CHICAGO – Madeline Perez knew she loved running, but after she couldn’t run for six weeks, Perez discovered how much.
The senior defending state champion returned from a six-week injury to run at the West Suburban Silver meet last week and was second. On Saturday she returned to form by winning the Class 3A Fenwick regional at Schiller Woods.
At conference, Perez said she was focused on the team winning, which it did, and at the regional she was 100 percent.
“It was very tough because you don’t realize how much you truly love it until you can’t have it,” Perez said. “I would definitely say that my desire after [the injury] was huge.”
In her time off, she was unable to run, but did cross training in the pool. She described her injury as tightness in her calves.
Her return will help the Hilltoppers chase down a team state title. Perez (16:54) was one of five Hilltoppers who finished in the top-10 at the regional.
Lisa Luczak was the runner-up in a time of 17:16. Grace Rogers was fourth in 17:41, Janie Nabholz finished sixth in 17:46 and Kathryn Kenwood came in ninth in 18:13.
Megan Ozog and Kate Dorsey added 11th and 15th-place showings respectively for Glenbard West, which was without the services of No. 2 runner Lindsay Graham due to an injury.
The regional title was the Hilltoppers’ first since 1983.
Placing three athletes in the top-10, the Raiders captured the Class 2A Wheaton Academy regional on Saturday with a score of 55.
Diane Lipa led the way with a runner-up individual finish in a time of 18:12. Rebecca Sippel and Caroline Arlasky followed in sixth and seventh, respectively, with times of 18:51 and 19:01.
Elizabeth Niedert was 15th, Abby Schlenker finished 25th, Bailey Reese came in 27th and Jayme Schlenker rounded out the group in 28th.
BOYS CROSS COUNTRY
John Wold won his fourth regional title on Saturday, outdistancing the rest of the field by eight seconds at the Class 2A Wheaton Academy race.
The senior came through the chute in a time of 14:54, helping the Raiders to a third place finish as a team and a berth in the sectional.
Joe Meade finished in 13th place, Jon O’Rourke placed 22nd, Michael King came in 25th and Ibrahim Jawad finished 33rd. Colin Meade (40th) and Ricardo Hilliard (54th) also competed.
The Hilltoppers qualified for the Lake Park sectional after coming in as the runner-up at Saturday’s Class 3A Fenwick regional.
Paul Christian topped the team with his sixth-place finish in 15:15, and Jack Billings followed closely behind in ninth with a clocking of 15:21. Chris Buechner was 16th, Eric Neumann came in 18th and Ben Hecht crossed the line in 28th. Also participating were Jake Jaskowiak (33rd) and Dan Harman (44th).