State Meet| Results from www.ihsa.org | Stories by IllinoisRunner.com |
Coming into the Class AA boys race, there was no question that the individual race would most likely be a three man race, while the team title was a two team race. Individually, Stephen Pifer (Edwardsville), Matt Withrow (Andrew) and Sam Romanoski (Lake Zurich) were the three favorites. Team wise York and Lyons Twp. had positioned themselves for the top two spots heading into Peoria. Here is how the race panned out.
The gun went off, and the race got out maybe too fast. Unofficial time
at the 800 for the leaders was 2:06. All the top runners were in the lead
pack at the first turn, except Romanoski, who got boxed in very bad and
was about 30 meters back from the leaders for most of the first mile.
Trent Hoerr (Morton) led the blazing pace, while Withrow was right on
There was a large pack of about 20 about five meters back, so the top 25 or so got out very, very fast. Romanoski was still trying to catch up at the mile, as he moved to the outside of the main chase pack towards the road and tried to move up that way. York looked solid at the mile, with a great pack, while Lyons Twp. was right on their shoulder.
Going into the back loop it was very exciting because there were thousands of people standing right by the entrance being so loud. You could get chills from the excitment. Right when Pifer entered the back loop he put in a surge to drop Hoerr, and put about 10 meters on Withrow. When Pifer came out of the back loop it was obvious that he was in control. Pifer made his push in the quiet part of the course and it paid off. Pifer came through the two mile in 9:31, about 75 meters ahead of Romanoski, who had finally caught up, and Withrow.
Up by the start line Pifer's coach and uncle, Coach Flamer, was yelling
out instructions to Pifer to relax his form and roll. Pifer seemed to
be relaxed but was starting to slow. Also, up by the turn at the starting
line onto the back stretch a new second place runner emerged in Micky
With a half mile to go it looked as if Pifer was just backing off of his pace and looking to just win the race. Going into the final 400 meters Pifer had a lead of 10-12 meters over Romanoski and Withrow who had gapped themselves in the final 800 meters from the chase pack. But when Pifer finished he only had a five second lead. Pifer ran strong from start to finish and had the best race of everyone in the field, winning his first cross country state championship. WIthrow, who is only a junior, kicked in strong for second, while Romanoski finished third. Both Brent Cunningham (Brother Rice) and Eric MacTaggert (Glenbard South) both finished awesome, as they finished 4-5.
Team wise it was confusing. The finish chute started to back up right when the top 25 started to finish. It was very disappointing to see that the IHSA can't handle running a meet this big. They have a lot of things to discuss because the finish problems, especially in the AA races, were abysmal. York had a quality pack finish, while Lyons also did, but for some reason it was only good for ninth. Stevenson was the suprise of the meet, as they finished second. Being around their camp when they found out, it was obvious that they did not even think they finished in the top five, as they were questioning when people were coming up to them saying they finished second. Glenbard South impressed as they got third, while York won yet again. It was exciting for yet another year. Lyons finished a disappointing ninth.
There was little question going into the state meet as to who the favorite was and who the team favorite was. Meghan Braffet (Normal West) and Sandurg were the two favorites. Individually, Samantha Polock (Wheaton North), Jessie Morgenthal (Wheeling) and Caitlin Chrisman (Carbondale) were three other individuals who were supposed to challenge Braffet, while Wheaton North, Schaumburg, Barrington and York were supposed to challenge Sandburg. Things sure did change though.
It was an amazing start, and very interesting. It looked as though they started all the teams in three groups. There was a far left group, middle group and a far right group. They were all spaced out by 10 meters or so. It was interesting to see. Through the first turn Kara Henry (York) led the race, with Braffet right on her shoulder. Most of the top girls were right in the lead pack. As they went around the first turn it already started to space out. York had the best team start, while Sandburg seemed to be far back already in the beginning.
Coming around to the first mile Braffet had a lead with Henry right behind, as they passed the mile in 5:26. Henry passed in 5:33, and already looked very tired from a lightning quick start. A pack of about 15 girls passed the mile mark at 5:38, so as you can see it was a quick start and there were a lot of girls in the race. Sandburg had three up front, but their 4-5 were pretty far back. York and Wheaton North on the other hand had nice packs a little farther back than Sandburg's, but they were still in it.
The leaders went into the back loop in 6:23. Coming out of the back loop Braffet's lead had became smaller, as Chrisman and Polock had pulled away from the chase pack and were working up to catch Braffet. Also, Farah Jadran (Glenbard West) started to move up and really suprise some people. At the two mile mark Braffet passed in 11:34, with Chrisman and Polock right on her shoulder.
