Guilford, Winnebago lead Rockford runners headed to IHSA cross country state finals
The boys and girls cross country sectionals were run in near-perfect conditions on Saturday, which means it all comes down to one more showdown: the big state race in Peoria next Saturday.
The weekend was highlighted by a strong push from both the Hononegah and Winnebago girls, and the Guilford boys. The Viking boys qualified for state as a team for the first time since 2004, just two weeks after winning their first NIC-10 conference title since 2004.
"These guys just know how to step it up when they have to," Guilford coach Rick Durso said. "The whole team was pretty excited about this, and they should be.
"And they just keep getting better and better. We're ready for next week."
The top six teams and then the next 10 best runners that were not on a qualifying team advanced to state in Class 1A. The first seven teams followed by the next best 10 runners advance in 2A and 3A. The state meet will be held at Detweiller Park in Peoria next Saturday.
Here is who advanced from the Rockford area:
Class 1A Oregon Sectional
Teams to advance: The Rockford Christian boys (Weston Forward; Aidan Sosnowski; Tyler Nalley; Andrew Kurien; and Noah Shook were the top five) took second with 112 points; and the Winnebago girls (Grace Erb; Marissa Roggensack; Kaylee Woolery; Reese Erdahl; and Morgan Capriola were top five) placed first with 85 points.
Individuals to advance: (BOYS) Nicolai Martino (Winnebago); Aiden Ruiz (Dakota); Tim Stalwart (Byron); Kyle Gnewuch (Lutheran). (GIRLS) Ella Danhorn (Oregon).
Class 2A Kaneland Sectional
Teams to advance: The Belvidere North boys (Evan Horgan; Orlando Hernandez; Will Ward; Jesse Kramer; and Antonio Ostalaza) took second with 115 points.
Individuals to advance: (BOYS) Alex Horton (Boylan); (GIRLS) Nina Fiore (Belvidere); Alyssa Pryor (Belvidere North); Ella Linnabary (Boylan).
Teams to advance: The Guilford boys (Brandon Lawson; Juan Del Real; Landon Bachta; Hayden Johnson; Riddock Blakeney were top five) finished seventh with 177 points. The Hononegah girls (Kylie Simpson; Indigo Sterud; Alyssa Niedfeldt; Isabelle Molitor; and Sophie Balsley were top five) took fifth with 149 points.
Individuals to advance: N/A
Jay Taft is a Rockford Register Star sports reporter. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at @JayTaft. Sign up for the Rockford High School newsletter at rrstar.com. Jay has covered a wide variety of sports, from the Chicago Bears and Blackhawks to youth sports, for more than 20 years at the Register Star, and for nearly 30 years all together.