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2009 IESA State Cross-Country Meet Saturday

A total of 944 runners from 168 different schools will compete in the four races at the 2009 Illinois Elementary School Association (IESA) State Final Cross-Country Meet Saturday (October 17) at Maxwell Park in Normal. This is year No. 31 for boys cross-country and year No. 30 for the girls. It is the 13th year of two-class cross-country for boys and girls.

The four races will be run Saturday morning on the 3200-meter course at Maxwell Park. The Awards Ceremonies will be held in the gymnasium at Parkside Junior High School. The course winds its way behind and around the school, is relatively flat, and provides excellent viewing for all spectators. More than 5,000 people are expected to be at the races. There is no admission fee.

The schedule of races will be: Class A Girls at 10:00 a.m.; Class A Boys at 10:45 a.m.; Class AA Girls at 11:45 a.m.; Class AA Boys at 12:30 p.m. The Class A Award Ceremony is scheduled to begin at 1:00 p.m. The Class AA Award Ceremony will start at 2:30. The top 25 individuals in each race earn a medallion. Trophies are awarded to the top four schools in each class and members of those teams each receive a medallion.

Computer chip scoring will be used in Saturday's races for the third time. The runners will "run through" the finish line like they do in a track meet. The runners wear a computer chip on each foot and the chip registers electronically on sensors at the finish line. River City Race Management, Peoria, Illinois will be administering the chip scoring system.

In Class A Girls, 241 runners from 68 schools qualified for the state meet.

In Class A Boys, 235 runners from 67 schools qualified for Saturday's race.

In Class AA Girls, 234 runners from 64 schools qualified for the state meet.

In Class AA Boys, 234 runners from 63 schools will compete Saturday.

There were 9 Class A sectionals and 9 Class AA sectionals. The top 3 teams plus the top 5 individuals who are not on one of the top 3 teams qualify for the state meet. An individual who finished in the top 10 individually at sectional but wasn't on one of the top 3 teams or one of the first 5 individuals not on a top 3 team also advanced this year. Only 3 runners out of the 944 who advanced to the state meet, qualified this way.

There are a total of 26 fifth graders competing in the four races, 177 sixth graders, 256 seventh graders and 485 eighth graders. By race:

The complete roster of runners in each of the four races, and their starting boxes, are on the IESA Web Site at www.iesa.org. Results of the meet will be posted on the web site Saturday evening.

Here is a breakdown of each race:

Class A Girls at 10:00 a.m.

Defending team champion Liberty and last year's team runner-up Springfield St. Agnes appear to be on a collision course for the 2009 Class A girls crown. Meanwhile, the only returnees from last year's top 10 individuals -- Danica Dragoo of Germantown Hills and Amanda Thate of Downers Grove Lakeview -- were both sectional champions and come into the state meet among the favorites.

Liberty won the 2008 team title with 86 points and Springfield St. Agnes was second at 133. They were the only teams to score lass than 175 team points in last year's state meet. Both schools won the team title in their sectional last Saturday with strong performances. Liberty, with only one eighth grader and only one seventh grader on the roster, won the sectional with 42 points. Springfield St. Agnes, with three eighth graders on the roster, won the sectional with 20 points. Dunlap Valley MS posted the lowest sectional team score at 17.

The only eighth grader on the Liberty team is Cassie Clingling. The seventh grader is Olivia Hanzel, who finished 51st in last year's state meet in a time of 13:13. The heart of the team is a foursome of sixth graders led by Jackie Graham who won the sectional in 12:34 and was No. 32 in last year's state meet in 13:00. The others are Katie Cook who was No. 33 in the state last year in 13:00, Adrian Siebers who was No. 34 in the state last year in 13:01 and Michaela Leapley. Fifth grader Blair Genenbacher rounds out the team.

Two sets of sisters anchor the Springfield St. Agnes team. Seventh grade twins Bridget and Meghan McClain are joined by seventh grader Taylor Pohlman and her fifth grade sister Abby. Eighth graders Laura Seadler and Keely Kolis and sixth grader Sophia Gullo complete the roster. A year ago in the state meet Bridget McClain finished No. 26 individually in 12:44, Laura Seadler No. 36 in 13:01, Taylor Pohlman No. 54 in 13:16 and Meghan McClain No. 89 in 13:43.

