Cross country insider: Runners ready for state meet

Boys Cross Country Athlete of the Week

Ryan Pitner

Crystal Lake Central, Senior

Pitner won the IHSA Class 2A Belvidere Sectional Meet last Saturday in 15:09.09 to help the Tigers to third place as a team.

Pitner ran right behind Dixon’s Simon Thorpe for most of the race, then made his move in the final 800 meters and won by 12 seconds. It was his first sectional title.

Central will be running in the state meet on Saturday at Detweiller Park. It’s the Tigers’ fourth consecutive trip to the state meet.

Girls Cross Country Athlete of the Week

Maura Beattie

Woodstock, Senior

Beattie won the Class 2A Belvidere Sectional last Saturday in 17:43.98, beating DeKalb’s Kelsey Schrader by 3.5 seconds.

It was Beattie’s first sectional title and she the entire race. Beattie will finish her career in the IHSA Cross Country State Meet this Saturday at Peoria’s Detweiller Park.

Beattie has lost only one race this season and likely will be one of the top finishers in Class 2A.


Fast rookie: Prairie Ridge freshman Filip Pajak has turned in an impressive season for his first at the high school level and will run in the Class 2A boys race at Saturday’s state meet in Peoria.

Pajak finished 11th to lead the Wolves, who will be competing as a team.

“That was my goal to make it to state,” Pajak said. “I wasn’t expecting too much out of it. I kept that goal in mind every time I ran.”

Wolves coach Judd Shutt knew Pajak was fast, but marvels still at his progress.

“He could do the training with all the top runners, but usually that doesn’t translate to running ability because you have a young body who doesn’t put the speed in in the last 800 meters of the race,” Shutt said. “So he’s really surprised me. He makes up for it by mental toughness. He’s really proved that he does belong. He should have his eyes up there, this is a tough sectional. Tthere’s no reason he can’t be setting a pretty high goal for what he can place at state.”

Next generation: Marian Central freshman Abby Jones will run in the Class 1A girls race at the state meet Saturday. Jones is the daughter of former Hurricanes' distance star Laura Witek Jones.

Witek was a Class A All-State runner in 1990, 1991 and 1992, as well as a distance standout in track and field.

IHSA State Cross Country Meet

At Peoria’s Detweiller Park

Class 1A Girls, 9 a.m.

Local qualifiers


Harvard: Jazmin Anaya, Daphne Austin, Taylor Binz, Javauneeka Jacobs, Morgan Logan, Jordan Peterson, Katie Wright.

Individuals: Abby Jones (Marian Central).

Class 1A Boys, 10 a.m.

Local qualifiers

Class 1A

Individuals: Jorge Pichardo (Harvard).

Class 2A Girls, 11 a.m.

Local qualifiers


Crystal Lake Central: Maddie Dagley, Mary Fleming, Kelly Doerr, Janine Orvis, Brooke Larsen, Avery Robertson, Rachel Kautz.

Marengo: Kitty Allen, Allie Sprague, Ashlynd Broling, Katie St. Clair, Kaylin Punotai, Sarah Shefcik.

Individuals: Maura Beattie (Woodstock), Kate Jacobs (Woodstock), Erin Wagner (Prairie Ridge).

Class 2A Boys, noon

Local qualifiers


Crystal Lake Central: Ryan Pitner, Nick Amato, Zach Gemmel, P.J. McKay, Michael Penza, Cole Barkocy, Jake Cannizzo.

Prairie Ridge: Filip Pajak, Mitch Kazin, Scott Hearne, Jude Mariutto, Tyler Figgins, Chris Berg, David Tulke.

Individuals: Luke Beattie (Woodstock).

Class 3A Girls, 1 p.m.

Local qualifiers

Individuals: Talia Duzey (Cary-Grove), Morgan Schulz (Cary-Grove), Lauren Van Vlierbergen (Jacobs), Lauren Opatrny (McHenry), Katie Purich (McHenry).

Class 3A Boys, 2 p.m.

Local qualifiers

Individuals: Jesse Reiser (McHenry), Matt Johnson (Jacobs), Keagan Smith (Huntley).

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