BELVIDERE – Finally, an hour and a half after the boys race at the IHSA Class 2A Belvidere Cross Country Sectional, Kaneland’s coaches and runners heard what they were hoping for.
The P.A. announcer called off the sixth-place team as Grayslake Central, at which point the Knights knew they would be headed back to Peoria for next Saturday’s IHSA Cross Country State Meet. Kaneland finished with 174 points for fifth place and the final team qualifying spot from the sectional meet, 11 points better than Grayslake Central.
Kyle Carter and Conor Johnson took 16th and 17th to lead the Knights back to state. The girls team did not have to endure such drama, as it took third place with 131 points.
“All seven kids made the difference,” Kaneland boys coach Chad Clarey said. “Conor ran 48 seconds better than he did here last year. Kyle ran 19 seconds better. John Meisinger and Brandon Huber ran like seniors and gave us the boost we needed.”
Carter finished in 15:42.2 for 16th, with Johnson at 15:51.1 not far behind.
Sophomore Victoria Clinton (17:38.6) took second in the girls race to Marengo’s Katie Adams (17:23.2). Clinton outkicked defending Class 2A state champion Sami Staples, of Crystal Lake Central, in the final 800 meters.
“It was a fun race,” Clinton said. “There were some good competitors out there with Katie Adams and Sami Staples. It was kind of a slow pace to start, then [Adams] took off. I wanted a little lower in the 17s, but I thought I did well.”
Clinton took ninth in last year’s state meet. Kaneland freshman Brianna Bower took 12th.
2A Wheaton Academy Sectional: The St. Francis (fourth place) and Aurora Central Catholic (fifth place) boys each advanced to the state meet as a team. Matt Meyers (10th place, 15:35) led ACC while Andrew Hallet (16th, 15:51) paced the Spartans.
On the girls side, Kate Roback (18:21) finished in seventh individually to lead St. Francis to a fifth-place, qualifying team placement. Liz Karina and Jenna Koerner of ACC and Rosary's Kara Kalisz qualified for state individually.
Class 2A Wheaton Academy Sectional: Grant Stoneman scored a pair of goals to lead host Wheaton Academy to a 4-1 win against Riverside-Brookfield in the sectional championship game.
Gareth Flynn and Casey Zimmerman also scored for the Warriors, who won their first sectional title since 2005.
Wheaton Academy advances to Tuesday's Chicago Solorio Supersectional against Lake View.
Class 1A playoffs: At Mooseheart, nobody associated with Mooseheart's football team thought defeating Warren was going to be easy. The Warriors may have finished the regular season 5-4, but that record came against some of the toughest competition in the state.
And for four quarters, the Ramblers and Warriors went end-to-end at Mooseheart's stadium in a manner usually reserved for Arena Football. The contest contained more than enough offense, eight turnovers and more key plays than can be numbered.
But when the game ended, Mooseheart claimed a 34-24 victory, its second opening round win in the IHSA Class 1A playoffs in as many years. The Ramblers advance to face Stark County in a second-round contest at 4 p.m. on Nov. 3.
"We did what to do and we got the win," Mooseheart coach Gary Urwiler said. "It didn't look pretty, that's for sure."
Offensively, there were some huge performances for Mooseheart. Quarterback Jon Hart completed 25-of-33 pass for 294 yards and four touchdowns. Each of those touchdown passes was caught by Sahr Mahoney, who grabbed eight passes overall for 125 yards. J.J. Odunsi caught 13 passes for 147 yards.
• Joe Stevenson and Darryl Mellema contributed to this report.