Dunlap Valley MS has a roster of three eighth graders and four seventh graders. Kaylie Noll finished 68th in 13:23 last year and won the sectional last Saturday in 12:56. The other eighth graders are Kasey Kolb, and Danielle Snarr. The seventh graders are Chloe Gunn, Pauline Istas, Abby Jockisch and Allison Verville.

Danica Dragoo of Germantown Hills placed fourth in last year's state meet in a time of 12:01. Seventh grader Amanda Thate of Downers Grove Lakeview placed sixth in last year's state meet. Olivia Rohr of Springfield Christian ran the fastest sectional race with a time of 12:24. Tegan Beard of Toledo Cumberland finished 17th in the individual race last year in 12:34 and Loren Brooks of St. Joseph was No. 20 in 12:37. Both their teams won the sectional last Saturday.

Class A Boys at 10:45 a.m.

The only top 10 individual finisher in last year's Class A boys race returning is Seth Trobaugh of Clifton Nash who placed ninth in a time of 11:13. He won his sectional race last Saturday in 12:06. The 2009 individual race is wide open with any of the sectional champions capable of running off with the crown.

Nick Godsell of Philo St. Thomas was No. 13 in the individual race last year in 11:18 and he returns. Jon Bluhm of Springfield St. Agnes was No. 14 in the state last year and won his sectional Saturday in 11:21. Peter Keller of Effingham St. Anthony finished No. 21 at state in 11:26 last year and won his sectional in 11:14, the fastest winning time in the sectionals.

The other sectional winners advancing to this year's state meet are Max Roberts of Green Oaks Oak Grove (11:39), Nick Groeper of Elmwood (11:45), Chris Fortin of Peoria St. Philomena (11:42), Daniel Plunkett of Pleasant Plains (11:29), John Leverenz of Danville St. Paul (11:36), and Brian King of Heyworth (11:22), the sleeper in the race. King outran all of his competitors last May at the boys 7A IESA state track meet when he captured 1st place in both the 800 and 1600 meter runs.

All of the sectional team champions except for Tremont and Dunlap Valley MS won with point totals in the forties. Tremont won a rugged sectional with 23 points, beating runner-up and perennial power Eureka by 34 points. Dunlap Valley MS took another tough sectional with 37 points.

The Tremont team is a seasoned one with seventh grader Gabe Thompson the only runner not in eighth grade. The rest of the team includes Jake Ashby, Connor Ehnle, Caleb Imig, Mitch Juchems, Isaac Schweigert and Isiah Thompson.

Dunlap Valley MS beat another regular contender, Elmwood, by 11 points to claim the sectional team title. Members of the team are Paul Chakraborty, Phillip Copeland, John Eberle, Aaron Fordyce, Jacob Gatliff, Justin Grenne and Anthony Holshouser.

Class AA Girls Race at 11:45 a.m.

McKayla Harder of Mt. Zion is favored to win the individual title and Chatham Glenwood guns for its third straight team crown, a fitting tribute to the successful program that retiring Coach Sue Zartler has built.

Only a seventh grader, McKayla Harder has not lost a race this year. Her resume includes victories at Maxwell Park in the Normal Parkside Invitational and at Peoria's Detweiller Park Dunlap Invitational meet. She also won the East Peoria Central Invitational meet. She won her sectional in 12:23 and her Mt. Zion team took the meet with 22 points, placing 1-2-4-5-10-15-16 in the team scoring. Mt. Zion's other runners are seventh grader Megan Bailey, eighth grader Madeline Gierach, eighth grader Sarah White, eighth grader Taylor Bordewick, seventh grader Connor Kuhle and eighth grader Nasrin Hosseini.

The top returning individual from last year is Kelsey Schrader, an 8th grader from DeKalb Clinton Rosette who finished seventh in 2008 with a time of 12:00. She won her sectional Saturday in 12:01. Schrader won both the 800 meter and 16000 meter runs last May in the 7th grade Class AA IESA state track meet. The top time by a sectional winner this year was 11:37 by Erin Schrobilgen of Oak Park Julian. She finished at No. 14 last year in the state meet with a time of 12:12.

J. J. Robinson of New Lenox Martino was 11th last year at state in 12:09 and won her sectional Saturday in 12:04. Andrea Gordon of Normal Parkside was a sixth grader last year and placed 16th in 2008 at the state meet in 12:14. Gordon won her sectional last Saturday on the Maxwell Park course in 12:13.

