8Inside cross country

Athletes of the Week


Alex Baker

Crystal Lake Central, sr.

Baker continued his outstanding season by taking third place at the Palatine Invitational on Sept. 22 at Deer Grove Forest Preserve.

Baker ran the 3-mile course in 14:53.9 and ran the final 400 meters without his left shoe. Baker won the McHenry County Meet and is leading the fourth-ranked Class 2A team by

Baker’s left heel was clipped from behind with about a mile to go and he ran with his heel on the back of the shoe until about 400 meters remained. He then kicked off the shoe and finished with only a sock on his left foot.


Talia Duzey

Cary-Grove, so.

Duzey took 10th in the Palatine Invitational on Sept. 22 at Deer Grove Forest Preserve in 17:44.0. She and third-place finisher Sami Staples, of Crystal Lake Central were the only top-10 finishers from the area, although McHenry’s Lauren Opatrny was close at 12th.

Duzey said she felt a lot stronger on the 3-mile course than last year. She improved her finish from 49th to 10th.

“I really didin’t know who was here [competing],” she said. “I just wanted to stay toward the front of the pack and see what I could do from there.”


Adams, Van Vlierbergen win: Marengo senior Katie Adams won Grant’s James Taylor Invitational in 18:17.22 as the Indians put four runners in the top 10 to grab that team title.

Jacobs sophomore Lauren Van Vlierbergen, who also has been having an outstanding season, won the individual title at the Bartlett Invitational on Saturday, leading the Golden Eagles to second place as a team. Jacobs’ Sam Baran was third in that race.

Where they rank: Several local boys and girls teams appear in the top 25 on Illinois Prep Harrier ( this week.

In Class 2A girls, Marengo is No. 2 and Crystal Lake Central is No. 4. Marengo won the Kaneland Invitational two weeks ago and won at Grant to keep the No. 2 spot. Central finished behind Marengo at Kaneland, but took seventh at Palatine, regarded as one of the state’s top meets. The teams ahead of the Tigers were all Class 3A teams or from out of state.

In Class 3A girls, Jacobs is ranked No. 15.

In Class 1A boys, Richmond-Burton is No. 8 and had a strong showing at the Wauconda Invitational with fifth place Sept. 7.

In Class 2A, Central is No. 4.

This week’s top meets

Peoria Central Invitational

10 a.m. today, Detweiller Park

Cary-Grove, Huntley and McHenry will compete in boys and girls races on the course that will host the IHSA Cross Country State Meet in November.

Antioch Patricia Harland Invitational

11 a.m. today, Fox River Park, Silver Lake, Wis.

Crystal Lake Central, Harvard, Jacobs, Johnsburg and Marengo will compete in the meet. The girls varsity race starts at 11 a.m., followed by the boys varsity race. Central’s boys team will be there, but the girls run at Wheaton North today.

– Joe Stevenson

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