Naperville North girls, WW South boys win convincingly

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Maria McDaniel was the lone senior in the Naperville North girls lineup Saturday morning at the Class 3A West Chicago Regional at Kress Creek Farms.

“She ran her best race of the year,” Naperville North coach Dan Iverson said after McDaniel was two seconds behind teammate Elly DeTurris’ championship pace in West Chicago.

The Huskies, defending state champions, cruised to their third consecutive regional championship.

Claire Hamilton, Emory Griffin and Judy Pendergast all finished in the top 10 as well for Naperville North, which eased past Naperville Central, 28-61, for the title.

WW South, Benet, Batavia and Metea Valley also advanced to the Waubonsie Valley sectional.

“I wanted to race like this,” said McDaniel, who was timed on the 3.11-mile layout in 17 minutes, 56 seconds. “We were missing one of our better runners, Kate Shannon. She will be back for the sectional.”

As the elder statesman of the squad, McDaniel has cherished her leadership position.

“I definitely want to lead them,” McDaniel said. “[The younger girls] do ask me their questions. It’s been great to lead them. It’s been really special for me.”

The Huskies’ quest to defend their championship left their coach ecstatic.

“Obviously advancing [as a team] is important, but I think it’s also really important to run well,” Iverson said. “I really felt the girls ran aggressive, smart races. There were some really good things happening today. We have a really well-balanced team [in terms of year in school].”

Katie Hoffman and Maggie McClowry led Naperville Central with top-eight finishes.

Freshmen Sara Atkins and Allison McGrath did likewise for WW South.

Clare McCabe and Elli Chalkey have been the leaders all season for Benet.

Dakota Roman was the front-runner for Batavia, and Kendall Cast has her eyes on Peoria; the Metea Valley senior was third overall.

The WW South boys were not about to be denied.

“We definitely wanted to win these top places,” WW South senior Luke Schroer said after being sandwiched between Nolan McKenna and Kyle Cepeda.

The Tigers’ triumvirate swept the top-three places to earn a 30-50 triumph over conference rival Naperville North.

Naperville Central, Marmion, Batavia and the sectional host, Waubonsie Valley, also advanced to the Warriors’ campus course next Saturday.

McKenna defended his regional championship as the Iowa State-bound senior was 16 seconds faster than Schroer in 15:17.

“We’re getting better every week,” McKenna said. “I definitely felt we could go 1-2-3. My time didn’t matter that much. It’s all about place this time of the year.”

David Dillon was sixth for the Tigers.

Jon Klaiber and Jake Pecorin led Naperville North.

Scott Hicks, John Graft, Ryan Wieties and Jon Vollrath were the respective pace-setters for Naperville Central, Marmion, Batavia and Waubonsie Valley.

West Aurora sophomore Connor McCue was the top at-large qualifier with his 10th-place result.

“It’s pretty disappointing not qualifying as a team,” McCue said. “The time didn’t show it, but I was very happy with the place.”

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