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Illinois News and Notes: Cross Country Advisory Committee Meeting and Post Season Meets

Advisory Meeting: Regional meets reconfigured once again

It has been an ongoing complaint of the qualifying system for the IHSA state meet that the regional qualifying meet has become no more than a training run in some cases to some fans and coaches.  The IHSA Cross Country Advisory committee met on November 29 to discuss the possible reconfiguration of this meet.

There were a couple of options that were on the table. There was one proposal that in each sectional complex, the regional qualifying meets would be cut down to two with ten team qualifying out of each regional.

That proposal was dismissed.

The other proposal that made a little more sense was cutting the qualifying teams in the regional meet from seven teams to five.

The advisory committee recommended that in the 2A & 3A regional meets that the number of qualifying teams would decrease from seven to six with the individual qualifiers staying at five out of this meet.

The advisory committee also recommended that there should be no changes in Class 1A.

The vote for this was 4-3 with one member not attending.

See the IHSA Meeting notes HERE

From sources that wished to remain anonymous, this proposal has a Chicago area feel to it. Most of the problems that we have seen in the regional qualifying meet have come from those located in the Chicago area. More so, the problem has come from schools that are within the Chicago Public League.

There has not been the problem in Class 1A. Some of that has to with the fact that 40% of the cross country participating schools are there. In that, most of the schools that register for the state series actually participate.

That Is the problem with some of the Chicago area regional meets have teams that sign up for the state series that actually do not participate.

All the advisory committee has done is a put a band-aid on the problem and not fixed it. I am certain we will have the same problems again in 2013 with regional meet that will have less than 6 teams in 2A & 3A qualifying. It has also meant that some teams in Central and Southern Illinois will not get the chance to run in a sectional meet next year.

I do not know what the solution is to this. It could be that there needs to be more accountability within the Chicago Public League or maybe with the IHSA. I know there have been occasions that the state assignments have been delayed because the Chicago Public League has been late with their entries.

Maybe the regional /sectional assignments need to be reshuffled in both 2A & 3A so that there will be less of a problem. I have seen the IHSA Video on how sectional assignments are done. I think it could be possible. View the Video HERE.

I am sure I will be writing about this issue again next December.

NXN Nationals

Illinois runners navigated the mud and the water of the Portland Meadows course to some good finishes last weekend at the Nike National Meet.

York’s boys team capped off a great season by finishing 6th in the team competition.  Scott Milling led the York team finishing in 27th. Other York finishers included Kyle Mattes (42nd), Chris May (87th), Alex Bashqawi (101st), Jack Libert (117th), Alex Mimlitz (130th), and Matt Plowman (179th).

Illinois had three individual runners in the boys race. Quentin Shaffer (Prospect HS, Mt. Prospect IL) placed 12th and earned All-American honors. 3A state champ Jack Keelan (St. Ignatius HS, Chicago IL) finished just ahead of Milling in 26th. Alex Riba (O’Fallon HS, O’Fallon IL) completed a great XC season in finishing in 75th.

In the girls race, 2 Illinois teams ran some great races in horrible conditions. New Trier possibly ran bet race of the year finishing 11th. Courtney Ackerman ran an aggressive race where she finished 6th. Other New Trier runners included Mimi Smith (23rd), Jessica Ackerman (62nd), Kaitlin Frei (163rd), Kathleen Keene (163rd), Ooma Jung-Beeman (166th), and Kelli Schmidt (181st).

Naperville North concluded their championship season by finishing 15th. Elly DeTurris led her team by finishing 53rd. Other Naperville North runners included Maria McDaniel (101st), Kate Shannon (112th),  Jenny Smith (127th), Kimber Meyer (155th), Judy Pendergast (168th), and Grace Carballo (173rd).

3A state champ Madeline Perez (Glenbard West, Glen Ellyn IL) took the lead in the race jut after the mile mark. Individual race champ Sarah Baxter (Simi Valley CA) took command of the race and won in 19:17. Perez finished strong in 16th.

Congratulations to all runners who competed in Portland last weekend!

View the FULL MEET RESULTS

Coming up:

Foot Locker Nationals Recap

Illinois Prep Harrier Cross Country End of Season Awards

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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.