GLENDALE HEIGHTS – Freshman Michaela Quinn and her York girls cross country teammates could have had their season derailed even before their first race.
The varsity group didn’t compete until Sept. 17 after being placed in 14-day COVID-19 quarantine just before the scheduled Sept. 5 opener.
“it definitely hit us but I think that just made us even stronger,” Quinn said.
Instead the Dukes continue to gain momentum. They continued their undefeated run in impressive fashion Saturday by winning the West Suburban Conference Silver Division Meet at Camera Park in Glendale Heights.
It's the Dukes' first title since sharing the 2011 crown.
Quinn (17:10.35 for 2.88 miles) finished second to Oak Park-River Forest junior Josephine Welin (16:49.35), who ran the seventh-fastest girls Camera time.
York sophomore Bria Bennis (fifth, 17:39.21), junior Katelyn Winton (seventh, 17:46.70) and freshmen Katherine Klimek (10th, 17:54.47) and Maggie Owens (14th, 18:23.82) also earned all-conference honors with top-16 finishes for York (38), which finished comfortably ahead of OPRF (69) and Downers Grove North (72).
“It’s amazing since 2020 has been really weird,” Quinn said. “Obviously there’s nerves going into every race but we have a great pack up front and our first heat went really too so we were confident.”
In the boys race, Downers Grove North (44) won the battle of top-10 ranked teams over Lyons Township (51) and Hinsdale Central (55) for its first Silver title since 2016 and 2017, when the Trojans were Class 3A state champions.
In his fourth varsity Silver race, LT senior Owen Hays (14:51.36) won after never previously finishing higher than 11th.
“Coming from last year (15th), I had a bit of trouble with some health so I’m really happy to have won it,” Hays said. “It’s a great conference. To win it is pretty special, especially senior year.”
Owens set the tone for York's girls by winning the socially-distancing first of two races with five runners per team intended for No. 6-10 runners. Quinn was York’s second finisher all season to junior Brooke Berger, who was 21st Saturday in 18:43.05.
“These girls have been working so hard since June. They’ve been going with the punches, all of the different bumps and things that we’ve gone through,” York coach Lauren DeAngelis said. “What makes this team special is that they’re a team.”
Glenbard West junior Audrey Allman (17:22.41) was third for the second year in a row. Downers Grove North senior Melissa Jachim was fourth in 17:25.07, followed by Lyons Township senior Kate Dickman (sixth, 17:44.38), Hinsdale Central sophomore Sarah Fischer (eighth, 17:48.90) and LT sophomore Catherine Sommerfeld (ninth, 17:49.52).
Dickman completed four, top-eight all-conference finishes. Jachim, fifth in 2019, drastically improved her 18:22 Camera time from Sept. 4.
“I was somewhere between eighth and 12th for the first mile. Then I just started passing people in the second and the last mile I kind of just stuck it out. I was really proud of that,” Jachim said.
Also all-conference were Downers North freshman Sydney Hnatiuk (11th, 18:01.83) and senior Allison van de Wetering (15th, 18:29.71) and Hinsdale Central sophomore Catie McCabe (12th, 18:15.96).
Downers North won the boys title behind Evan Cummins (fourth, 15:12.63), juniors Roy Llewellyn (fifth, 15:14.52) and Kyle McNally (eighth, 15:18.83) and senior Chris Allen (ninth, 15:18.94) in the top 10 and senior Elijah Chen (18th, 15:46,58), who won the first race.
LT’s other all-conference runners were junior Charlie McLawhorn (sixth, 15:15.39) and seniors Jocquel Thorpe (12th, 15:32.81) and Sawyer Madell (15th, 15:37.17).
The Lions beat Downers North 33-37 in their Oct. 10 triangular with York (60) but the Trojans also put six ahead of LT’s fifth that race.
“This is definitely something we’ve marked off on the schedule,” Cummins said. “To get a conference win like my freshman year, to be able to kind of bring this back, is something super special.”
Glenbard West senior Pierce Cousins (14:57.87) used a late kick to edge Hinsdale Central sophomore Dan Watcke (14:58.30) for second.
“A big time racer – I wanted to make a difference in conference,” Cousins said.
Hinsdale Central senior Henning Ley (seventh, 15:16.75), junior Colby Revord (11th, 15:32.15) and senior Piyush Mekla (13th, 15:33.62) and Glenbard West junior Michael Miller (14th, 15:35.99) and York senior Sam Ayers (16th, 15:38.17) also were all-conference.