After an extremely successful race in Peoria this past Saturday, it was a quick turnaround for the freshmen and sophomores to lace up their spikes once again at the York Frosh / Soph Invitational. While two grueling races in less than 72 hours can assuredly be taxing, our young men, the future of the Neuqua Valley running program, stepped up and delivered two course records, two team trophies, and myriad personal best times on this 2.1 mile course.
The freshmen kicked off racing at the brand new course for this invitational at Berens Park in Elmhurst. Zach Kinne (1st, 10:46.4) took over the race immediately and never looked back. He finished 28 seconds in front of the second place runner. Chris Keeley (4th, 11:23.2) led the supporting crew behind Zach and looked phenomenal in doing so. All the miles he has put in these past few months are helping him to become one of our best freshmen ever. Nick Drechsler (23rd, 12:01.9) and Michael Madiol (24th, 12:03.0) were our next finishers as they strived to keep in front of perennial contenders, York and Naperville North. Rounding out the team scoring, Michael O'Connor (29th, 12:15.2), Matthew Jett (32nd, 12:26.4), and Jack Orengo (43rd, 12:54.8) gave their all to see us upended by first place Naperville North, yet still defeat York for second place.
The sophomore crew was the next to toe the line for racing. Danny Winek (1st, 10:32.2) and Ryan Kennedy (5th, 10:48.9) set the pace immediately, just as they had done together on Saturday in Peoria. Danny pulled away from the pack after the first mile marker, and Ryan battled York and Metea runners for the next mile. Tyler Bombacino (9th, 11:11.7) and Quinton Quagliano (10th, 11:12.5) rounded out the top ten runners. While they had to adjust to a faster start in a shorter race, the second half of the race saw them picking off several runners; Quinton specifically caught three runners in his final 200 meters. Alex Johnson (15th, 11:20.0), Evan McVittie (39th, 11:57.8), and Keanan Ginell (44th, 12:12.6) all aided in what we originally thought was a first place finish. However, we tied with York at 40 points, and in the event of a tie, the win goes to the higher-placing sixth man. Thus, York took the top prize, but our boys still raced with tremendous pride.
The Open Race was an interesting one. When runners passed by us at the first mile mark, Coach Rossi and I commented about their size and older-looking features. After finally seeing the results on Wednesday, we discovered that several juniors and seniors were allowed to race in this Frosh / Soph invitational for some reason. Nevertheless, there were many bright spots in this race. Danny Speckels (11th, 12:08.9) was our top finisher, and looked outstanding. DJ Sauer (12th, 12:14.1) was right behind him. Michael Dy (21st, 12:20.3), Matthew Lindell (26th, 12:32.9), and Austin Nguyen (30th, 12:36.3) finished in the top echelon of this 200-runner race. Spencer Teske (50th, 13:04.0) has made some amazing strides thus far this season. Vikram Sunderrajan (112th, 14:25.1) keeps improving with every race he runs. Rahul Nair (132nd, 15:02.8) and Andrew Schloderback (135th, 15:06.3) came in charging at the end. And Trevor Lambert (164th, 16:00.5) raced much more aggressively than we had seen before today.
If Monday's race was any indication, Neuqua Valley's future is certainly bright. Many thanks to York High School for hosting this outstanding event.
Full results can be found at this link. Sophomore Video Highlights. Freshman Video Highlights.