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Cross Country: Helena Kleronomos, Austin Popplewell pace Yorkville to sweep of invite titles

Yorkville’s Helena Kleronomos (1251) and Anna Hunter (1254) set the pace during the Yorkville cross country invite at Yorkville High School in Yorkville Sept. 23
Yorkville’s Helena Kleronomos (1251) and Anna Hunter (1254) set the pace during the Yorkville cross country invite at Yorkville High School in Yorkville Sept. 23

YORKVILLE – Helena Kleronomos is used to having space, but the Yorkville senior welcomed seeing junior teammates Anna Hunter and Maggie Hunter not too far behind her during the Yorkville Invite on Wednesday.

The three Yorkville runners finished in the top three places to lead the Foxes to the invite title with 21 points.

“I was super proud of all the girls and I had Anna and Maggie up there for the first two miles, which was really nice,” Kleronomos said. “Usually there’s a little more room so it was a very proud moment for me to see them come up there with me and step up and work together as a team.”

Seeing her teammates in her rear view mirror didn’t mean that Kleronomos (17:26.6) wasn’t moving well either.

“I was really just thinking they’re having a great race,” Kleronomos said. “I had my watch running so I knew I was hitting a good pace. We went out really fast so I knew I wasn’t going to slow down. I’m just really happy for them.”

Anna Hunter (17:42.4) finished just ahead of Maggie Hunter (17:43.0), while Makenna Edwards (18:11.2) was seventh and Sara Klemm (18:12.4) was eighth for the Foxes.

“We definitely had a positive mindset coming in,” Kleronomos said. “We knew we had to work harder as a team and push each other because this was the most competition we’ve had so far.”

Oswego was second with 59 points behind sophomore Audra Soderlind (18:04.6) and senior Ella Hale (18:09.1), who finished in fifth and sixth place respectively.

Minooka was third with 66 points. Gabby Kics (17:50.7) led the charge for the Indians taking fourth place. Fellow sophomore Gabriella McCollom placed ninth while freshman Cassie Fuhrman was 14th.

“I’ve been finishing up near the top and Cassie (Fuhrman) usually gets second, but I moved up there today,” Kics said. “It was nice. Usually in the dual meets we don’t have a lot of people up there like today, especially this year.”

Oswego East finished in fourth place behind senior Naylah Allen (10th place, 18.14.5) and freshman Moran Dick (15th, 18.33.8).

In the boys race, Yorkville had five top 10 finishes with its seniors leading the way.

Austin Popplewell (14.53.1) won the race while Colin Kachlic (15:06.1) was third and Ivan Westcott (15:13.4) took fourth. The Foxes won comfortably with 24 points while runner-up Minooka scored 52.

“Austin put in a great effort today,” Kachlic said. “He was up there with Ivan Westcott and really fought off Vince Van Eck from Minooka. I was really proud of his performance today.”

Like he’s known for doing, Kachlic ran a negative split and shot past guys.

“I usually run a different style than my top two teammates, starting farther back and just build,” he said. “I usually get faster as the race goes on and I just go from person to person and just pick people off. I don’t know why I do it, but that’s just what I’ve done since middle school.”

He nearly caught Van Eck who also was running a tremendous race.

“I really tried to catch him but I think he saw me coming for him and he just took off,” Kachlic said. “He didn’t run his best the last time we raced but he had a breakthrough race today.”

It was a big-time rebound from Van Eck.

“I wasn’t ready for the racing plan last time so I hadáto figure it out this week,” he said. “I knew (Yorkville) goes out really hard and then starts cruising so I went out with them and that built my confidence as I stuck with them the whole time and looked for opportunities and took advantage.”

His teammate junior Daniel Schalk (15:15.4) took fifth.

Sophomore Alex Das (15:23.3) took sixth place to pace Oswego East.

Junior Cooper Shelton (15:34.5) led Plainfield North, finishing in eighth place.

Other top finishers for Yorkville included juniors Nathan Summers (15:32.3) and Jack Stillmunkes (15:39.3).

“I’m proud of this team and now that we know there’s going to be an IHSA sectional there’s going to be more guys up there in the front now,” Kachlic said. “We’re hoping to go sub-15 in the three miles and I thinkit’s doable. We think we could have three guys in the Top 25 in the state which is definitely what a Top 3 team in the state would have.”

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