Hoffert twins key Yorkville repeat of boys cross country title

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PEORIA — The Hofferts made their move like clockwork in the final cross country races of their celebrated Yorkville careers.

As a result, the Foxes had few issues in defending their boys Class 2A state championship Saturday morning at Detweiller Park.

Collectively sensing Mahomet-Seymour junior Alex Keeble could not maintain his blistering pace, Jake and Luke Hoffert seized command of the race over the last half-mile.

Jake Hoffert defeated his twin brother Luke by a second-plus as the brothers’ 1-2 sweep is believed to be a first in state history by the same team.

The brothers’ performance was unquestionably unprecedented by siblings in state lore.

Trevor Wills, Zack Price and Alexx Nauman were between 19th and 45th among team competitors as the Foxes duplicated their twin achievements from last fall: following the girls’ state title with one of their own.

Never before in state cross country history had both programs defended team titles until the Foxes’ encore.

Yorkville earned a 105-134 triumph over Mahoment-Seymour; Illiana Christian (172) was a distant third.

“It’s a great (personal) accomplishment for me,” said Jake Hoffert, the first individual state champion in school history by either gender. “It’s nice to have a chance to finally get first. I knew it was going to be quite challenging.”

“We usually make our move in the second mile,” said Luke Hoffert. “We noticed in the last 800 (meters) Keeble was struggling. We used our kicks to catch him.”

The brothers’ times of 14 minutes, 30 seconds and 14:31 denied both Vernon Hills’ Shane Williamson (14:37) and Keeble (14:49).

The Hofferts also finished in consecutive places (third and fourth) last year.

“They have run extremely well all season together,” Yorkville coach Chris Muth said. “They are competitors. They stuck to the plan in place. That’s why they won. They didn’t panic.”

It was an entirely different feeling for the Foxes’ squad this year.

“We told our team to treat (state) as any other meet,” Luke Hoffert said.

“It’s hard going from the hunter to the hunted,” Jake Hoffert said.

Tanner Chada also made a significant challenge for an individual state championship.

The Aurora Christian sophomore was among the lead pack for the entirety of the Class 1A race before settling for third place overall.

Jon Davis’ speed-separating time of 14:19.23 was too much for Chada to overcome.

The Eagles’ lone qualifier finished in 15:01.92.

“It was a little bit of a slower race than I wanted,” Chada said.

“I wanted to run 14:30s, 14:40s. I am happy with third. I have been having (physical) issues. I was in the hospital earlier this week.”

Hinsdale Central followed the Foxes’ example by defending its Class 3A state title.

Batavia was in the bottom half of the team field.

But Oswego senior Peter Johnsrud and Marmion senior Brady Bobbitt were individual All-Staters.

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