Maryclare Leonard, Marist dominate at Tinley Park Invitational

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Unlike many high school cross country runners who finish first in a meet, Maryclare Leonard wasn’t huffing and puffing, bent over off to the side.

After she won the big school Championship Division race Saturday at the Tinley Park Invitational, Marist’s sophomore All-Stater greeted her teammates at the end of the chute as they finished the course at Midlothian Meadows.

“I like seeing everybody from Marist come through,’’ Leonard said. “The team’s even closer now. We were always close, but now we’re all about the same age. I like seeing everybody finish because they work so hard.’’

Leonard won the individual title by an impressive 41 seconds, topping the field of 90 runners in 18 minutes, 34 seconds. Andrew’s Sara Kubas was second (19:15) and Lincoln-Way East’s Kristy Dertz took third (19:22).

“I went out the first mile and a half with the front pack and sort of pull my teammates with me,’’ Leonard said. “At the mile and a half, I just wanted to see how fast I could run to the end. It was a fun race.’’

Marist won the team title of the big school girls race with 28 points. Lincoln-Way East was second (59) and Providence took third (106).

The top five for the RedHawks were Leonard, Bridget McDermott (6th, 19:49), Catherine Viz (7th, 19:50), Grace Oswald (8th, 19:51) and Carlin McNulty (10th, 20:10).

In the small school girls race, junior Gabby Voltarel broke 19 minutes to win the individual title (18:59) and lead Lemont to the team championship with 19 points.

“I really like the course,’’ Voltarel said. “There were a lot of nice straightaways and turns.’’

Lemont’s first six individuals finished among the top eight in the field of 80 runners. After Voltarel, it was Bridget Kunkel (2nd, 19:00), Beata Drozda (3rd, 19:05), Celine Ratulowski (6th, 19:19), Jorie Dybcio (7th, 19:23) and Taylor Campos (8th, 19:43).

Runner-up Lincoln-Way North (53) was led by Carly Marchal (4th, 19:08) and Karen Perez (5th, 19:16).

In the boys events, Evergreen Park senior Matt Przeslicke won the small school individual title in 15:49, his first personal-best since he was a sophomore.

“I started out with what I thought was a little slow, but it turned out to be the right pace,’’ Przeslicke said. “I stuck with the guys, realized I was with the pack. I saw my chance and went for it.’’

Bremen won the small school team title with 55 points ahead of runner-up Lincoln-Way North (71) and Tinley Park (86).

Bremen’s top five finishers were Erick Meza (2d, 16:04), Craiger Krygowski (8th, 16:45), Scottie Shelts (9th, 16:46), Eddie Gross (17th, 17:11) and Jacob Flores-Arias (26th, 17:42).

Oak Lawn was second to Joliet Central in the 16-team big school race. Finishing in the top 10 for Oak Lawn were Diego Arana (5th, 15:49) and Luis Garcia (7th, 15:53).

Shepard sophomore Caleb Washington was runner-up (15:31) to Joliet Central’s Raul Rosendo (15:18) in the field of 108 runners.

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