By Matt Nestor
Harlem cross country coach Richard Johnson decided to take a calculated risk Saturday, Oct. 24, at the IHSA class 3A regional held at Rock Valley College.
All season, his freshmen and sophomore boys’ team had run well, winning most of their meets along the way. For the regional, he decided to bring some of the underclassmen up to run.
The move paid off for Harlem, who edged Hononegah by 6 points to take the regional crown.
“We had a real good fresh/soph team, and we kept them down all season,” Harlem coach Richard Johnson said. “We brought them up, and we thought we would be competitive. That’s why you run the races. If they ran real well, we thought we could have a shot, and we did.”
Hononegah ran a very good race, placing two of the top three runners and three of the top six overall. Senior Kevin Jacobs paced the field with a time of 16:05. He was supported by Dragan Simic at third with 16:29 and Ryan Ballard sixth at 16:34.
But while the top of the team ran well, the next two runners for the Indians came in 14th and 22nd.
Harlem ran well as a team. Freshman Nick Miller led the team, finishing fourth at 16:31. What made the difference for Harlem was their fifth runner finishing only 13th.
“We’re really excited,” Johnson said. “We beat Hononegah, and they have a really good team with a lot of talent. Any time you can beat a team like that, you can’t help but be excited.”
Boylan finished fourth overall, and will advance to the sectional round. Jefferson is sending three runners to the sectional, with Evan Jarzynski, Devan Delmore and Tyler Winger advancing. Auburn is sending Nick Dalpra and Mark Saul to the sectional.
In the girls’ race, Boylan, Hononegah and Harlem took third, fourth and fifth place to advance to the sectional. Rachel MacDowell took third place for Hononegah at 19:23, and Leah Rafferty took fourth for Harlem at 19:32.
Also advancing to the sectional was Laren Buck and Siena Peterson of Guilford, Caroline Pilcher and Catalina Rodriguez of Auburn and Amy Trostel of Jefferson.
In Freeport, Belvidere North’s boys and girls advanced to the Class 2A sectional round. The girls’ team took second place overall, while the boys won by a large margin again.
In Class 1A, Rockford Christian, Rockford Lutheran and Winnebago all had their boys’ and girls’ teams place in the regional and advance to the next round.
From the October 28 – November 3, 2009