Blue Thunder takes championship

By Matt Nestor

Sports Columnist

Belvidere North boys’ cross country team ran like they were the best team all season. They proved that to be true at the IHSA Class 2A state championships.

The Blue Thunder took home multiple titles in the tournament, winning the team title by 42 points over second-place Normal University. They were anchored by individual champion, junior Paul Zeman, who was 5 seconds better than the next runner at 15:09.

In all, Belvidere North was the only team to have all their finishers in the top 30 of the 166-runner field. Zeman was aided by a ninth-place finish for Garrett Lee, 15th for Bruyn Yunk, 24th for Tyler Yunk, and 28th for Carl Rapp.

This was the Blue Thunder’s first state championship. And with a very young team, they will likely be the favorites to repeat next year.

In Class 1A, junior Justin Rehfeldt of Rockford Christian finished 7 seconds better than the field to win the individual championship in the class. His team finished 16th overall.

On the girls’ side, Winnebago won the girls’ class 1A title. They were led by top 10 finishes from Tessa Hoefle and Alex Palm. It was the second straight title for Winnebago.

In other NIC-10 action:

Top boys’ soccer team, the Freeport Pretzels, had a rough go of it at the IHSA Class 2A championships. In the semifinals round, the Pretzels were blitzed by Peoria Notre Dame, losing 6-0. The next day, in the third-place game, Freeport got a late goal from Danny Streenwood to force overtime. But after playing four overtimes, A.J. Wise’s goal in the 111th minute was enough for the Troy (Triad) Knights to down the Pretzels.

The Boylan Titans dominated the field at the NIC-10 girls’ swimming championships, as expected. It was the fourth straight title for the Titans. They won 10 of 12 events to distance themselves from the field. Taylor Mollin and Katherine Nelson both won four events for the Titans, while Rachel Larson won three. The Titans will try to work their way toward the state tournament next, with regionals at Byron.

From the November 11-17, 2009 issue

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