Crystal Lake Central girls win Belvidere Cross Country Sectional

BELVIDERE – Crystal Lake Central senior Maddie Dagley did not consider Saturday’s race at the IHSA Class 2A Belvidere Cross Country Sectional Meet one of her best.

It doesn’t matter, Dagley will have another chance to run next week. Because the Tigers always have a chance to run the week after sectional.

Central won the Belvidere Sectional to qualify for the IHSA Cross Country State Meet for the seventh consecutive season. Since 2007, when the IHSA expanded to three classes, Central has qualified as a team every year.

Woodstock’s Maura Beattie won the individual sectional title, and Marengo’s Kitty Allen took third, leading the Indians to second place as a team. Central won with 103 points, Marengo had 121 to edge Vernon Hills (126) for runner-up.

Woodstock freshman Kate Jacobs (10th) and Prairie Ridge senior Erin Wagner (11th) qualified, with Beattie, as individuals. The state meet is Saturday at Peoria’s Detweiller Park.

“Today was not the best day, but I look forward to next week,” Dagley said. “I’ve made it [to state] every year of high school. It’s really cool to be a part of such a good team. We always seem to have people coming up.”

Dagley finished 12th, Central freshmen Kelly Doerr and Janine Orvis were 14th and 15th and junior Mary Fleming was 21st.

“We get good girls who come in as freshmen and we try to improve off of that,” Tigers coach Anthony DeStephano said. “The goal for every girl is just improvement. They’ve done a great job working hard together and pushing each other. Maddie and Mary set the tone in workouts for the rest and the team’s picking up on it.”

The Tigers were second, by a point, to Crystal Lake South at the Fox Valley Conference Invitational and won the Burlington Central Regional last week. And they have done it without 2011 Class 2A state champion Sami Staples, who is out for the season with an injury.

Allen will run at state for a third year after earning All-State honors last season.

“I was aiming for top five and I’m happy I was able to do better than I thought,” Allen said. “It was a good race and I’m happy for my team. It’s amazing.”

Beattie won her first sectional title and will run for the third time at state. She won in 17:43.98, with DeKalb’s Kelsey Schrader (17:47.47) in second.

“I went out hard and throughout the entire race [Schrader] really pushed me,” Beattie said. “I feel really strong and I’m ready for racing all the other girls.”

Wagner started the season strong but battled some physical issues in the middle of the season. She since has bounced back and will make her first trip to state.

“I think it was stress from school and not getting enough sleep,” Wagner said. “It was really frustrating because I’ve had to deal with that problem in the past. I’m so excited right now. All week I’ve been trying not to think about it, just being calm and it’s just another race. When I was running the race, I felt so strong. I knew if I sucked it up for a few more meters I would be going to state.”

Class 3A

Waubonsie Valley Sectional: At Aurora, Lauren Van Vlierbergen of Jacobs won the sectional with a time of 17:50. Van Vlierbergen was the only runner under the 18-minute mark at the meet and the only local runner to advance to state. The Golden Eagles finished ninth as a team with 269 points. Kayla Giuliano was second on the team with a 53rd-place finish and a time of 19:47.

Huntley finished 12th with 363 points.  Kate Mitchell was the Red Raiders' top runner with a 45th-place finish and a time of 19:36. Naperville North won the team title with 34 points.

Schaumburg Sectional: McHenry’s Lauren Opatrny won with a time of 17:45. Opatrny won by 13 seconds over Kaitlyn Ko of Buffalo Grove. The Warriors’ Katy Purich will join Opatrny at state after she finished 18th place with a time of 18:39 for the final individual qualifying spot.

Cary-Grove will also send two runners to state after Morgan Schulz and Talia Duzey posted top-15 finishes. Schulz finished fourth with a time of 18:03 and Duzey finished 15th with a time of 18:38. The Trojans finished seventh with 202 points.

Crystal Lake South was ninth with 219 points. The Gators did not send any individuals to state. Palatine won the sectional with 57 points.

Class 1A

Oregon Sectional: Harvard advanced to state after finishing fifth with 164 points to claim the final team qualifying spot. Jordan Peterson led the way for Harvard with a time of 19:45. Morgan Logan was second on the team in 20:40 and Daphne Austin added a time of 20:55.

Freshman Abby Jones of Marian Central qualified for state with a 10th-place finish and a time of 19:58. The Hurricanes finished in 11th with 279 points. Wethersfield won the meet with 83 points.

• Kevin Meyer contributed to this report.