Cross Country: Minooka girls earn conference title
By Tim Tierney For Sun-Times Media October 19, 2013 10:54PM
Plainfield South's Dan Lathrop is in the lead Saturday as he nears a turn during the Southwest Prairie Conference meet. | Tim Tierney/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 20, 2013 11:04AM
Minooka’s Morgan Crouch had an interesting description for the way the Indians have approached the 2013 cross country season.
“We’ve really nailed being tribal this year,’’ Crouch said of the team’s summer running theme. “Tribal is the idea that sticks in a bundle are harder to break than a single stick. We’ve really worked on pack running this year.’’
Pack running carried defending champion Minooka to an impressive victory Saturday in the Southwest Prairie Conference meet at Hammel Woods. The Indians’ first five runners placed among the top eight, led by individual champion Ashley Tutt and runner-up Crouch.
Tutt, a freshman, covered the course in 18 minutes, 23.6 seconds. Crouch, a sophomore, was second in 18:53. Plainfield North sophomore Rachael Lau took third (18:54.8).
“I felt really good the entire time, the second mile and third mile,’’ Tutt said. “I went out fast and I picked it up because I felt really good.’’
“I am so proud of Ashley. She’s been doing really good this season,’’ said Crouch, who was third in the 2012 conference meet.
Minooka’s top five finishers were Tutt, Crouch, Moira McAsey (5th, 19:07.8), Mackenzie Callahan (6th, 19:08.2) and Kaitlyn Chetney (8th, 19:14.1). Haley McNamara finished 15th and Gaby Gall was 23rd.
“A conference championship is always a great thing,’’ Minooka coach Kevin Gummerson said. “I liked how they competed. The second half of the race, moving up and picking people off. All these kids did that.’’
The team totals were Minooka (22), Oswego East (62), Plainfield South (74), Oswego (95), Plainfield North (109), Plainfield East (187), Plainfield Central (201) and Romeoville (247).
In the boys race, Plainfield South senior Dan Lathrop led from the start and cruised to the individual title (15:30.9) ahead of Oswego’s Peter Johnsrud (15:41.8).
“We kind of went out a little slow the first mile, so I knew I was going to have to push it and make a few surges in there to get a good lead,’’ Lathrop said. “It was a good experience, learning to run from the front a little more. I’ve done it a few times this year.’’
Lathrop was runner-up in the 2012 conference meet to then Minooka senior Joey Santillo, who was on hand for Saturday’s race.
“To win it is a big thing because this is a tough conference,’’ Lathrop said. “To be the champion in this conference doesn’t come easy.’’
“You could tell by his fitness level he’s starting to peak at the right time,’’ Plainfield South coach Jason Crowe said. “He’s making it look easy, on a tough course against some excellent competition.’’
Oswego East had five runners in the top 13 to win the team championship with 43 points. Defending champion Plainfield South was second (64), followed by Oswego (65), Plainfield East (92), Minooka (112), Plainfield North (159), Plainfield Central (159) and Romeoville (225).
Plainfield East All-Stater Joseph Suarez said he ran the race despite having an “upper respiratory infection.’’ He finished eighth (16:07.8).