Geoffrey McCullough employed a different strategy Saturday morning at Cress Creek Farms in West Chicago.
“Last week (at the DuPage Valley Conference meet) I went out kind of hard and paid for it at the end,” the Naperville Central junior said. “I conserved a lot more and had a stronger finish.”
The Redhawks’ boys cross country reversed the team results of the DVC championship with a thrilling 46-48 victory over Naperville North to capture the Class 3A West Chicago regional.
“We hadn’t beaten them (in conference or the postseason) since, like, 2003,” said McCullough, who was runner-up to Marmion senior Brady Bobbitt in 15 minutes and 31. 5 seconds.
The Redhawks overcame four Naperville North runners in the top seven behind Scott Hicks’ fifth-place finish and John Manos’ eighth.
Naperville North was led by the consecutive finishes by Jon Klaiber (third) and Andrew Ladeur (fourth).
Marmion (95th) was a distant third behind the championship effort of Bobbitt, who toured the three-mile layout in 15:25.3.
“I wanted to go out a little conservative the first mile and a half,” Bobbitt said. “I wanted to stay in front so I would be tougher to pass.”
Ryan Wieties’ ninth-place finish powered Batavia (103) in finishing fourth, and Benet (131) was fifth with Jack Tuttle leading the way.
David Galvan and returning state qualifier Felipe Nino enabled East Aurora (133) to not only ease past city and conference rival Waubonsie Valley. The Tomcats earned their first sectional team berth since 1991 with their 22-point edging of the Warriors.
“Next week (at the St. Charles East sectional) is the week to see if we can do something else,” East Aurora coach Shane Gillespie said.
West Aurora junior Connor McCue was the low competitor among the five at-large qualifiers with his time of 15:56.4.
In the girls’ race, Naperville North made a definitive statement in its quest for a 24th straight team state berth.
With five runners in the top nine, the defending state runners-up dominated the field with a 24-48 triumph over Naperville Central.
“We were looking to run our best and run together as a pack,” said Naperville North sophomore Claire Hamilton, who was second to Batavia freshman Emma Stephens in 18.10.1. “I wanted to stay with (senior leader) Elly (DeTurris) for two miles and see where I could from there.”
Sarah Schmitt (third), Emily Hamilton (fourth), Judy Pendergast (sixth) and DeTurris (ninth) were the Huskies’ other counting runners.
Maggie McClowrey was fifth to pace Naperville Central.
“I wanted to stick with my teammates,” the Redhawks’ junior said.
Batavia (66) eased past Benet (111), Waubonsie Valley (154) and Metea Valley (160) behind its freshman champion.
“I definitely didn’t think it would be like this when I got into high school,” said Stephens, who won by four-plus seconds. “I used the last mile to make my move.”