SKOKIE — New Trier boys cross country coach Dave Wisner wanted his team to understand that the Class 3A Loyola Regional at Harms Woods was only the first step of the state series.
“We didn’t want them to go crazy,” Wisner said. “The sectional is always tough, so we want them to be rested.”
Senior Josh Rosenkranz admitted it was difficult to not go all out in such a big race Saturday.
“I wanted to try as hard as I could, but I did take it easier in the first two miles,” he said.
Rosenkranz, the Central Suburban South champion, ended up second to Maine South senior Henry Mierzwa. Rosenkranz finished with a time of 15 minutes, 22.24 seconds, while Mierzwa crossed the line in 15:15.81. But the Trevians beat out the Hawks in the team standings with 32 points. Maine South totaled 67.
New Trier’s five scoring runners all placed in the top 10. Senior Austin Santacruz (fourth, 15:24.49), senior Luke Duros (seventh, 15:39.45), junior Jack Litowitz (ninth, 15:42.35) and senior Om Kanwar (10th, 15:50.40) helped the Trevians to the regional title.
New Trier will run Saturday at the Niles West Sectional. The top six teams at Harms Woods advanced to the sectional.
Maine South senior Henry Mierzwa had a sound plan at the Class 3A Loyola Regional on Saturday, and it resulted in a first-place finish. He crossed the finish line in 15 minutes, 15.81 seconds.
“My strategy going in was stay with the guys on the first mile, surge throughout the second and see what I have left with 1,200 to go. It kind of worked out for me,” Mierzwa said. “It’s great, I got a lot of confidence going into sectionals now.”
Overall, the Hawks placed second behind only New Trier. Maine South coach Greg Nordahl said he couldn’t be more pleased with how his team performed despite being without its third and fifth runners.
“We’re exactly where we want to be,” Nordahl said. “We know we’ll have everyone back in time for sectionals, we’ll get a full week of training in and we’ll be able to go into that sectional race ready to compete.”
Paul D’Ambrosio, a senior, finished third overall with a time of 15:23.07 and junior Ralph Patejunas placed eighth with a time of 15:40.19 for the Hawks.
Ramblers coach Dan Seeberg said each team treats the regional differently, and he said he evaluates his strategy every year.
This season he sat out his best runner, senior Jack Carroll, the Catholic League champion.
“He’s in great shape, and he’s been dominate lately,” Seeberg said. “We wanted to use the regional as a time trial for some of our other runners.”
Seeberg said it’s not unusual for top teams to rest their star runners in an effort to get ready for the sectional.
“We pay attention to our own guys, and what is best for us,” Seeberg said. “It’s been a tough four weeks for us, and we think we can be a player at the state meet, if we can get there. We just wanted to use the regional as a modified workout, try to keep everybody together.”
The Ramblers’ first five runners finished in a row and were separated by 11 seconds, leading Loyola to third place with 90 points.
Sophomore Matthew Kadus set the pace by placing 16th in 16 minutes, 12.73 seconds. He was followed by senior Todd Swenson (17th, 16:17.30), junior Patrick Reilly-Hayward (18th, 16:17.56), sophomore Paolo Tiongson (19th, 16:17.81) and senior Michael Banks (20th, 16:23.73).
Dhruvil Patel placed fifth overall with a time of 15 minutes, 28.86 seconds and the senior led the Vikings to a fourth-place finish.
“We continued running a smart race plan, and what’s great is that our guys in our fourth, fifth and sixth level are really stepping up well,” Niles North coach Dave Shafron said. “They’ve been getting stronger and stronger each week. This is the fun time of year.”
Junior Martin Barr was the Vikings’ second-best finisher, coming in 11th with a time of 15:51.26. Tommy Montgomery, a sophomore, crossed the finish line in 16:30.28 for 24th place.
“We feel like we’re on the upswing,” Shafron said. “We’re feeling lighter, we’re feeling smoother, we’re not doing quite as much mileage. I think overall, things are just starting to come together.”
Senior Theo Beck came in 13th with a time of 16 minutes, 5.98 seconds and the Wolves placed fifth to advance to the sectional meet as a team. Junior Eric Scott came in next for the Wolves with a time of 16:48.24 (33rd). He was followed by junior Atul Krishna (36th, 16:52.91), sophomore Marco Alanis (37th, 16:53.31) and senior Adrian Vargas (39th, 16:56.60).
The Spartans snagged the regional’s last berth in the sectional meet with a sixth-place finish on Saturday.
Nate Whitfield, a Glenbrook North junior, placed sixth with a time of 15 minutes, 38.36 seconds and junior Jason Golden finished 23rd with a time of 16:29.45. Senior Jay Silver was the team’s next finisher, posting a time of 16:52.51 and placing 35th.
Seniors Carl Klamm (15th, 16 minutes, 11.70 seconds) and Estaban Escobar (29th, 16:40.06) earned at-large berths to the sectional meet at Niles West on Saturday. The five top finishers not on qualifying teams moved on.
The Wildkits finished seventh with 171 points.
Senior Henry Dickson (25th, 16 minutes, 30.90 seconds) and sophomore Jack Whetstone (31st, 16:43.71) both qualified to the sectional meet as individuals.
The Titans took eighth as a team with 179 points.
Matt Contreras was Notre Dame’s lone individual qualifier for the sectional meet after the Dons finished ninth. Contreras, a junior, placed 22nd with a time of 16 minutes, 24.64 seconds.
Led by junior James Liu (43rd, 17 minutes, 4.59 seconds), the Blue Demons placed 10th overall.