ST. CHARLES – The end of Saturday’s Jeff Leavey Invitational at Leroy Oakes Forest Preserve was just as unplanned as the start of the cross country event.
Officials from host school St. Charles East canceled the Boys Open, the final race of the invitational, after two runners from the preceding contest, the girls fresh-soph race, required medical attention.
“We have runners down and we don’t need any more,” St. Charles East boys coach Chris Bosworth about the decision to drop the last competition.
A brief thunderstorm five minutes before the start of the girls open, the first race of the day, delayed the start of the invitational. After lightning was spotted, teams were required to return to their buses and wait out the storm. As a result, all start times were pushed back an hour as the weather heated up.
St. Charles North won the girls varsity race (77 points) with Geneva taking third (120) and St. Charles East fourth (126). Jacobs (89) and York (140) rounded out the top five teams. Batavia came in seventh place (170) in the 13-team field.
Lauren Van Vlierbergen from Jacobs, seventh-place finisher in the IHSA Class 3A state cross country meet last year, took top honors in the race with a time of 18:03.3
The Saints’ Torree Scull time of 18:17.7 earned her a second place finish. Ashley England of St. Charles North came in third, completing the 3-mile course in 18:22.6. Geneva’s McKenzie Altmayer took fifth place with a time of 18:30.0. Dakota Roman of Batavia came in sixth place with a time of 18:53.8.
“I wasn’t expecting it,” North girls coach Shari Hayes of the first-place finish. “I ran a freshman up and it paid off. [Madison Kaufmann] was the third runner today. Ashley (England) and Kaylee (Wessel) ran really strong. That was huge and the rest of the team stepped up and finished where they needed to."
Wessel finished in eighth place (19:05.0) and Kaufmann in 15th place (19.21.2).
“I definitely was prepared to run with her (Van Vlierbergen) even before the meet started,” Scull said. "I was just hoping that we could pace each other and it worked out pretty well.”
“We feel good about where we placed today,” East girls coach Mike Backer said.. “In October, when it really counts, we are going to be where we want to be.”
In the boys varsity contest, Batavia took third place (118) behind Downers Grove North (73) and Jacobs (94). St. Charles East (145) came in fifth behind Wheaton North ( 137). Marmion took sixth place ( 153). Geneva came in 11th and St. Charles East 12th. Both schools scored 264 points, Geneva was given 11th because it’s sixth runner placed higher than East’s. Fifteen schools fielded boys teams.
“It’s our first meet for our varsity and we are seeing what we have to do to get to (the state meet in) Peoria,” said Mike DiDomenico, Batavia boys coach. “I’m happy with what I saw up front but I think we can improve in the middle and at the back end.”
Zac Smith of Downers Grove North won the boys contest with a time of 15:05.5
Geneva’s Blaine Bartel, who came in sixth with a time of 15:34.0, was the top area runner.
“It’s a person record for me,” Bartel said. “Actually I was going too fast for my time. I saw the lead runner and just wanted to stay with him.”
Batavia’s Mitch Zabka took seventh place, completing the course in 15:39.2, only two tenths of a second ahead of East’s Will Muckian.
The top Marmion runner was Brady Bobbitt. The junior placed 14th with a time of 15:53.5.
Senior Nathan Klair paced North finishing 26th with a time of 16:11.6.