East boys, Geneva girls race to UEC River XC titles
ST. CHARLES – The St. Charles East boys cross country team narrowly edged out Batavia, 43-44, to take first place in the River Division at the Upstate Eight Conference meet Saturday morning at Leroy Oakes Forest Preserve.
Max Rowland led the way for the Saints with a time of 15:25.5, and was joined by teammates Mark Sciurba (15:26.0), Lucas Werner (15:44.1), Mike Skora (15:49.3) and Mike Gerkin (15:52.2).
St. Charles East coach Chris Bosworth was pleased to see Rowland establish some consistency in his past few races.
"He's been kind of inconsistent, but these last two meets, he's stepped up," Bosworth said. "We've gotten him on the right track now which is perfect."
Batavia's second-place finish was paced by junior Ryan Wieties' time of 15:30.3. Wieties was disappointed with how the team points added up, but he was proud of his team's ability to stick together through the course.
"Our one through five was very close together," Wieties said. "I think we did a great job of doing that today. Obviously, East was just a little bit better today. We just gotta move on from it, we've got two weeks until sectionals and we just gotta use it as energy to continue the season."
Geneva senior Blaine Bartel finished first in the River Division, clocking in at 15:17.3 to spark the Vikings a fourth-place team finish.
"It felt great. I mean, today I stayed controlled for the first two miles but I picked it up with a half mile to go, so I felt pretty good," Bartel said. "It pumps me up a little bit more for regionals and sectionals."
The top five team scores in the River Division were rounded out by St. Charles North (69), Geneva (85) and Larkin (142).
On the girls side, Geneva won the River Division race with 34 points, finishing ahead of St. Charles East (66), St. Charles North (74), Batavia (87), and Streamwood (104).
Sophomore McKenzie Altmayer paced Geneva, finishing with a time of 17:50.4, just ahead of St. Charles North's Ashley England (17:51.4). Altmayer credited her familiarity with the conference competition with helping her to finish on top.
"I knew who the faster girls were," Altmayer said. "I just wanted to stay with them as much as possible."
Geneva coach Bob Thomson liked the cohesive effort of his team and hopes that they can carry the momentum in to regionals.
"It's pretty neat to see that everybody is making some contributions," Thomson said. "The outlook looks good. They're coming around. We seem to be finding the kids that are going to help us out in these kinds of races."
Altmayer and England finished ahead of Streamwood's Gabby Juarez (18:03.4), and Batavia's Dakota Roman (18:05.0) and Miranda Rea (18:09.6).