The cross country course at Detweiller Park in Peoria is typically a fast, flat course that provides season-best times for high school runners.
But after the ground absorbed nearly five inches of rain in the 10 days leading up to Saturday’s First to the Finish Invite, Yorkville was left to navigate through the muddy terrain against a talented Class 3A field.
“It was a disappointment for them. You make the trip to Peoria, you have the competition and you want to have a fast time. You want to see all the hard work you’ve put in,” Yorkville coach Chris Muth said. “When you get there and it’s muddy, it’s kind of a let down. You have to grind out a race and bide your time to pass people and make moves. That hurt us a little as far as our overall results.”
Naperville North girls, ranked No. 2 in state, edged out No. 3-ranked Yorkville, 81-82, for the invite championship while defending state champion Minooka finished third with 118 points.
“It’s the first test of the year for us. We mark this one on our calendar,” Muth said. “It’s a stepping stone for everyone early in the year and it’s not a true depiction of what the November results will be. Minooka was seventh there last year and ended up winning state. It’s a snapshot, but it’s definitely a good start.”
Nicole Greyer led the Foxes to the finish, clocking in at 18:16 to place seventh overall, while Olivia Borowiak (18:31) and Maddie Dearborn (18:31) came in eighth and ninth, respectively, with identical times. Emily Eberhart (18:42) was 20th and Alexis Grandys was the fifth finisher in 19:15 to place 40th, just ahead of teammate Alyssa Edwards (19:17).
“Our top three girls ran exactly like they’d practiced and Emily was a nice surprise for us,” Muth said.
In the boys race, Ben Summers was the first Yorkville runner to the finish in 16:19 to place 70th. Alexx Nauman (16:29), Zack Price (16:34), Eric Nauman (16:45) and Matt Cox (17:04) were in the top five while Patrick Black (17:22) and Brendon Zienstra (17:37) were also in the mix.
Downers Grove North had no trouble capturing the team title with 66 points and all five runners in the top 25. Lyons Twp. (87) and Hinsdale Central (162) rounded out the top three. The Foxes finished 18th in the 47-team field. Yorkville – ranked as high as No. 12 in the state – fell out of the top 25 this week.
“The boys are learning. I think they ran a little scared; that’s their first experience in 3A,” Muth said. “They have to believe they are capable and that they belong with these teams. I think it’s just a matter of time before they break out. This past Saturday is not what we’ll see in the next seven weeks. It’s going to take time, and we knew that going in.”