Highs and lows : Sports : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
|Highs and lows |
|OEHS' Thornton wins Charger Classic, runners endure chaotic start |
|by Kristin Sharp|
For different reasons, the Charger Classic will be one invite that area cross country runners won't soon forget.
Oswego East junior Charles Thornton was the first to the finish line last Saturday at Oakhurst Forest Preserve - his first career invitational win - as he cleared the course in 14 minutes, 41.41 seconds, which is a new school record and personal best time.
Oswego, which had hopes to contend for the team championship with Normal U-High and Yorkville, saw five of its top seven go down in a pile of more than 30 runners just 200 meters from the starting line.
Normal U-High won the varsity boys' race with 103 points, edging out Yorkville (106) and Iowa-based Linn-Marr (140). Oswego finished fourth with 157 points and Oswego East was eighth with 249 points. A total of 30 teams competed.
Oswego head coach Dan Whipple was surprised by the Panthers' fourth-place finish after the incident near the start.
Runners sprinted toward the first turn and as a few lost their balance and fell, others were caught up and brought down to the grass. Most involved suffered some type of injury - cuts which required stitches as well as sprained ankles and fingers.
Those who continued on were forced to keep pace with Thornton, who finished four seconds ahead of Yorkville sophomore Jake Hoffert and was a full 10 seconds ahead of fourth place.
"I'm real happy for Charles. He's been working really hard and I'm happy to see him be able to win that race," Oswego East boys' coach Scott Gengler said. "I was a little worried towards the end and I saw Charles coming up to the finish line with about 300 meters to go. He had a three or four second lead, but you never know what can happen. He still looked strong coming into the finish and was able to hold on to win."
Although Oswego senior Caleb Beck was one of the last to restart the race after his fall, Beck caught nearly all of the 200 runners on the course to finish fourth with a time of 14:55. Oswego boys' head coach Dan Whipple called the invite a "successful disappointment."
"Our goal going into it was to win the meet and after it was all said and done, after what happened, I would have been thrilled with fifth. We ended up fourth," Whipple said. "I told the guys later that I think that performance, under those conditions - having five guys on the ground in last place after 200 meters - finding a way to regroup and get back into the race with bumps and bruises, that says some things. That performance proves more to me for what we have in store than if we did win."
For Oswego East, sophomore Turner Kelly clocked in at 15:08 to place 15th and senior Andrew Patsch was 64th in 16:03. Junior Elijah Page clocked in at 16:18, junior Mason Miller finished in 16:27 and freshman Tanner McQuality finished with a time of 16:28. Senior Joe Molina clocked in at 16:42.
Oswego sophomore Peter Johnsrud placed 25th overall with a time of 15:30, senior Brandon Ramsey was 30th in 15:35 and junior Desmond Meyer was 45th in 15:46. Senior Nick Couch clocked in at 15:51, senior Christian Bartell finished in 16:06 and senior Ethan Livingston clocked in at 16:27.
"Caleb was last by about 15 seconds - he and Christian thought the race would be called back, so they were a little bit dazed and walking away," Whipple said. "Everybody ended up OK. There were several who were sore in the end. We'll be OK. We're really looking at how they regrouped and found a way to finish. That's the best team race we've run. They're more motivated than ever after how they finished as a team and how they were able to come back."
Neither Oswego and Oswego East boys' squads will not compete in a meet this Saturday, and both return to the starting line on Oct. 6. Oswego will compete in the Sterling Invite while Oswego East enters the West Aurora Stampede.
"This will give us some time to put some hard work in before West Aurora and conference," Gengler said.
Girls Cross Country
The varsity girls' finish was almost as dramatic as the boys' start. Linn-Marr freshman Stephanie Jenks shattered Oswego East alum Ariel Michalek's course record with a finish in 16:17 - breaking the previous mark set in 2011 by 25 seconds.
Yorkville won the team race with 69 points, Linn-Marr was second with 86 points and Normal U-High was third with 93 points. Oswego placed seventh with 234 points and Oswego East was ninth at 247.
"This is cross country weather now," Oswego head coach Eric Simon said. "It was a really nice day to race. We had everyone in the whole program PR except for two or three people. It was a really good meet for us."
Oswego senior Kelsey Hjorth was the first to the finish line for the Panthers, clocking in at 17:43 to place ninth while senior teammate Ashley Golembeski was 14th in 17:49 and junior Teagan Terando clocked in at 18:46 for 44th.
Sophomore Dana Janusz finished in 19:28 and senior Blair Diemer finished in 19:57.
"They added some teams and that girl from Iowa was amazing," Simon said. "We did good job front. Kelsey didn't have her best day - she was battling some stomach issues on Saturday, but running a race like that and having some problems wasn't bad. For Ashley, it was her first time under 18 (minutes) and Teagan was the first time under 19 minutes.
"Seventh in a field of 24, that's not too bad," he added.
The Oswego girls will now enter the Wheaton North Falcon Classic - a new date on the schedule - at St. James Farm on Saturday. The invite will feature seven flights pairing the top seven runners from each team in individual races, as well as frosh/soph and a junior/senior races.
"I think it's going to be fun for us," Simon said.
For Oswego East, senior Andrea Holm placed 31st in 18:20 and senior Hayley Zweig finished 36th in 18:31. Freshman Abby Cain finished with a time of 18:55 for 55th place, sophomore Rose Amodea clocked in at 18:58, junior Michelle Borycki finished with a time of 19:21, junior Mari McDowell finished in 19:32 and junior Mollie Karasch placed in 19:34.
"Andrea did not run at Peoria. We had everybody back and I know the course at Oakhurst - especially based on that new record that was set - and I'm starting to see times that I know the girls are capable of running," Oswego East girls' head coach Lisa Cook said. "We had four girls break 19 (minutes) and three break 20. We haven't had times quite that fast this season. They really, really like the Oakhurst course. Now it's a matter of transferring that adrenaline to run there to the other invites, conference, regionals, sectionals and hopefully state."
Notes: The Oswego boys' cross country team raced at Channahon Park last Thursday and edged out Minooka 28-29 to win the quad meet and pick up the program's first win over Minooka since 2005.
The Panthers ran an intentionally conservative first mile and enjoyed a 15-second split between their second through five runners. Plainfield North scored 304 points and Plainfield East did not field a full team.
Beck won the meet in 15:12 followed by Bartell's fifth-place finish in 16:08. Johnsrud clocked in at 16:08 to place sixth, Ramsey was seventh in 16:11 and Couch was ninth in 16:23.