CRYSTAL LAKE – Dundee-Crown senior Adam Swanson was not too upset that he could not maintain his slim lead late in the Crystal Lake South Cross Country Invitational.
Swanson actually marveled at the guts Rolling Meadows’ Eddie Lennon showed on the final downhill portion about 200 meters from the finish. The course at Veteran Acres Park was slick from rain, but it did not deter Lennon.
“He used that downhill perfectly,” Swanson said. “I saw him whip by me. I’m not that fast downhill. I didn’t want to fall or anything. I just did what I could.”
Which was satisfying enough for Swanson, who took second place in 16:48.4, about three seconds behind Lennon and just ahead of Kaneland’s Daniel Occhipinti. Swanson, Lucas Janikowski (eighth) and Mark Jensen (10th) finished in the top 10 to help the Chargers to second place with 90 points.
Rolling Meadows won with 66, Kaneland was third with 92 and Cary-Grove was fourth at 122. C-G’s Max Caesar was sixth to lead his team. Marian Central’s Ryan Jones took fourth.
In the girls race, Crystal Lake South finished second with 70 points. Belvidere North won with 42, C-G was third with 120 and Woodstock was fourth with 129.
South’s Mackenzie Aldridge and Olivia Beckwith took fourth and fifth, C-G’s Morgan Dieschbourg was sixth, Woodstock’s Kylie Hagmann was seventh, Marian’s Siobhan Stoll was eighth and McHenry’s Lydia Zancho was 10th.
“I just came out here and started my season well,” Swanson said. “Unfortunately on the downhill (Lennon and Occhipinti) caught me, but I gave it my all and I’m proud of the race.”
Jones was fourth in last week’s McHenry County Meet and had another strong race.
“I was pretty happy with my race. Those guys are really good,” Jones said. “I was there most of the way. They broke off pretty hard the last 800 meters. I wanted to catch up to that main pack, but since I couldn’t, at least I wanted to hold my spot.”
South’s girls should be a force in the Fox Valley Conference. The Gators had four runners in the top 14, as Emma Murphy (11th) and Chelsea Greene (14th) joined Aldridge, last week’s county champion, and Beckwith.
“The team did amazing,” Aldridge said. “We worked together a lot more in practice and talked about our goals for the season. We’re ready to keep competing.”
Beckwith slipped on the final downhill part and slid headfirst about 20 feet on the grass, which was wetter because the girls race took place after the boys and more rain had fallen.
“I took a different way down the hill,” Beckwith said, laughing. “I started sliding, I went a little too fast with my momentum. I got back up and finished, thankfully. We’re really proud of what we did today.”