The Yorkville boys cross country team wants some of the glory its female counterparts have enjoyed the last four years.
The Foxes are the two-time reigning girls state champions in Class 2A, but the Yorkville boys made a major statement last week at the Wheaton Academy Sectional.
“The sectional was a bloodbath,” Aurora Central Catholic coach Troy Kerber confirmed.
Illiana Christian has been the consensus top-ranked team the entire season, but the Foxes, behind junior twins Jake and Luke Hoffert, tied the Vikings for the team championship at Kress Creek Farms.
Illiana eventually won on the tiebreaker, but the Foxes — with Nolan Tweedy, Richard Skogsberg and Trevor Wills augmenting the twins’ second- and third-place finishes — are primed for another shot this weekend at the state finals at Detweiller Park in Peoria.
“2A is pretty tough on the boys side,” Kerber said. “I think it is going to be a classic dogfight between (Yorkville and Illiana). If I were to go to Vegas, I don’t know who I would pick.”
Yorkville coach Chris Muth was encouraged by more than one element of the Foxes’ collective performance last Saturday in West Chicago.
“It proved to my guys that they are in the conversation for being a top-five team,” Muth said. “The last few weeks, we have had the momentum in the right direction. The critical piece to our team (at state) will be where our Nos. 4 and 5 runners finish. They have been improving in recent weeks, and that’s what makes it exciting.”
Fellow Northern Illinois Big XII Conference member Kaneland is also in the mix in the middle-tier division. The Knights were fourth at the Belvidere Sectional last week.
“This is our third consecutive year going downstate and the fifth in the last six years,” Kaneland coach Chad Clarey said. “We have to run our own race. Unlike a football team, we cannot stop another team with defense. We would like to have our team time faster than last year’s team.”
Batavia also made history by becoming the first team to qualify in history. The Bulldogs were fifth at the Waubonsie Valley Sectional.
“It was a very exciting moment, not only for me but also for the kids and the Batavia running community,” Batavia coach Mike DiDomenico. “It was one of the greatest thrills of my (34-year) coaching career.”
DiDomenico will guide Batavia for the final time this weekend.
Mooseheart junior Wal Khat captured the Class 1A Lisle sectional last week and headlines the area at-large competitors this weekend.
Felipe Nino will be the first East Aurora athlete to compete in the state meet in almost a quarter-century.
“Felipe is busting quite a drought for us,” East Aurora coach Shane Gillespie said of the Tomcats’ first state qualifier since 1990. “Every time he has a had a down race, he has bounced back tremendously.”