ELBURN – A youthful pack of runners helped the Geneva girls cross country team to the Eddington Invitational team championship on Saturday at Elburn Woods.
The Vikings prevailed behind the efforts of junior Brooke Nusser (19:31.8), sophomore McKenzie Altmayer (19:33.0), sophomore Emma McSpadden (19:33.8), freshman Emma Ehrhardt (20:19) and junior Marin Leone (20:41.9).
Nusser, who took seventh place overall, attributed Geneva's success to the familiarity with the course and the team's emphasis on helping each other.
"We run it every year," Nusser said. "It's always tough with the hills but other than that it felt good. We always try to stay together like beta ll the top girls together and do well as a team and just encourage each other during the race."
Kaneland's Brianna Bower came in fifth place overall, leading her Knights to a third-place finish.
"It felt really good," Bower said. "The weather was nice and it was just a good day overall.
Bower's tally was joined by teammates Victoria Clinton (19:49.6), Jessica Kucera (20:47.0), Erika Carlson (21:16.8) and Noelle Espino (21:38.7).
Rosary coach Vic Mead was elated with what he deemed a breakout performance for his team, which finished fourth behind Kaneland with a score of 128. Madison Rozone (20:01.2) lead the way for the Royals.
"This is a very good performance for us," Mead said. "We're really, really excited about today's performance. We're kind of calling it our breaking out."
Crystal Lake Central (79) came in fourth place and Belvidere North (131) finished in fifth.
On the boys side, the Eddington Invitational featured tight competition from top to bottom in a meet that brought together 25 teams.
Kaneland boys coach Chad Clarey praised the depth of the teams that competed at the Kaneland-hosted meet.
"I think the quality of the teams that are here this year is about the best it's ever been," Clarey said.
Crystal Lake Central took the boys team title with a score of 41, followed by Glenbard West (53) Jacobs (74), Benet Academy (152) and West Aurora (158).
Kaneland, behind the lead of senior Ryan Bower's 16:48.2 time, finished in sixth place.
"(Bower) was a 27-second PR," said Clarey. "We had a lot of PR performances out of our varsity."
Burlington Central finished one spot behind Kaneland with an overall team score of 207. The Rockets were led by junior Clay Musial, who came in eight place.
Geneva (226) took eight place overall despite missing its top runner, Blaine Bartel.
"He's taking the ACT today," Geneva coach Bob Thomson said. "I know we had a nice group of kids coming in. They're young. They're learning to understand that if they're our top seven then we're gonna call on them to move up to varsity."