Niles West Girls Sectional: Perez leads Glenbard West to team title in high powered sectional

Madeline Perez of Glenbard West enroute to the sectional title at Niles West. Photo by Steven Koch.

Skokie, Ill — Madeline Perez of Glenbard West last week called it a “mini-state meet”. She was right. Three of the top 4 teams in the state went to the line at the Niles West Sectional in what it seemed to be a check up a week before the state meet.

It was a chance to see where teams matched up against each other. It was a chance for the individual runners to test themselves one last time.Perez has come on strong the last couple of weeks just being edged out two weeks ago by Emma Fisher at the West Suburban Silver Meet and last week with a convincing win over Fisher and Lake Park’s Kaylee Flanagan. Throw in to this field New Trier’s trio of Courtney Ackerman, Mimi Smith, and Jessica Ackerman, Olivia Ryan of Fenwick, and Maine South’s Emily Leonard you find a pretty tough field.

The first mile started unexpectingly slow. Kaylee Flanagan all year has pushed the pace early daring runners to stay with her. It backfired last week when Perez zoomed by her at the 1 ½ mile point. The pace was 5:25-5:30 and all the runners that expected to be there was there.

As soon as the pack passed the mile mark, the course turned right and Courtney Ackerman took off wanting to steal the race at that point. The trio of Fisher, Perez, and Flanagan were 10 meters back. Then a pack led by Lisa Luczak of Glenbard Westwas another 5 meters behind the trio.

Perez made her move on Ackerman after the 1 ½ point and she did not look back. The rest of the race for Perez was a race against the clock and a race against herself. The gap continued to grow for the Glenbard West junior. Fisher and Luczak moved past a fading Ackerman but they ran out of time. Perez’s margin of victory was an amazing 24 seconds over Fisher. Luczak and Courtney Ackerman finished within two seconds of each other and 10 seconds behind Fisher.

If anything could be told from this race is that Perez will enter the state meet at Detweiller Park as the favorite in the 3A race.

“The pace went out comfortably compared to what it has been the last couple of weeks. I was really happy how it went out,” a happy Perez said after her race. “The minute she (Courtney Ackerman) took off, I knew I just had to stay in contact with her. I felt comfortable in the last mile. I told myself it was one last mile and push the pace and to see how hard I could go.”

The team race was fantastic and it is interesting to look at the dynamics of it. 15 points separated the first three teams. #2 Glenbard West took the team title with 60 points. #4 New Trier was second with 68. Lake Park was third with 75. York and Maine South claimed the other two qualifying spots. When it comes to the state meet next week, it could be closer between these three teams. Glenbard West has their front two in Perez and Luczak who were in the top 3. New Trier’s first three finished 4-6-9. Flanagan was the only Lake Park finisher in top 10, but the Lancers had solid 40 second split between 2 and 5.

“Our plan was to run our race, but we knew we had to go out faster,” said Glenbard West Coach Paul Haas referring to his 3-7 runners slow start last week at regionals. “Sectional is going to go out fast and state is going to go out faster. This is what we train for.  Our 4-5, two freshman, kept moving and moving and that was the difference with us.”

Glenbard West’s fourth and fifth runners (Grace Rogers and Christina Sedall) finished 20th and 21st; New Trier’s four-five of Kathleen Keene and Ooma-Jung Beeman finished 23rd and 24th. Lake Park’s four-five of Brianne Murphy and Nicole Alfano finished 19th and 23rd.

If that order changes then we would’ve had a different outcome. It will be an interesting meet at Detweiller on Saturday to say the least.

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Posted on October 28, 2012, in Meet Recaps, Saturday Updates and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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