Athlete of the Week
Reiser has established himself as one of the area’s top runners in the season’s first two weeks.
He took third at the Crystal Lake South Invitational Saturday at Lippold Park, covering the 3.1-mile course in 15:19.8. That finish was a week after he was third in the McHenry County Meet.
Reiser then won a double dual meet Tuesday against Cary-Grove and Jacobs in 16:20, 8 seconds ahead of C-G’s Dustin Throw in second.
Lauren Van Vlierbergen
Van Vlierbergen recorded her second runner-up finish in big meets when she took second in the St. Charles East Leavey Invitational at Leroy Oakes Forest Preserve.
Van Vlierbergen finished in 17:10.8, just behind York’s Emma Fisher (17:09.4). She also won Tuesday in Fox Valley Conference Valley Division double dual races at Hickory Nut Grove in Cary. Van Vlierbergen’s winning time was 19:03, 32 seconds ahead of the second-place runner.
To start the season, Van Vlierbergen was runner-up at the McHenry County Meet to Marengo’s Katie Adams.
Back at full strength: Crystal Lake Central’s girls team, which is expected to be one of the state’s best in Class 2A, will have its full lineup for Saturday’s Wauconda Invitational.
Sophomore Sami Staples, the defending Class 2A state champion, battled through a stress fracture this summer and was held out of the McHenry County Meet on Aug. 25. Junior Avery Robertson, the Tigers’ No. 4 runner, also missed the county meet after collapsing in a workout earlier that week.
Both will be ready to run Saturday.
“We’re just taking a little slower approach to get [Staples] ready,” DeStephano said. “She’s ready to run. As a team, we’re getting bigger competition with some schools we’ll see later in the season.”
Central won the Wauconda Invitational and Staples was second last year.
Helping hand: Jim Wheeler retired from teaching and coaching after the 2011-12 school year, his 11th as head coach for McHenry in boys and girls cross country. But Wheeler is not far away this season, he is volunteering with new coach Beth Czubik, who was his assistant coach the previous four seasons.
“It’s amazing having him around,” Czubik said. “I don’t think I would be able to do it without him. I’m grateful he’s there looking over my shoulder and giving me advice whenever I need it.”
9:30 a.m. Saturday, Lakewood Forest Preserve
Cary-Grove, Crystal Lake Central, Crystal Lake South, Harvard, Huntley, Johnsburg and McHenry will run in one of the state’s biggest invitationals. Central’s girls will try to defend their team title.
Peoria Woodruff Invitational
9 a.m. Saturday, Detweiller Park
Dundee-Crown, Jacobs, Marengo and Woodstock will compete on the course that hosts the IHSA Cross Country State Meet in November.
– Joe Stevensonjoestevenson@shawmedia.com