State’s top two teams challenge for conference championship

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With a healthy Billy Magnesen, Hinsdale Central hopes to close the gap with defending state champion York at Saturday’s West Suburban Silver meet.

The top two teams in the state collide for the conference championship with No. 1 York and No. 2 Hinsdale Central heading the competition at 1 p.m. at Proviso West in Hillisde.

Magnesen has recovered from an injury to his left knee and expects to race in the warmup to the Class 3A regional a week later. Magnesen missed Hinsdale Central’s loss at York in a dual meet Oct. 3. Kevin Huang (third) and T.J. Caveney (15th) were the Devils’ top finishers at the Lockport Invitational Oct. 5 without Magnesen.

“We definitely think York is beatable,” said Magnesen, a senior from Hinsdale. “All season we think it will come down to the conference meet and then state. It will be us against York.”

Another factor will be Lyons, which is ranked No. 7 in the state by Dyestatil.com. Lyons’ home course at South campus in Western Springs is similar to Proviso West, another on-campus circuit.

Lyons placed third at last year’s state meet and returned top runner James Ryan, a senior from Western Springs. Ryan’s best finish this season was 13th at the First to the Finish Invitational Sept. 14 at Peoria’s Detweiller Park, the site of the state meet Nov. 9.

“With our conference, it’s really really good as it goes,” Ryan said. “It’s definitely a good (way to prepare) for state.”

In the Gold Division, sophomores Mati Szelazek and Alan Prado have been the top two runners for Leyden. At the Elmwood Park Invitational, Szelazek placed third and Prado was fifth.

“We have a very talented conference,” Leyden coach Kip Pygman said. “Our runners look forward to positioning themselves in the mix and embracing this competition with strong and strategic races. Our main goal is to have each runner perform a personal best at conference.”

For Hinsdale South, the top three spots have been interchangeable among sophomore Roman Drabchuck, senior Vicente Perez and junior Joey Eilbert.

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