Glenbard West's Perez, Glenbard South's Wold Capture Cross Country State Titles
Glenbard West junior Madeline Perez set a course record in the Class 3A girls race and Glenbard South junior John Wold won the Class 2A boys race at Saturday's state finals in Peoria while the Glenbard West girls team also earned a trophy for third place.
Only a few weeks ago, the cross-country seasons of Glenbard West junior Madeline Perez and Glenbard South junior John Wold were still in jeopardy because of illness or injury.
Perez and Wold not only persevered, but they also became stronger runners.
On Saturday, they both became state champions.
Perez won the Class 3A girls race in an all-time course-record time, and Wold captured the Class 2A boys title in record time at the state finals at Peoria’s Detweiller Park.
Perez, the Hilltoppers’ first state champion, covered the 3.0 miles in 16:02 – 19 seconds faster than the previous all-time girls best time on the course and 22 seconds better than the previous 3A girls state finals record.
Wold won his race in 14:16 to break the 2A boy's state finals record of 14:21, which earned second place Saturday. New state meet records were established in 2007 when the meet went from two to three classes.
There was even more to celebrate. The Glenbard West girls finished third (138) to earn a team trophy for a top-three finish. A combined six Glenbard West and Glenbard South individuals also earned all-state medals with top-25 finishes.
This is the Hilltoppers’ third team trophy overall but first since 1980, the second year of girls cross-country. Sophomore Lisa Luczak also was all-state for the first time by taking sixth (16:45).
The Glenbard South girls finished a program-best fourth in 2A (172) and missed out on its first trophy by the slightest of margins.
The Raiders were edged for third by Montini (172) on a sixth-runner tiebreaker, a rule initiated this year after two 3A girls teams shared third in 2011 and each received trophies. Freshman Diane Lipa (10th, 17:33) and sophomore Jayme Schlenker (23rd, 17:53) both were all-state for the first time.
The Glenbard South boys finished fifth (190) after taking second in 2011. Junior Joe Singleton (6th, 14:43) again shared all-state honors with Wold after Wold and Singleton finished fourth and 11th, respectively, in the 2011 race.
The Glenbard West boys were 13th (334) in the program’s first state team appearance since 1978.
On Sept. 15 at Detweiller, Perez (16:29) finished a strong second at Peoria Notre Dame’s Richard Spring Invite, to Lake Park senior Kaylee Flanagan, who won in an all-time course record 16:21. Just days later, however, Perez was diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection.
Perez showed she was recovered Oct. 20 when she won the Lake Park Regional followed by winning the Niles West Sectional Oct. 27, a race that featured all four of Saturday’s top-four finishers.
York senior Emma Fisher finished second (16:15) to Perez Saturday, followed by New Trier senior Courtney Ackerman (16:27) and Flanagan (16:39). Fisher took second to Perez at regionals and sectionals after beating Perez at the West Suburban Conference Silver Division Meet Oct. 13 for her second straight title.
Wold spent most of his season recovering from a foot injury that first surfaced during the spring track season. He didn’t make his season debut until the Metamora Runnin’ Red Invitational Oct. 6, and he dropped out of the race after one mile.
Wold then went undefeated the rest of the way, winning the Metro Suburban Conference Meet Oct. 13, the Wheaton Academy Regional Oct. 20 and the Wheaton Academy Sectional Oct. 27 with the fastest sectional time (14:32) among 2A state entries.
Wold won Saturday’s race by five seconds over Crystal Lake Central senior Alex Baxter (14:21) with seniors also taking the next three places in front of Singleton. Glenbard South's Micah VanDenend previously won the Class AA boys title as a senior in 2001 (14:19).
Besides her state title, Perez becomes only the second Glenbard West girl to earn multiple all-state honors, joining Kyna Forkins (23rd in 1997 and 14th in 1998). Last year, Perez finished 15th at state (17:15) behind nine non-seniors, a race won by Naperville Central graduate Amanda Fox in a then-Class 3A state finals record 16:24.
Perez and Luczak were followed Saturday by senior Emma Reifel (51st, 17:38), freshmen Grace Rogers (59th, 17:44) and Christina Sedall (78th, 17:55) and seniors Cynthia Mote (105th, 18:13) and Kate Majewski (143rd, 18:33).
Glenbard West, sixth at state last year, finished nine points ahead of fourth-place New Trier (147), the defending 3A state champion. Naperville North (113) won its fifth state title after tying for third last year, and Lake Park (133) captured its program’s first state trophy.
The Glenbard South boys were 61 points behind third-place Yorkville. Wold and Singleton were followed by junior Andrew Kladiva (55th, 15:28), seniors Mark Cizek (68th, 15:34) and Thomas Stoffels (106th, 15:51), senior Erik Greenwell (142nd, 16:13) and junior Joe Meade (161st, 16:26).
Lipa and Schlenker became only the fourth and fifth all-staters for the Glenbard South girls and the first since 2011 graduate Karen Lipa (10th in 2008), Diane’s sister.
Sophomore Becca Sippel was 27th (18:02), two places and two seconds from the last all-state spot, followed by senior Monica Byrne (65th, 18:34), sophomore Caroline Arlasky (90th, 18:46), juniors Bailey Reese (111th, 19:02) and Elizabeth Niedert (131st, 19:22).
Montini's top-five finishers were 20-29-34-43-82 overall with its No. 6 finisher 94th.
The Glenbard West boys all made their state debuts. Senior Brandon Bonifer was 33rd (14:54), six seconds shy of 25th, followed by senior Will Lindstrom (81st, 15:17), sophomores Chris Buechner (82nd, 15:18) and Paul Christian (117th, 15:30), freshman Eric Neumann (133rd, 15:36) and seniors Neel Patel (174th, 15:53) and Jack Prescott (178th, 15:56).