Hinsdale Central boys, Alexa Haff repeat at Red Devil-Hornet Invite

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HINSDALE — The goal for the Hinsdale Central boys cross country team is to be better than last year’s team.

That seems like it might be difficult, considering last year’s team won the 3A state championship, but the Red Devils did indeed look better at the Hornet-Red Devil Invitational on Saturday at Katherine Legge Park.

Hinsdale Central won the meet for the second straight year, scoring 39 points to easily best Neuqua Valley (54), Naperville Central (111) and 15 other teams. Last year, the Devils won the meet title with 59 points.

The Red Devils’ top finisher was Blake Evertsen (3rd, 15 minutes, 4.37 seconds), followed closely by Chris Brenk (4th, 15:07) and Matt McBrien (5th, 15:07.25).

“As a team, we were really focusing on executing and getting as many guys in the top 10 as we could,” said Evertsen, whose time was 50 seconds faster than last year. “Up front we focused on pack running. We wanted as small a split as possible for our top five.”

Hinsdale Central’s fourth and fifth runners weren’t too far back. Josh Feldman finished 12th (15:23.52) and Nathan Hill was 15th (15:28.32), creating an impressive 1-to-5 split of 14 seconds.

Hinsdale South took 11th place, led by Roman Drabchuk (30th, 15:48.48) and Charlie Nordus (31st, 15:49.09).

On the girls side, Red Devils’ sophomore Alexa Haff came out on top for the second straight year. She won with a time of 16:52.79 to finish ahead of Glenbard West’s Lindsay Graham (2nd, 17:03.48). Haff’s time was 37 seconds faster than last year.

“It’s the first race of the season and I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel,” Haff said. “But it was nice coming back as a sophomore because I knew what to expect. It was a lot easier this year.”

Hinsdale South didn’t enter five runners into the varsity race, but the Hornets had a nice performance from sophomore Sydney Locke, who was the team’s top runner in her first cross country race. She finished 99th with a time of 20:53.44.

“I wanted to go under what I did in the time trial (22:05) and I shaved off a good amount of time and that gives me a lot of confidence,” Locke said. “The first mile was pretty rough because there were a lot of girls around me and I was trying to accelerate, but by the second mile I was good.”

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