Inside Prep Cross Country

Athlete of the week


Jesse Reiser

McHenry, jr.

Reiser won the McHenry County Cross Country Meet title with a 15:33.9 time, almost 45 seconds better than he ran last year when he was third.

Reiser was 33 seconds ahead of Crystal Lake Central’s Ryan Pitner, who finished second.


Maura Beattie

Woodstock, sr.

Beattie ran 17:52.5 to win the McHenry County Cross Country Meet title Saturday at McHenry Township Park.

In the middle of the race, Beattie put on a surge and distanced herself from Jacobs’ Lauren Van Vlierbergen, who was second in 18:37.9.

Beattie finished her junior track season with the Class 2A state title in the 3,200 meters.


Wagner looked strong: Prairie Ridge senior Erin Wagner noticed something different during the McHenry County Meet on Saturday. In the middle of the race, she was trailing Beattie and Van Vlierbergen, and running with Cary-Grove’s Talia Duzey, something that might not have happened last year.

“I was excited to run and race,” said Wagner, who finished third in 19:11.5. “It was a really good start [to the season]. I felt calm and focused. I had a good summer of training. Being right up there was a huge confidence boost.”

Sitting out: The girls race was missing a few notable athletes who are recovering from injuries, with Crystal Lake Central’s Sami Staples, McHenry’s Lauren Opatrny and Marengo’s Allie Sprague topping that list.

Staples is working her way back into shape after battling a stress fracture through the summer. Opatrny had a hip strain, and Sprague had some foot tightness.

Opatrny was going to be examined this week and hoped to be back in action Saturday at the Crystal Lake South Invitational.

“My trainer said there could be a cartilage tear or just a minor strain,” Opatrny said. “I hope they can roll out my [Iliotibial band] and [the pain] goes away soon.”

Sprague was second in the Class 2A 1,600 meters in state track last spring and could be the top runner on a strong Marengo team.

“She battled through a stress fracture in cross country last year,” Indians coach R.J. Meyer said. “She had a great summer of training. We need to figure out what it is. She’s been doing some cross-training. She may get an MRI to see what it is.”

Parking issues: Crystal Lake South athletic director Jason Bott asks for people attending the South Cross Country Invitational on Saturday at Veteran Acres Park to park their vehicles at Crystal Lake Central or Prairie Ridge high schools.

There is no parking available for fans at Veteran Acres, although Bott said cars may pull into the parking lot to drop people off before parking at one of the high schools. There are two shuttle buses running from Central and one from Prairie Ridge.

People who park their vehicles in the neighborhood may be subject to parking tickets.

This week’s top meets

Crystal Lake South Invitational

Girls varsity race 10 a.m., boys 10:40 a.m. at Veteran Acres Park

Cary-Grove, Dundee-Crown, Hampshire, Harvard, Huntley (girls only), Johnsburg, Marian Central, McHenry and Woodstock, along with the host Gators, are the local teams competing.

St. Charles East Invitational

Girls varsity 9:30 a.m., at Leroy Oakes Forest Preserve

Jacobs is the lone local school competing, but the Golden Eagles are strong in both boys and girls.

– Joe Stevenson

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