ROSELLE – Things were clicking for St. Charles East senior Luke Schildmeyer before his fourth varsity boys cross country conference race Saturday.
“I woke up and I was feeling really good, just a good week of training,” Schildmeyer said. “I love running in 50-degree weather.”
Schildmeyer felt even better afterward. He won the DuKane Conference meet at Lake Park in 14:33.4 with junior teammate Micah Wilson second in 14:38.9.
They helped the defending Class 3A state champions win a second straight DuKane title with 31 points after the St. Charles East girls captured their first conference crown since 2011 with 45 points.
Batavia junior Katrina Schlenker won her second DuKane girls title in 17:03.4 over Wheaton Warrenville South senior Sam Poglitsch, the 2019 champion who ran 17:25.2.
Schildmeyer, 12th in 2019, delivered a 3.0-mile personal best by 15 seconds.
“It came out of nowhere, really, but I’m super happy about it,” Schildmeyer said. “It means a lot to win such a competitive conference (as a team).”
The boys and girls combined results from two races with four runners per team.
The St. Charles East boys put four in the top 10 with seniors Zach Loomis and Connor Murphy fourth in 15:06.4 and seventh.
Last season, the Saints edged Wheaton Warrenville South by two points before beating them by four for the state championship. Wilson was second to graduated teammate Bob Liking.
“Coming in second again, I can’t complain about it, especially when it’s against Bob and Luke, who are two amazing runners,” Wilson said. “When we get times like these, you can’t complain.”
Led by junior Michael Atkins’ fifth-place 15:10.6, WW South edged Wheaton North 59-62 for second. Batavia, Geneva, St. Charles North, Glenbard North and Lake Park were fourth through eighth.
Wheaton North junior Ryan Schreiner was third in a personal-best 15:03.7, senior Will Roth eighth and junior Ryan Zydek 10th. Batavia senior Ryan Mansour was sixth and St. Charles North senior Noah Eng was ninth.
Schreiner was last year’s DuKane frosh-soph champion.
“It’s such a huge leap. The atmosphere is so much different. There’s so much competition,” Schreiner said. “This is my first time (against St. Charles East in 2020) and they’re a great team. They were pushing me to run my hardest.”
The St. Charles East girls won by 16 points over Batavia. St. Charles North topped WW South 78-85 for third followed by Wheaton North, Geneva, Glenbard North and Lake Park.
The Saints were led by the 5-6 finish of freshman Marley Andelman and sophomore Morgan Sandlund in 18:01.6 and 18:01.9. Junior Ava Abbott and freshman Mackenzie Loomis were ninth and 11th.
“I’m really excited to be able to do this with everyone and have our team progress and just be as good as we can be,” Andelman said.
“I’ve always been coming to these meets, watching my teammates now, so it’s been really fun to race with them against all of these amazing girls.”
The Saints are especially amazing considering senior and 2018 all-stater Alice Abbott has been injured all season.
“To their credit, it’s all them. They’ve worked together when they could and it’s been great to see,” St. Charles East coach Brad Kaplan said. “We miss Alice, but they’re running for Alice this season.”
Schlenker has won three of the five meetings this season against Poglitsch. They should race again at regionals and sectionals.
Schlenker finished second at state in 2018 and third last year behind Poglitsch and four-time state champion Katelynne Hart.
Schlenker and Poglitsch were even at one (5:36) and two miles (11:29) Saturday.
“The first mile I wanted to run really strong. I just felt amazing. And it’s great to have Sam up there with me,” Schlenker said. “Winning is obviously amazing and it’s a great feeling but I think doing things as a team is an even bigger and better feeling.”
St. Charles North senior Rachel Price (17:42.7) and Batavia senior Jenna Schifferer (17:59.0) finished 3-4. Batavia senior Lauren Hunecke, WW South senior Becca Hauenstein and Glenbard North sophomore Grace Schager were seventh, eighth and 10th.
“This year I decided to really focus on my second mile, try to keep it consistent,” said Price, a three-time top-five DuKane finisher. “Hopefully I’ll keep on improving (at regionals).”