WOODSTOCK – Marian Central junior Ryan Jones thought he was going to have company for the Class 2A boys race at next week’s IHSA Cross Country State Meet at Peoria’s Detweiller Park.
Jones took seventh in the Woodstock North Sectional Meet Saturday at Emricson Park, while Hurricanes sophomore Peter Walsdorf was close behind, as he has been all season, taking 12th.
Walsdorf, however, missed being one of the seven individual qualifiers to make it by one spot.
Also qualifying locally was Crystal Lake Central’s boys team, which took third. In the girls race, Prairie Ridge’s girls team, led by third-place finisher Chelsea Gale, took third place. Crystal Lake South, which was fifth, also earned a trip to Detweiller, and individually, Woodstock’s Kylie Hagmann (fifth) and Central’s Kylie Smith (11th) earned state berths.
For Jones, it will be his third trip to state, but his first in Class 2A.
“I was definitely a lot more nervous, but I’m really excited for the challenge,” said Jones, who finished in 15:37.5. “It will be a really good time. I heard some guys coming behind me (near the end) and I really wanted to kick it in, and I did.”
Jones lauded Walsdorf for being a “great training buddy.” Walsdorf finished in 15:50.3, only 3.2 seconds behind Rockford Christian’s Riley Wells in 11th. Wells took the final individual spot. The top five teams and top seven individuals not on those teams advance to state.
“It’s awesome,” Walsdorf said of his finish. “I didn’t really expect, going into the season, to be in this spot. It worked out really well. (Jones) is so fast, I just want to be up there with him.”
Central coach Bill Eschman was excited that his team qualified with the Tigers’ top runner, Keegan Smalley, not at his best. Smalley has been battling a slight knee injury and finished 21st.
“I feel bad for him, he’s such a great kid and does everything the right way,” Eschman said. “But his teammates were there for him (to get to state).”
Gale, who was 10th in Class 2A state last year, looked strong in third place. She has been slowed by a hip injury, but is ready for a return to Peoria, this time with her teammates.
“That’s been the goal all season,” Gale said. “I didn’t know at the beginning of the season that we’d be able to do that. We all got stronger and became a stronger team.”
Michaela Pieroni (12th), Carsen Forte (15th), Delaney Minutillo (49th) and Allie Klauser (51st) finished the scoring for the Wolves, who will make their third trip to state.
Prairie Ridge ran without its usual No. 4 runner, Chloe Gale, whose left foot was in a stability boot. She plans on running at state.
“That (second) group didn’t have Chloe to key off of,” Wolves coach Kelly MacDonald said. “She’s always the kid who keeps the back in touch with the front. We didn’t run as well as we could in the middle, but that might be a result of not having Chloe.”
South’s Mackenzie Aldridge (seventh), Chelsea Greene (19th), Emma Murphy (36th), Addie Frisch (44th) and Elise Gorman (66th) finished with 172 points to take fifth place. It will be the Gators' first trip to state as a team.
Hagmann will be trying to shooting for a third consecutive All-State appearance (top-25 finish).
“I’m really excited to get to go back and I’m happy to get to compete there again,” Hagmann said. “I’m really happy with my race today. It’s a different course than we usually run at Emricson. I got to get used to it last week at regional and this week I’m proud of what I did.”
Class 3A Waubonsie Valley Sectional
Huntley's boys team took the fifth and final state-qualifying spot with Ian Geiser's second-place finish topping the Red Raiders.
Jadon Conroy came in 13th, Chris Simek was 25th, Jeremy Roe was 33rd, and Jimmy Ozzauto finished 56th.
In the girls race, Huntley placed 12th overall and was unable to advance any individuals.
Class 3A Hoffman Estates Sectional
Cary-Grove's girls team took third place to advance to next weekend's state meet as a team.
Maggie Mason took seventh and was followed by teammates Morgan Dieschbourg (13th), Allison Drage (19th), Delaney Blohm (31st) and Ellie Miller (65th).
Jacobs finished 12th and was unable to advance any individuals.
In the boys race, Jacobs missed qualifying for state by one spot and finished six, but the Golden Eagles did advance to runners individually.
Zachary Albrecht finished 13th overall, and teammate Mark Lemke took the seventh and final individual state-qualifying spot with his 17th-place effort.
Cary-Grove placed 12th as a team, but Maxum Caesar advanced to state with a 16th-place finish.