Cross country success for the girls program at Lemont includes a five-year stretch of qualifying for the Class 2A state meet from 2007 through ’11.
What longtime coach Tim Plotke has this year is a team capable of going beyond that record.
“I think this is the best group of girls I’ve ever had, in terms of their commitment, in terms of their wanting to improve,’’ Plotke said. “I was blessed when I started 22 years ago and had a great group of girls.
“These girls are reaping the benefits of all the girls who went before them, but I really believe this group is the best I’ve ever had.’’
Lemont showed some proof of that with a dominating win Saturday in the 15-team small school race at the Tinley Park Invitational.
The order of finish for the Indians was individual champ Gabby Voltarel (18:59), Bridget Kunkel (second), Beata Drozda (third), Celine Ratulowski (sixth), Jorie Dybcio (seventh), Taylor Campos (eighth) and Claire Gagen (20th).
“We’re kind of right where I want us to be. We have a great front six who are pretty close to one another,’’ Plotke said.
Voltarel, a junior, has considerably improved since clocking 22 and 23 minutes as a freshman.
“I started off kind of slow,’’ she said. “The team helps you out a lot. They’re very helpful and caring, really motivational.’’
Before Saturday, the split between the first and sixth individuals for Lemont had been anywhere from 16 to 35 seconds.
“That’s a good split for six runners, which will bode well for us in the coming weeks,’’ Plotke said.
The field Lemont will face Oct. 25 in the Rosary Regional includes three teams from the 2013 state final. Glenbard South is the defending 2A runner-up, Montini was 10th and Rosary 17th.
The first six regional teams will advance to the Wheaton Academy Sectional, where only the top five schools will move on to the state meet.
Mustang makes his mark
A two-time Class 2A state qualifier, Evergreen Park senior Matt Przeslicke wasn’t a runner when he started high school.
“Sophomore year was my first year running cross country,’’ he said. “I started out just under 17:00 that year, ended up getting it down to 16:03 at the state meet. Last year, stayed in the same range. This year I’m for hoping for 15:30 or better.’’
Richards’ Dan Krasich, a senior last season, and Przeslicke were the only two runners from the Southland who qualified as individuals in 2013 for the 2A meet.
Przeslicke ran a personal-best 15:49 to win the small school individual title Saturday at the Tinley Park Invitational.
Przeslicke will have to outrace two strong sophomores — Shepard’s Caleb Washington and Oak Lawn’s Diego Arana — to win at the Oct. 18 South Suburban Red meet.
Stagg reunites ’89 team
To mark the 25-year anniversary of the 1989 Stagg squad that finished second in the 2A state meet, the school will honor those individuals at halftime of Friday night’s homecoming football game.
Team members in ’89 were Jason Rush, Doug Nelson, Joe Simone, Chris Grant, Dave Eaton, Marty Bonick and Chris Vazzana.
The coach was Chris Stec, a 1980 Stagg graduate who has coached the past 24 years at Barrington.
Rush, the girls track coach at Vernon Hills, had the most individual success in cross country. He was fifth in the 1989 state meet in 14:45 and fourth in the 1990 state final in 14:41.
Nelson was sectional cross country champion in 1989 and state runner-up in the 3,200 meters that year.
On the calendar
Two Saturday meets include several top Southland girls teams. Lockport, Lincoln-Way Central, Lincoln-Way East and Sandburg race at the Wheaton North Flight Invitational while Tinley Park meet winner Marist is at the St. Charles North Invitational.
On the boys schedule, 3A contender Sandburg returns to Detweiller Park for the second time in three weeks for the Peoria Invitational while 2A standout Illiana Christian will race in the Wheaton Academy Invitational.