Girls cross country wins regional; boys take third

The boys and girls varsity cross country teams headed to Lake Forest on Saturday, Oct. 26, for their regional races, competing in heavy wind and cold temperatures; each team advanced to next week’s sectional competition.

Of the 10 teams competing, the girls were the best, beating out the second place finisher by a whopping 46 points. The girls team scored 48 points, while second-place Warren only had 94 (in cross country, a team wants the lowest score. The first five runners from each team to cross the finish line receive the points that correspond to their place. The first place runner receives one point, the second place runner two, and so on.)

Freshman phenom Sheila Tucker took first place in the girls race, crossing the finish line in 17 minutes and 25 seconds, beating second place by more than 20 seconds. Her first-place finish gave her the fastest time of any freshman girl in the state by more than 10 seconds. Sophomore Bree Ponchak and junior Annalese Chudy were both close behind, taking sixth and seventh, respectively, with times of 18:24 and 18:26.

The boys varsity team took third place, scoring 89 points, 18 points off the first-place finishers from Warren. Senior Will Gordon started out with the early lead, eventually finishing in third place with a time of 14 minutes and 40 seconds. He is looking to head back to the state final for the second year in a row with a good finish at next weekend’s sectional meet.

Junior Liam Tucker beat his personal best time by more than 40 seconds, placing seventh overall. His time of 14:52 is the first time he’s ever gone under 15 minutes in the three-mile race, and it came in difficult conditions.

The Wildcats hope their successes will continue at next week’s sectional meet in Hoffman Estates, where their individual places will determine if they head to the state final in Peoria. All 14 varsity runners from the boys and girls teams will be running next weekend, thanks to their automatic team qualification from taking first and third place in their respective races.