Up by the 2.25 mile mark Polock passed Braffet first, and then Chrisman did as well. Braffet seemed to really give up at this point in the race and dropped all the way back to 30th place in less than a mile. She is much better than what she showed this past weekend. Polock kept rolling, as once she passed Braffet she put in a surge to drop Chrisman as well. Jadran was right behind Chrisman and ran on her shoulder until the final 600 meters.
With 600 meters, Polock looked like she wasn't even tired, as she was running strong. Jadran, the suprise of the meet, passed Chrisman and put some ground on her to finish second, while Chrisman ran strong to finish up third. Polock really impressed and earned her first state cross country title.
The team title was hard to tell. Sandburg had three up front, while York also had a nice pack. It was hard to tell where Wheaton North's fifth runner was. Wheaton North really ran well, and suprised everyone, taking the team title, while York also ran great races to get second. Sandburg earned third and was very disappointed. You could see it around their camp after the race. The worst part about the whole race was the back up. Backed up girls were up to 40 yards away from the finish line as they finished the race. It was a great weekend.
Going into the state meet for Class A Boys there were a bunch of favorites
for the individual title, but only two for the team title. Individually
Kacey Carr (Tri-Valley), Andy Tremble (Oregon), Mike Kelley (Winnebago),
Dane Zeiler (Massac County), and Abe Ramirez (Athens) all were considered
favorites for the individual crown. Winnebago and Eureka were the co-favorites
to win the team title, although Normal U-High had been running very well
the last few weeks, including a win over Eureka at sectionals. This race
was set up to be fast and exciting, and the Class A boys did not disappoint.
Going into the state meet there were two things that people were talking about for Class A girls. Those two things were Sarah Selby (Shelbyville) and Wheaton Academy. Selby, already had two past titles, and was looking for her third for sure. Selby dominated the Class A scene all year, and some even considered her the top girl in the state. Wheaton Academy was also favored to win. While other teams showed they could contend, many figured they couldn't handle the pack from Wheaton Academy.
As the gun went off on the beautiful, but windy, day, the runners raced down to the first turn forming a "V" shape. The pace truck led the way. Coming into the first turn Selby was right on the leaders shoulder. She obviously had a race plan. A group of about 12 girls pulled away early in the race at the 2:50 mark. All the top contenders, like Rebekah Faber (Princeton), Stephanie Simms (G.South-Wilmington), Andrea Edgar (Quincy Notre Dame) and Theresa Brokaw (Southern) were in the pack.
Going into the first mile the whole pack was together, as they passed through 5:39. Simms and Selby were shoulder and shoulder in the lead, with Wolf right behind them. The girls raced down towards the back loop, as the first group of ten disappeared into the back loop.
Every year a lot happens in the back loop. Very few people are back there,
and many people decide to make their move in that area. As the runners
emerged from the back loop Simms had a slight lead over Selby, while Wolf
had also pulled away from the pack. It looked as if Simms was trying to
make a move to drop Selby and at the two mile mark it started to work.
At the fifteen minute mark Simms' lead started to shrink, as Selby was closing fast, and was only twenty meters back. The crowd was starting to get excited as well on the final straight as the announcer was saying that Selby was closing fast and going for her second straight state championship. With 600 meters to go Simms and Selby were neck and neck, but you could tell that Simms was out of gas. Selby started to pull away. In the last 200 meters Selby dropped a vicious kick and strided in for a great win. The crowd gave her a great round of applause as she neared the shoot.
Simms ran tough and showed true guts, hanging on for second, while Wolf ran a great race as well getting third place. Edgar outkicked Brokaw for fourth place, with a huge kick in the last 100 meters. Faber, who was the race time favorite to upset Selby, finished sixth, and it was obvious as she came out of the shoot that she was disappointed.
In the team race, it was increadibly hard to tell who was making the most noise. So many individuals made it hard to pick out certain teams. Unlike the other races, there wasn't just one or two teams you needed to look for, there were about five. Winnebago, in the end, pulled it off with two all state runners and a great pack in their thrid and fourth spots. Stanford-Olympia ran great as well, and picked up the second place team title, with a slightly better score than Wheaton Academy. While Wheaton Academy was the team favorite, they just didn't have enough, even though their top girl Elisabeth Frusti ran great. They finished third.