A large contingent of teams and individuals earned spots in the Class 3A Lockport cross country sectional races after their performances at the Plainfield South regional Saturday in Channahon.
Two girls and two boys teams advanced as well as 10 individuals to next Saturday’s races at Dellwood Park in Lockport.
“Next week is going to be fun,” boys coach Jason Crowe said. “There are some great teams, some great competition and it’s a great course. It’s a cross country course. And, we qualified for the state meet there two years ago, so we’re looking forward to it.”
Plainfield South team member Dan Lathrop concurred.
“We’re looking to get a spot at state and if we run solid, we should make it,” he said. “Running is more mental than anything. We’re familiar with the course and we’ll be ready to run Saturday. Everyone has to have a good race and, hopefully, we can make it to Peoria.”
Plainfield South took second (56 points) and was third (89) at the regional.
“The plan was to move on today, taper a little bit and go as hard as we can on Saturday,” Plainfield East coach Rich Gatz said. “We circled Oct. 29 on our calendars in June. Our mission all year was to get to the (sectional race). Every other race was a build up to that race. We didn’t care if we were first or seventh today, as long as we got to the next race.”
Individually, Plainfield South senior Tyler Ryan earned an all-regional medal by taking fifth in 15:30. Lathrop was next for the Cougars, taking seventh in 15:39.
“We came up a little bit short,” Lathrop said. “We’re getting close and we had an overall good race.”
“Our goal was to have five guys under 16 minutes and four of them did that,” Crowe said. “Joey Weis, a senior, really stepped up today. Tyler bounced back and ran a lot better than he did last week, Dan is such a competitor and Cody Dyer ran a (personal record).”
Weis ran a 15:46 to take eighth. Joe Suarez led Plainfield East by taking 11th in 15:49.
“I really tried to push it, but I wasn’t feeling it today for some reason,” Suarez said. “Next week, we have to do it.”
Senior Grace Lawrence (seventh in 18:59) and junior Emily Vihnanek (10th in 19:15) led Plainfield Central, which took fourth with 95 points. Plainfield South was the seventh and final team qualifier with 173 points.
Kayla Rice’s 12th place finish in 19:26 led the Cougars. The first individual qualifier was Plainfield East’s Cindy Vasquez (18th in 19:31).