Racing to sectionals : Sports : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
|Racing to sectionals|
|OHS runners Beck, Hjorth win regional races while all four District 308 teams advance |
|by Alex Gasick|
Oswego seniors Kelsey Hjorth and Ashley Golembeski were able to once again serve as a dynamic duo for the Oswego girls' cross country team at last Saturday's Class 3A Lockport Regional.
The pair took the lead from the start of the race and never looked back as Hjorth won the 5-kilometer race with a time of 19:21 while Golembeski finished second in 19:35.
The two ran beside each other for the first half of the race before Hjorth gradually pulled away for the win. Golembeski was able to hold off two Neuqua Valley runners for second with a strong finishing kick.
"I could definitely hear some girls coming up behind me, but I wanted to do everything I could to stay in second and help our team," Golembeski said.
Hjorth was pleased with her race and the progress she continues to make as the season winds down to its final two weeks.
"I just wanted put myself in a good spot and get a good lead early," Hjorth said. "Trainings been going well and I'm really starting to feel good."
Oswego Teagan Terando was the third Oswego runner to cross the finish line, as she finished 18th with a time of 20:34.
"The course was really tough, the hills really killed," Terando said.
Oswego sophomore Kayla Perez was the fourth runner for Oswego with a time of 21:42 followed by sophomore Dana Janusz (21:53), junior Abby Etheridge (22:14) and senior Blair Diemer (22:21).
Lockport won the girls' regional title with 38 points, followed by Neuqua Valley (48) and Oswego East edged out Oswego, 106-110. Plainfield Central (143), Plainfield East (150) and Plainfield north (172) round out the top seven teams advancing to the Marist Sectional on Saturday.
The Oswego East girls relied on a tight pack and strong kicks at the end of the race to advance to the sectional meet.
"Coming in we wanted the girls to go out more conservatively and pick people off throughout the race, and they definitely did a good job of that," Oswego East head coach Lisa Cook said. "They followed the plan and did a really great job."
The Wolves were led by senior Hayley Zweig's ninth-place finish (20:09). Following Zweig was senior Andrea Holm, who finished 13th with a time of 20:23 and freshman Abbey Cain, who clocked in at 20:56 to place 24th. Sophomore Rose Amodea (28th, 21:03) and junior Michelle Borycki (32nd, 21:18) rounded out the scoring for the Wolves.
"I really predicted us to finish about fourth, so coming out with third we're ecstatic," Cook said. "It just shows that if they don't underestimate what they can do they can surprise themselves. They surpassed what they did at Regionals last year and qualified for the sectional meet, so it was a good day."
Cook will continue to preach the power of positive thinking as they head to sectionals on Saturday. The sectional course will be held at Midlothian Meadows, with the girls' race beginning at 11 a.m.
"Sectionals are going to be tough," Cook said. "But going in the girls have to realize that on any given day, any team can win. It's going to be a difficult task, but if every girl performs up to their potential, and our pack is really strong then I definitely think we have a shot at qualifying for the state meet."
Oswego head coach Eric Simon was satisfied the Panthers were able to qualify for sectionals.
"Our main goal was just to get through to sectionals, so that's good we were able to accomplish that," Simon said. "Coming in we were hoping to compete for second, so we'll look to improve and tighten our pack a bit at sectionals."
Like Cook, Simon knows the Panthers will have to run to their full potential to have a chance at qualifying for the state meet as a team.
"It's going to be a tough sectional," Simon said. "We're just going to look to improve, establish position at the beginning of the race and see what happens."
Boys Cross Country
In the boys' race, Oswego senior Caleb Beck won the individual title with a time of 15:53. Beck drafted off the leaders for the majority of the race, but with one mile left made a big move and quickly gapped the lead pack by 25 meters. Joseph Suarez of Plainfield East finished second with a time of 16:01.
"I was together with the pack and then right at the two-mile mark I knew it was time to go," Beck said. "I just started pushing myself and made a move and never looked back. It definitely hurt but it was well-worth it."
Beck was able to leave knowing he left everything he had on the course.
"I wasn't worried about time at all today," Beck said. "It was all about being in position up front for the first half of the race and then gutting it out and going for the win the second half. I finished really strong that last mile and that's what won the race for me."
Oswego head coach Dan Whipple was proud of Beck, who responded after placing third at the Southwest Prairie Conference race one week earlier.
"He didn't have his best race last week, so we really spent this week focusing on the mental side of his race," Whipple said. "He's a great athlete, he listens and he does all the right things to really prepare himself for these big races."
Led by Beck's efforts, the Panthers finished third as a team and earned a spot in next week's Marist Sectional. Neuqua Valley won the regional title with 45 points and Plainfield South was runner-up with 50 points. Oswego scored 67 points while Plainfield East (74), Lockport (123), Oswego East (173) and Bolingbrook (196) round out the seven teams to advance to sectionals.
Oswego sophomore Peter Johnsrud turned in a top-10 finish, placing sixth with a time of 16:17. Junior Desmond Meyer (19th, 16:49), and seniors Brandon Ramsey (20th, 16:53) and Christian Bartell (21st, 17:00) formed a tight pack to round out the Panthers' top-five.
Whipple was encouraged by how his squad regrouped after a disappointing conference meet the week prior.
"We were angry at the fact that we had a chance to win conference, but didn't," Whipple said. "We came in to today real aggressive and hungry and it paid off."
Heading into sectionals, Whipple is looking for his team to take their performance to another level.
"We need to move it up another step," Whipple said. "We'll take it one day at a time, one step at a time in practice, and not worry too much about the pressure of the sectional meet. We'll just worry about what we can do in that race to give ourselves the best opportunity possible of qualifying for state.
The Oswego East boys' team finished sixth as a team, which also qualified them for the Marist Sectional.
Much like the Oswego East girls, they relied on a tight pack to pull them through. The Wolves were led by sophomore Kelly Turner, who placed 18th with a time of 16:48. Junior Elijah Page (35th, 17:40), sophomore Ryan Fluke (38th, 17:55), junior Mason Miller (42nd, 17:59) and senior Joe Molina (43rd, 18:00) rounded out the Wolves' top five.
The Oswego and Oswego East boys will step to the sectional starting line on Saturday at 11:45 a.m.
In both races, the top five teams advance to the state meet on Nov. 3 at Detweiller Park in Peoria, while the top seven individuals not members of qualifying teams also advance. Both Hjorth and Beck were state qualifiers in 2011, with Hjorth earning All-State honors.