Athlete of the week
Smith took seventh at the Peoria Central Invitational Saturday at Detweiller Park, leading the Red Raiders to seventh place in the 53-team meet.
Smith ran the course where next month’s IHSA State Meet will be in 15:09. His sophomore teammate Seth Conroy finished 15th.
Smith has been one of the area’s top runners and has gotten stronger throughout the season.
Crystal Lake South, fr.
Bruzzini finished fourth Saturday in the Antioch Invitational, leading the Gators to first place with 46 points. Grayslake Central was second with 104.
Bruzzini ran 20:15.70 for the Gators, who have several freshman and sophomore runners playing integral roles now on the team.
The team win was South’s first this season.
FVC crowns champs: The official Fox Valley Conference division champions were crowned when the dual meets were completed Tuesday.
All four division champs from the previous season repeated this year. Crystal Lake Central went 6-0 in both boys and girls to win the Fox Division. Jacobs’ boys and Cary-Grove’s girls repeated on the Valley side.
The FVC Invitational will be run next week at Woodstock’s Emricson Park. Central and Jacobs may be the top teams in the boys race, while Cary-Grove, Central and Woodstock (FVC Fox runner-up) should battle for the girls title.
Growing Gators: Crystal Lake South may be the area’s most improved girls team, with a huge boost coming from Bruzzini and fellow freshmen Debra Tomlinson and Ann Lewandowski.
The Gators won the Antioch Invitational on Saturday, although Jacobs did not run its top girls for the varsity race. Still, South finished only two points behind Jacobs a week earlier at the Bartlett Invitational.
“The team has progressed beyond my expectations,” Gators coach Ken Greenfield said. “[Kiley] Britten and [Andie] Kobrick made huge jumps from last year. I knew our freshmen had some talent, but they’ve put together the racing part of things quicker than I though they would.”
Greenfield said Malgorzata Waz, South’s No. 1 runner last year, has improved, but has been “swallowed up by our pack.”
Four of the top seven are freshmen who competed on the freshman-sophomore level for the first few races but now are competing well at the varsity level.
This week’s top meets
10 a.m. Saturday, Rush Creek Conservation Area
Harvard, Hampshire and Crystal Lake South (boys only) will compete in a relay race where creativity is encouraged for the batons. There are three two-person relay teams for each competing school. Each member runs 1.5 miles twice during their race.
Wheeling Wildcat Invitational
10 a.m. Saturday, Allstate Campus in Northbrook
Huntley’s boys and girls will compete in the meet.
– Joe Stevenson