Lockport runs away with sectional title

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Lockport practiced last week on the cross country course at Katherine Legge Park to get ready for the Class 3A Hinsdale Central Sectional.

“Jumping creeks and falling in mud pits,” Emmie Hahn said. “I think it’s a true cross country course, all guts.”

Lockport had that Saturday.

The Porters placed their first five runners among the top 25 and won the team championship of the strong 18-team meet that advanced the top five schools to the state final next Saturday in Peoria.

Led by a second-place finish from freshman Morgan Bollinger, Lockport scored 62 points to 95 for runner-up Downers South. Hinsdale Central (103), Neuqua Valley (121) and Downers North (129) also advanced.

“I thought they did awesome,” Lockport coach Evon Schlotter said. “Every week when you advance, your team tends to get a little more spread out. These girls did not do that very much. They didn’t let a ton of people between them.”

Lockport’s top five were Bollinger (17 minutes, 28.07 seconds), Hahn (10th, 17:55.56), Karlee Stortz (12th, 18:02.86), Taylor Latta (16th, 18:09.71) and Haley Beaumont (18:28.57).

“I’m really happy with it. My goal was top five,’’ Bollinger said. “I beat my PR by about 30 seconds. For the past few weeks I’ve been really trying hard to beat 18 minutes, but this is the first time I’ve been able to do it.”

“She ran amazing, she really did,” Schlotter said. “She’s just a pure runner. We talk about where she should be and she basically looks you in the eye and says ‘OK.’ ”

Schlotter said Hahn ran “really, really tough — tough as nails,” which also would describe Stortz, who finished the race despite an ankle injury.

“She didn’t feel the pain until after the race. That’s a competitor,” Schlotter said.

Latta and Aubrey Elwood (28th) were the only seniors among Lockport’s seven runners.

“I think a lot of people underestimated us this year,” Latta said. “It means a lot to us that we were able to push through.”

Area runners who advanced as individuals were Plainfield North’s Rachael Lau (4th, 17:41.26), Marist’s Maryclare Leonard (5th, 17:44.96), Sandburg’s Grace Foley (13th, 18:06.10) and Plainfield South’s Alexis Grigg (17th, 18:13.35).

No one could catch Alexa Haff, the Hinsdale Central freshman who breezed to first place in 16:50.78.

Lockport won’t celebrate its team championship too long.

“You don’t learn anything from winning,” Schlotter said. “You learn ‘Oh, we’re pretty good,’ which is a false sense of security. So let them enjoy it a little bit. Knock them back down to reality next week.”

“I think we’re all going to take the weekend to relax, recuperate,” Latta said. “Schlotter’s already told us, Monday get our running shoes on and get ready to work hard.”

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