The hard part is over for St. Ignatius’ Daniel Santino and Lane’s Maggie Scholle.
Or, looking at it another way, it’s just about to start.
Santino and Scholle won individual Class 3A St. Ignatius Regional titles Saturday afternoon at Washington Park, but both are looking forward to bigger prizes.
“Coach [Ed Ernst] told us this would be the week to push the workouts,” Santino said. “If we run bad and don’t win the regional, that’s not a big deal. Running well at sectional and state was what our whole season’s focus was.”
Ditto for Scholle and Lane.
“We had some of our last harder workouts,” Scholle said. “Next week is just going to be easy to prepare for sectionals.”
St. Ignatius, ranked No. 7 among Class 3A boys teams by DyeStatIl.com, beat Young 39-75 for its first regional title since 2010. Class 3A No. 13 Jones, not running its usual top seven, was third with 83 and also advanced to next weekend’s Niles West Sectional along with Lane (90) and Northside (121).
No. 24 St. Ignatius won the girls title, 56-74 over Northside. Young (81), Lane (85) and Jones (92) also qualified for the sectional.
Santino led a 1-3-4 finish for St. Ignatius’ boys, covering the 3.0-mile course in 15:22.17. Young’s Clayton Mendez (15:24.01) was second, followed by Ignatius’ Andy Weber (15:32.31) and John Lennon (15:33.17).
“We went out pretty fast for the first mile,” Santino said. “The middle part of the race was pretty hard. We didn’t really feel our best. A lot of us were feeling a little sluggish because of the hard workouts this week.”
Better now that later, though, was the Wolfpack’s attitude.
“We wanted to experiment with controlling a big race and we thought we did that,” Ernst said. “Our guys held their spots in the front. …
“We did not hold back this week. But we’re kind of done now [with demanding workouts]. So we’ll see how everybody does from here on out.”
The goal for St. Ignatius, along with a few other teams, is to grab one of the five qualifying spots at Niles West for the 3A state meet on Nov. 8 at Detweiller Park in Peoria.
“It’s going to be very close because there are seven or eight teams competing for five spots,” Ernst said. “We’re used to being the No 5 team fighting to hold on. We’re happy to maybe be [among] the 1-2-3 teams. We just have to worry about holding off the other guys.”
Scholle, who won the Public League title on the same course a week earlier in a close finish, had an easier time on Saturday. She ran 18:19.37 to win by more than 36 seconds over runner-up Jill Porretta (18:56.05) of St.
Ignatius. Young’s Jada Palmer (18:58.58), Jones’ Daisy Mora (18:59.45) and Northside’s Madison Weatherly (19:02.59) rounded out the top five.
“My time wasn’t really what I wanted it to be,” Scholle said. “I don’t think I ran as consistently as I should have.”
But this wasn’t the time to worry about that.
“This race does matter,” Scholle said. “But sectional is definitely what we’re trying to peak for.”