Kristen Aydt led Chatham Glenwood to the sectional team title with the individual win in 12:18. She was 12th at the 2008 state meet in a time of 12:10. Glenwood won the team title a year ago with 111 points to the 120 of runner-up Normal Parkside. Chatham Glenwood won its sectional with 20 points and Normal Parkside won its sectional with 18. Since 2000, Chatham Glenwood's girls team has placed fourth or better in seven of those nine years, finishing no lower than third since 2004. Fellow eighth graders on the Chatham Glenwood team joining Aydt are Clare Bennett and Breianna Lowe. Seventh graders are Maggie Juhlin and Taylor Mueller. Cassady Garner and Kyra Webster are sixth graders.

The Normal Parkside team includes seventh graders Brea Fairley, Mackenzie Gallagher, Andrea Gordon, Amanda Gerwick, Christy Hulett and Ashley Lafayette, plus eighth grader Brea Hines.

Channahon could be a sleeper in the team race. The team took its sectional with 36 points and includes eighth graders Haley McNamara, Haley Renison, Maddi Valentino, with seventh graders Shara Cochrane, Jessica Karalow and Andrea Zecca, plus sixth grader Maddie Alessio.

Class AA Boys Race at 12:30 p.m.

Chatham Glenwood figures to be in the chase for the team title in the boys meet, too. Retiring Coach Sue Zartler's team blitzed its way to the sectional title Saturday scoring 19 points to finish 57 points ahead of second place Jacksonville Turner. Chatham Glenwood finished a distant second in last year's state meet to Normal Parkside, also a contender this year along with New Lenox Martino.

The top finishing individual in last year's meet that returns this year is Noah Johnson of Chatham Glenwood. Johnson placed 10th at the 2008 state meet with a time of 10:56 and won his sectional at Rochester on Saturday in 11:08. Teammate Michael Giovannelli was 20th at state a year ago in 11:07 and is also back. Other members of the Chatham Glenwood team are eighth graders Isaac Albracht, Trevor Dowell, Grant Kaiser and John Schroll, plus seventh grader Cole Harper. With Sue Zartler as coach, Chatham Glenwood has finished eighth or better in the boys meet every year since 2000, winning the title in 2002. Last year, Chatham Glenwood won 1st place team honors in the girls meet and placed second in the boys meet.

Joe Nelson led New Lenox Martino to the sectional title with 21 points and a 78-point margin over second place Mokena. Nelson was 12th in the state meet last year in 10:59 and won his sectional Saturday in 10:49. Other members of the team are eighth graders Kevin Fabian, Chris Kaminski, David Katula, J.T. Schmitt and Brian Wenger, along with 7th grader Jackson Waters.

Buffalo Grove Cooper nudged Arlington Heights South by one point 57-58 to win their own sectional. Cooper, coached by Tim Thiessen, traditionally scores very well at the IESA state meet. Cooper placed 4th last year and also in 2003, 2001, and 2000; 2nd in 2007, 2005 and 1997; and captured 1st place honors in 2004.

The roster for perennial power Normal Parkside includes only two runners who competed in the 2008 state meet. The Pythons will be gunning for their 4th consecutive boys title. On the Parkside roster are 8th graders Justin Dedianous (86th in 2008 at 11:54) and J.D. Lafayette (149th in 2008 at 12:21). The others on this year's team are eighth graders Tyler Dedianous, Evan Goodyear, Sam Totten, plus sixth graders Matt DeGroot and Timmy O'Brien. DeGroot finished 2nd individually Saturday at the sectional. In 2008, Parkside won 1st place team honors in the boys meet and placed second in the girls meet.

Joe Nelson of New Lenox Martino had the fastest sectional time with a 10:49. A favorite has to be Simon Thorpe of Dixon Reagan who ran 10:50 Saturday on the Maxwell Park course at the sectional, 28 seconds faster than the 6th grader from Parkside, Matt DeGroot. Other contenders for the individual title include Nick Karasch of Oswego Plank who won his sectional in 10:54, Will Giroux of Homer Glen Homer who won his sectional in 10:59. A sleeper in the individual race is Braden Sims of Mt. Zion who ran 11:25 to win the sectional race at the challenging Lake of the Woods course in Mahomet. Sims has finished in the top three in every race he has run in 2009.



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