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Terre Haute IN November 10, 2007


 Midwest Teams Gear Up for NTN Regional
Terre Haute to host big showdown

by Jeff Hollobaugh, Midwest Region Editor

TERRE HAUTE IN 11/08/07 - Teams from Illinois, Indiana and Ohio will be battling for bragging rights Saturday on the Lavern Gibson Championship XC Course in Terre Haute. While teams from Michigan and Wisconsin have been banned from competing by their state associations, don't expect that any of the competitors at Indiana State are going to lose sleep about missing them.

Overall, of the top 10 boys and top 10 girls Midwest teams after the state meets, fully 10 of them will be represented at the NTN Midwest Regional. The weather forecasters are calling for perfect conditions: partly sunny, mid-50s, calm winds.

Illinois, Indiana girls will fight it out again; watch for Ohio rematch

The top Illinois and Indiana clubs will battle for region supremacy again. The club from Westfield will face off against the Lake Central-Indian RC. Earlier in the year, athletes on the two teams competed at the Culver Academies Invite Sept. 22, where Westfield won and runner-up Lake Central also defeated the powerful Hinsdale Central IL team.

Several major Ohio powerhouses, including the Brecksview RC, will be here. The Brecksview runners were part of the surprise win by Brecksview-Broadview HS over Magnificat in the Ohio D1 State Finals last week, and a rematch is eagerly anticipated. Not to be overlooked in the fray is the Hoover RC from North Canton.

Says meet director Geoff Wayton, "I think Magnificat will bounce back after losing a close one last week-but don't count out surging Brecksview."

Westfield and Hinsdale both sent their clubs to nationals last year, finishing 7th and 17th. Westfield, especially, seems poised to try and improve on that finish. Westfield also ran in 2005, taking 13th.  Hinsdale is entered, but slipped in the rankings the last few weeks and may not run.

Naperville Knee-Kwuh CC Club heads boys entries

The boys race favorite will be the Naperville Knee-Kwuh CC Club (Neuqua Valley IL). The high school team the boys run on has been ranked #1 in the Midwest for much of the season. They are led by Chris Derrick, one of the nation's top runners and who would be a strong individual favorite to win should his team make it to Portland.

The battle for team honors will be a three state rumble, with the Knee-Kwuhs facing off against the Medina (OH) and Fishers (IN) clubs. Both teams are comprised of the best XC squads in their respective states. Not to be overlooked is the club from Elmhurst (IL). York High School peaked well at the Illinois 3A Finals behind Naperville Neuqua Valley. York, of course, has one of the most storied histories in the three years of NTN. As Kroy XC, they won the first edition of NTN in 2004. Then switching to the Elmhurst name, they were 2nd in 05 behind Saratoga NY, and 10th last year.

Individual Races

For the girls, watch for Annette Glaz, who was fourth in the Illinois 3A meet with a 17:18 for three miles. We'll see how that compares with Margaret Bingham's 18:38 for third-place honors in Indiana. One would also expect to see the lead runners for Magnificat (Madeline Chambers) and Hinsdale (Elaine Kuckerts) to be in the mix.

The boys race should be nothing less than top-flight. The powerful triumvirate from Illinois will be replaying their battle at the Illinois 3A meet. Last weekend Chris Derrick-who meet director Geoff Wayton calls the best runner he's seen in six years--came out on top by 20 seconds over Tom Achtien, with Kevin Havel another five seconds back. Will Medina's Donny Roys have what it takes to keep up?

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