The electronic scoring system at a cross country meet has something in common with the electronics used for the challenge system in the sport of tennis: It’s never wrong.
It’s also really good to have, as it was nearly impossible to separate Vivian Overbeck and Kortney Schardt at the end of their 3.1-mile run that was the Lake County Invitational cross country meet held on Tuesday at the SportsPark in Waukegan.
Half the park is now a softball/soccer complex and the other half is yet to be developed. All of it used to be a golf course, and it made for a sprawling 5K cross country layout with no duplicate loops.
In the end, Vernon Hills’ Overbeck edged Lakes’ Schardt by one-tenth of one second to win the individual title. Libertyville had five finishers in the top 18 to win the team title.
In the boys race, Barrington had five runners in the top 18 and easily won the team title, 49-86, over second-place Highland Park.
Angel Estrada of Highland Park dominated the boys race, winning by a dozen seconds.
Both Overbeck and Schardt are sophomores, so they’ve already been running against each other in age-group competition for a long time.
“I ran against her in track last spring. She’s a very talented runner,” said Overbeck. “I think the competition will be good for both of us. The next three years we should have some good races.”
Schardt ran the second leg of Lakes’ Class 2A state champion 3,200-meter relay in the spring.
“Coming down to the end of the race, the Vernon Hills girl was right on my tail, and then she passed me. I sprinted and gave it all I had in that last 100 [meters],” Schardt said.
“I’m happy because it was my first varsity race this year. I didn’t run our last meet because I didn’t run my mileage for the week. I was really nervous coming in, but I gave it my all, so I’m still happy.”
Also happy was Libertyville girls coach Bill Etnyre, whose team took home the championship plaque.
“We had a lot better team race than we had last year at this meet,” he said. “Last year, we had two girls in the top 15, but then no girls until the 30s and 40s. Today, we had our top five all in the top 20.
“So we’re happy with the split we’re running right now, and that we have more runners closer to Kristi [Del Prato] up front. She had a bit of a rough day today [ninth place], but she’ll bounce back. We’re not too worried about that.”
Also happy was Barrington boys coach Ty, who had the championship plaque in his possession.
“I like the way we’re built. We’re built around the pack. We don’t have any one individual standout. We have a solid pack of six or seven guys who should be pretty close together all year, and we’ll rely on that heavily,” said Gorman.
“This is always a first good gauge. Lake County has been up in recent years. When we first started coming to this meet, Stevenson, Lake Forest and some other teams really handed it to us those first couple of years. It’s always nice to come here and do well.”
Highland Park’s Estrada said this was his first varsity win.
“It’s pretty cool. It’s exciting to beat all these other guys out,” he said. He also talked about the new course in Waukegan.
“I prefer racing on a faster course, but I think the layout was pretty cool,” he said. “It’s closer to the roots of cross country with a sort of all-terrain thing going on.”