With winds gusting over 30 mph and the threat of stormy weather, St. Peter Cross Country retained its title of Tri County Conference champions at Sycamore Park in Sycamore. The 7/8th grade team won their race overwhelmingly while the 5/6th grade team came out on top in a more breathtaking fashion.
Going into the championship event, the 5/6th grade team’s primary opponent was the strong and talented St. Mary team. Racing on their home course, the perennial conference leaders who essentially stayed atop the conference standings all season had the advantage and were the unofficial favorite going into the championship race. From the gun, St. Peter 6th grade runners David Peterson, Will Klaus and Caroline Zimmer challenged the top St. Mary runners, holding firm in 2nd – 4th place about 15 seconds behind leader Paul Ruetten of St. Mary.
Halfway into the 1.5 mile race, Simon Bubolz, St. Mary’s 2nd runner opened a 10 second lead on the St. Peter trio which he never relinquished. With Peterson, Klaus and Zimmer finishing 3rd-5th, it was now up to St. Peter to showcase their depth for the win. Anne Tavierne (6th grade), Joe Mullaghy (6th), Erika Martin (5th), Aaron Staehely (6th), Megan Cahill (6th) and Sam Barton (5th) finished within 15 seconds of each other in 10th – 15th place ahead of St. Mary’s 5th runner in 16th, thus sealing the St. Peter win over St. Mary by a close score of 33-35. IESA All State runner Caroline Zimmer of St. Peter was the 5/6th Girls Conference Champion with a finishing time of 9:49.
In the 2 mile 7/8th grade race, the St. Peter team scored 20 points to beat 2nd place St. Patrick of St. Charles with 71 points. IESA All State runner Charlie Zimmer (8th grade) took the Boys Conference Champion title finishing the 2 mile race in 11:35, a full 1:11 ahead of the rest of the field.
IESA All State runner Elizabeth Allon (8th grade) was crowned Girls Conference champion, narrowly beating 2nd place teammate 8th grader Katelyn Huber by only .3 seconds in a time of 12:59.
The Tri County Conference Championship win wrapped up a highly successful season for the St. Peter Rockets Cross Country team which was highlighted by top 10 finishes at two large invitationals, a commanding win for the girls over Geneva Middle School South and Wheaton Franklin, 20 All Conference finishers, 3 IESA All State runners and a 3rd place finish for the girls team at the Class 1A IESA State Cross Country Championship Meet.
Look for highlights of the St. Peter Track and Field team who will be in action next April as they look to challenge for the top spot in the Aurora Conference and compete in the IESA State Track and Field series in May.