Tuesday, November 2, 2010

York rolls at Sectionals

I got a chance to take in the Skokie (Niles West) Sectional this past Saturday. It was the first meet of the year that I had been able to make it out to, but it was a great one. I expected a great battle between York and Oak Park-River Forest as York's only defeat this season had been at the hands of OPRF. Instead, it was New Trier (Winnetka, IL) who gave York all they could handle. York prevailed 57-62 with OPRF a little ways back in 3rd with 96. It may have been even closer but as it had been all year, Jack Driggs led York with an individual title. Driggs (pictured below at the sectional meet) won in 14:53.

Down in Lockport, Lukas Verzbicas went about his business as well winning that Sectional in 15:09. The time doesn't seem that impressive on paper until you realize that the course record there was previously 15:15 set in the 2007 season by one Chris Derrick. Enough said. Many people are looking to the battle brewing next week downstate in Peoria between Driggs and Verzbicas. Lukas has never lost a cross country race in his high school career and in fact, doesn't appear to have had a strong challenge in a high school race. Even at FL Nationals last year he made it look easy. Go to the FL website and watch the replay sometime. I think that Driggs is going to be up for the task of challenging him. The question of  will Lukas beat Craig Virgin's course record has to be asked along with, will Driggs go with him? It's going to be a great meet on Saturday both individually and with the teams. Look for Neuqua Valley to challenge York and New Trier.
Down in Texas the post season has just started. We saw the Humble Kingwood boys dominate The Woodlands at the district level and the El Paso Eastwood girls team win a 5th consecutive district title. Region 1 should be loaded with some great races. The top individual boy and girl (Craig Lutz and Rachel Johnson) in Texas will both run Saturday at Mae Simmons Park in Lubbock. It is very possible that we will see the same school, Southlake Carroll, win both the boys and girls titles. Look for the SLC boys to be challenged by Marcus and Amarillo Tascosa, and the SLC girls to be challenged by Coppell and EP Eastwood. The 4a races should be a great time for El Paso with Isaac Spencer (EP Austin) and Joel Flores (El Paso Jefferson) contending for the individual title with Chuy Alegria of Ft. Worth Boswell. El Paso Jefferson will be a strong favorite for the team title.
On the University level the conference meets have seen some great performances in the way of tempo runs. Stanford won the Pac-10 the same way it has run all year with Chris Derrick, Elliot Heath and Jake Riley coming across the line in a dead heat. Oklahoma State did the same with Girma Mesecho, German Fernandez and Colby Lowe doing the same. Both teams have run like this all year and seem to be on a collision course to meet in Terre Haute, IN in a few weeks. Look for the team spreads to be a little higher as Derrick and Fernandez will undoubtedly be going after Sam Chelanga at the front. Question is for Stanford, will the team follow. To me if both teams run to their full capabilities it is still a toss up.
Jordan Hasay (Oregon) defeated Kathy Kroeger (Stanford) for the girls Pac-10 title. How many times did we see these two go back and forth at past FL Nationals?! Stanford was able to take the team title on both sides.
Speaking of Stanford, the Rosa brothers out of New Jersey have committed to the Cardinals and rumor is that Chelsey Sveinsson (Texas) has as well. It doesn't appear as if we will see Chelsey this cross season unless she runs USATF Juniors. Hope she is healthy soon.
Last but not least, the 2010 edition of the Chicago Marathon was one for the ages. Sammy Wanjiru of Kenya defeated Tsegaye Kebede of Ethiopia (2:06.24-2:06.42) in a great battle. Truly an amazing race, watch the finish of the race on Flotrack or find it on youtube. There is no doubt that Sammy Wanjiru is a true champion.

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