By Matt Nestor
The Belvidere North cross country team was considered the favorites coming into the 2009 cross country season. They proved why with a dominant performance in the NIC-10 conference championship race.
The Blue Thunder took first place in all three races as a team as well as taking first place in the individual honors as well in the freshman/sophomore boys’, varsity boys’ and varsity girls’ race.
The varsity boys’ team was far and away the most dominant group for Belvidere North in the race. They totaled 24 points as a team. The second-place team, Hononegah, only managed 52 points.
Junior Paul Zeman won the varsity boys’ race for Belvidere North with a time of 14:58. Logan Volkey, Bruyn Yunk and Garrett Lee took fourth through sixth in the race, and Carl Rapp took eighth to anchor the team.
Hononegah was strong, with Kevin Jacobs finishing second at 15:23 and Ryan Ballard coming in third at 15:41. But that was their only runners in the top 12. Devan Delorme of Jefferson took third at 16:12.
The girls’ race was much closer. Ava Lowery (19:03), Kayla Droessler (19:36), and Rebekah Hilby (19:40) all landed top 10 finishes for second-place Boylan, who had 53 points. That was more top 10s than Belvidere North.
But Belvidere North was paced by first-place finisher Kristen Levi (18:06), as well as strong finishes from Callie Lee, Kirsten Mainguy, Aspen Kremer and Nicole Zeien, to win the team title with 48 points.
Leah Rafferty of Harlem finished second with a time of 18:24 while Rachel McDowell finished third at 18:43.
The closest race was held at the freshman/sophomore boys’ level. Harlem ran an unbelievable race, placing all five finishers in the top 10. The Huskies took spots four through eight, led by Nick Miller at 14:06.
But Belvidere North took the top three spots, led by Paxson Menard (13:33), who won the individual race, and their fifth-place runner finished just ahead of a Harlem runner to give Belvidere North a 29-30 victory over Harlem.
“Normally, when your top five guys finish fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth out of 50 runners, you are going to win the meet,” Harlem coach Richard Johnson said. “It is hard not to be disappointed when you lose the conference meet by 1 point, but (his team) all ran well.”
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From the October 21-27, 2009 issue