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Sports

Top Sports Stories of 2017: Kaneland's Matt Richtman wins state cross country

Kaneland's Matthew Richtman gives his all to beat Sterling's Jacob Gebhardt to the finish line in the Class 2A race at the Illinois High School Association's 2017 State Cross Country Meet on Nov. 4.
Kaneland's Matthew Richtman gives his all to beat Sterling's Jacob Gebhardt to the finish line in the Class 2A race at the Illinois High School Association's 2017 State Cross Country Meet on Nov. 4.

Matt Richtman won the rematch – and a state title.

By less than a second Richtman, Kaneland's senior, edged friendly rival Jacob Gebhardt of Sterling to win the Class 2A state cross country championship on Nov. 4 in Peoria.

Richtman covered the 3-mile Detweiller Park course in 14 minutes, 23 seconds, becoming Kaneland's first boys cross country state champion.

Richtman, who will run collegiately at Bradley, had competed with Indiana-bound Gebhardt since middle school. Gebhardt won the sectional race.

"It's exciting to see how we've both grown together and here we are," Richtman said. "He won state in middle school so I guess it was my turn."

Richtman's 2017 was a remarkable year for a runner.

He ran an indoor school record 9:34.70 3,200 to win the Class 2A Top Times Invitational in March, was runner-up at conference in the 1,600 and sectional runner-up in the 1,600 and 3,200. At the Class 2A state track championships, ran a school outdoor record 9:23.47 to lead Kaneland to third. Then he lowered the record to 9:22.98 at the Midwest Distance Classic.

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