PREP ROUNDUP: Smith's top-10 cross country finish will impact next season
|Benet senior Brittany Kmieciak bumps a loose ball during the Class 4A Neuqua Valley Sectional Championship against Lemont on Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012. Staff photo by Matthew Piechalak (Matthew Piechalak)|
PREP SPORTS ROUNDUP
Boys cross country
DOWNERS GROVE NORTH
Zack Smith was the only runner representing either Downers Grove high school in the Class 3A boys state meet Saturday, but he might have had more support than some teams in the race.
“A bunch of guys from the team, and some guys who are my friends but aren’t on the cross country team were down there. The whole course I heard them cheering,” Smith said. “I might have had more support than some entire teams that were there. It was sweet.”
As it turns out, Smith’s teammates and friends had plenty of reason to celebrate.
Part of the front-running group the entire race, Smith earned all-state honors with an eighth-place time of 14:33 in his third state meet at Detweiller Park in Peoria.
“I wanted to be all-state, which is top-25, and I knew top 10 was a possibility,” Smith said.
Detweiller’s flat course typically makes for fast times at the state meet, and the 3A race was no exception. Smith said he and the lead group covered the first mile in 4:40, at which point a group broke away to a 10- or 11-second lead.
“I just let them go at that point because I wanted to run my race,” Smith said.
Smith isn’t done running. He said he plans to run in the Nike Midwest regional Nov. 11 in Indiana followed by the Footlocker Midwest regional Nov. 24 in Wisconsin, and hopefully a national meet in early December. And he said his state finish can have a carryover effect.
“I can definitely carry this to track season,” Smith said. “Knowing I can run with the top guys, it definitely carries over. I’ve never been to the state meet for track, and I have the confidence to do that now.
“The big thing is I want to help my team qualify for state next year, because it’s a lot more fun when you have all your teammates running with you.”
Nate Novotna and Anthony Alessi ran together at a nearly identical pace at most cross country meets this season.
Nothing changed at the Class 1A state meet.
Senior Novotna and sophomore Alessi were heel-to-toe, with Novotna finishing 74th overall in 16:13 and Alessi (75th, 16:14) right behind. Their strong showings helped lead the Sentinels to a 20th-place finish in the race at Detweiller Park in Peoria.
Senior Julian Perez (108th overall, 16:31), sophomore Nick Dea (160th, 17:06) and senior Adrian Gonzalez (183rd, 17:32) rounded out Westmont’s group of five scoring runners, while juniors Ryan Compton (18:39) and Eric Peterson (18:51) also ran at the state meet.
Playing with the added weight of a target on its back apparently doesn’t bother the Benet volleyball team.
After falling behind twice, the defending state champion Redwings booked its second straight trip to the Class 4A state tournament with a 25-20, 25-20 win over Edwardsville in the Normal West supersectional Saturday at Redbird Arena.
The Redwings (38-2) will face Libertyville in a state semifinal at 9 p.m. Friday at Redbird Arena. The state championship match is set for 8:55 p.m. Saturday. New Trier faces Mother McAuley in the other state semifinal Friday.
Against Edwardsville, Cara Mattaliano led Benet’s attack with 10 kills against Edwardsville. Sheila Doyle paced the defense with 17 digs.
Girls cross country
DOWNERS GROVE SOUTH
In the wild, Mustangs run together in packs. It was pretty much the same at the Class 3A state meet on Saturday.
Junior Haley Albers, sophomore Abby Kargol, senior Amy Rotunno and Katie Strelau were separated by just 23 places and 12 seconds on the 3-mile state meet course at Detweiller Park in Peoria, and that solid pack helped lead South to a 15th-place team finish.
Albers was 65th overall with a time of 17:48, with Kargol (70th, 17:51), Rotunno (74th, 17:53), and Strelau (88th, 18:00) running at nearly the same pace. Albers, Kargol and Rotunno all ran lifetime personal bests, while Strelau clocked her second-fastest time of the season.
Junior Megan Bosman (147th, 18:37) rounded out the scoring quintet, while sophomore Amanda Thate (19:05) and freshman Jillian Boyle (19:59) also competed.
The Sentinels were limited to two runners at Saturday’s Class 1A state meet at Detweiller Park in Peoria, but the program was well represented by senior Chloe Marshinski and junior Maggie Arndt.
In a race with over 200 runners, both Marshinski and Arndt had top-50 finishes. Marshinski was all-state, clocking an 18:09 to finish 23rd overall, and Arndt finished 42nd overall with a time of 18:46.
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