rounded out last year's top three finishers and are eying another first place team trophy for the Cougars. Keep an eye on 2013's third place finisher in Champaign St. Matthew, who will be looking for a top four finish. "We have runners from all grades five through eight on this state team and they love to run together," said St. Matthew Head Coach Gregg Rose.

Boys Class 1A
Only two of the top 10 finishers from the 2013 Class 1A boys state finals, return this year. William Engels, an eighth grader from Clarendon Hills Notre Dame, placed sixth overall in 2013 with a final time of 11:03. Engels spearheads a Notre Dame squad that will be hoping to build off of their fourth place team finish from a season ago. Paul Ruetten, a seventh grader from Sycamore St. Mary's, returns to the finals after notching a final time of 11:09 en route to finishing ninth overall in 2013. Rutten is the lone representative for the Stars, but is coming off an impressive sectional showing this past weekend. Defending 1A team champion Elmwood will also bring a talented squad to the meet, as they're hoping to become the first 1A repeat champion since Champaign St. Matthew (2001,02).

Girls Class 2A
With hopes of capturing back-to-back 2A state titles, eighth grader Christina Ryzhov from DeKalb Clinton Rosette returns to the 2A finals after placing first a year ago. The J Barbs standout tallied a time of 11:44 this past Saturday en route to capturing a sectional championship while also punching her ticket to state. Madison Franseen of Rockford Christian also returns to the 2A state finals after placing in the top 10 a year ago. Franseen placed seventh overall and is hoping to build upon her strong 2013 showing along with her Royal Lion teammates. Rounding out the standout returnees from 2013 is eighth grader Megan Knuettel of Lindenhurst Millburn MS who placed ninth a year ago. Knuettel is fresh off an impressive sectional performance in which she bested her state time from a year ago by finishing with an 11:40. Knuettel's Cougars are obviously a team to keep an eye on, as Millburn MS took home the first place team trophy a year ago. Hoping to knock off the defending champions is last year's runner-up---Dunlap MS. Led by team MVP Abby Johnson, the Panthers and their coach know what it takes to succeed at the state level. "The team is so cohesive this year," said head coach Heather Rutherford. "They really have pushed each other to become the best they can, which has created great comradery within the team." Another team out for more tournament success are the Bulldogs of Lockport Oak Prairie, who finished the 2013 finals in ninth place overall. "All teams are happy and excited to be at the state finals and Oak Prairie is no exception" said coach Kenric Bond. "We have some goals and can't wait to see if we're good enough to meet those expectations." Other teams that will be looking to take home a top four finish include Dixon Reagan, Chicago Latin School, Tolono Unity, and Mt. Zion.

Boys Class 2A
Samuel Rivera of Chicago Whitney Young is the lone Class 2A top 10 finisher from 2013 set to return. The eighth grade standout for the Dolphins finished third a season ago while tallying a final time of 10:48. Rivera leads a Dolphins team that is poised for another strong state showing after capturing the 2A first place team trophy in 2013. Another name to watch for is Clifton Nash's Jeremy Snejberg who placed seventh overall in 2013's Class 1A state finals. Now in 2A, Snejberg and his Clifton Nash teammates are up for the challenge of competing against the likes of tournament veterans Germantown Hills, Rockford Christian and Lindenhurst Millburn MS. Each of the teams previously mentioned finished the 2013 state finals within the top five and are routinely in the running for a state championship. Hoping to make the climb to that next tier are the Marauders of Prospect Heights MacArthur, who finished seventh overall as in a team a year ago. Led by standouts John Paul Smith and Zach Joyce, the Marauders are poised for success thanks to one defining quality. "Overall we have a team full of kids with great character," said head coach Dan Perillo. "There isn't one moment that stands out, but every time the boys take the line they always respect their competition."

Girls Class 3A
Hoping to defend her individual Class 3A state title is Lake Forest Deer Path's Lauren Garriques, who returns to the state finals after a sectional championship that saw the standout eighth grader run an 11:58. Garriques placed sixth in state as a 6th grader in 2012.Teammate Courtney Schmidt is also returning to the finals after capturing seventh place a year ago. The Braves of Lake Forest are well represented once again, as the team took home first overall in the team standings a year ago. Becky Versaskas of Woodridge Jefferson returns to the Class 3A state finals after placing third in 2013 with a time of 11:46. Rounding out the top 10 finishers from 2013 are New Lenox Martino's Kelly Robbins who placed eighth and Batavia Rotolo's Megan Ronzone who finished ninth. Both Rotolo (2nd) and Martino (3rd) notched top five team finishes a year ago, as did the Foxes of Yorkville (4th). Led by head coach Derek Miller, the Foxes run to the Class 3A finals has been fueled by the personality and character of one individual. "Victoria Crawford is one of our team captains, and is one of the most enthusiastic members of our team," said head coach Derek Miller. "She never has a negative thing to say, and when one of our runners finally won her fight against a nagging ankle injury, Victoria was the first to greet her with a big hug."

Boys Class 3A
Edwardsville Liberty's Dan Powell is the lone returning top ten finisher to the Class 3A finals after capturing seventh overall in 2013.  Mattoon’s Jacob Ghere captured the individual title at the Chatham Glenwood sectional.  However, the field may very well be chasing Zach Wohlford when they turn for home. The 8th grader from Bloomington Evans has turned in several impressive performances this year and has clocked a season best of 10:27 on the Maxwell Park course. He finished 31st a year ago. Normal Parkside is back to the state finals with aspirations of their third straight Class 3A team state championship. Other tournament heavyweights Batavia Rotolo, Geneseo (up from 2A last year) Chatham Glenwood and Yorkville, all of whom finished in the top five a year ago will be looking to take home the team title. Speaking of Yorkville, they're led by standouts Alex Loos, Austin Hunter and Brett Rhodes. Each of the aforementioned Bulldogs is aiming for their first ever top 10 finish.

This is the 21st year the state meet has been held at Maxwell Park in Normal.  Normal Parkside is the host for the state meet.

For more information, please contact the Cross Country Administrator Steve Endsley at 309-829-0114 or

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