Photo: The start of the 44th annual Eddington Invitational boys varsity race. The Knights took sixth place overall. Ryan Bower (left to right), Nathaniel Kucera, Luis Acosta and Andrew Lesak get things going. Photo by Mary Paulson
Bower, Kucera, Lesak elevate Knight totals
ELBURN—Under sunny skies at Elburn Woods, the Kaneland boys cross country saw a talented field try and stake claim to their turf.
Kaneland managed a sixth-place finish at the annual Eddington Invite on Saturday morning, carving out enough of a path to see positive developments.
The Knights were strong enough to finish sixth with 160 team points, just two points behind local rival West Aurora. Crystal Lake Central’s 41, Glenbard West’s 53, Jacobs’ 74 and Benet Academy’s 152 rounded out the top four. Burlington Central (207), Geneva (226), Sycamore (249) and DeKalb (256) filled in the rest of the top 10. Larkin, Dundee-Crown and Marengo rounded out the 12-team field.
Crystal Lake Central’s senior asset Ryan Pitner, with a time of 15 minutes, 51.1 seconds, claimed the Elburn course. Jacobs entry Matthew Johnson was next with a time of 16:02.8.
For KHS, the field was headed by senior Ryan Bower, who finished 21st at 16:48.2. Bower was followed quickly by teammate Nathaniel Kucera, who finished 22nd at 16:51.4. Andrew Lesak, a junior, took 32nd at 17:06.2. Senior Luis Acosta was fourth-best for KHS and finished 42nd and 17:23.3, while junior teammate Brandon Park was 43rd at 17:24. Senior Kyle Carter, working his way back from illness, finished 60th overall at 18:00.1. The Kaneland pack was within 72 seconds of each other, from one through six.
“It’s nice, with this being their last meet on their home course, that it means something to them,” KHS coach Chad Clarey said. “Running at the Woods is special, and trying to PR is a big part of what they want to accomplish. For the most part, we really did a good job with that. Ryan Bower had a 27-second PR and a career-best on the home course. Kucera also had a PR and a good day, and a big surprise for us was Lesak.”
Kucera thought it was a good race for a relatively healthy KHS to show what it could do in a talent-heavy field, at an important juncture of the 2013 campaign.
“I was feeling a little sick today and congested, so it was a little rough, but I’m happy with my time,” Kucera said. “I mean, we had good competition.”
Freshman Jacob Oury of Hampshire was tops of the frosh-soph competition at 17:01.9. KHS sophomore Sean Spaetzel was sixth at 17:37.8. Senior Brock Robertsen was the top entry for Kaneland in the open race with a time of 18:24.6, good for 14th.
Saturday, Sept. 28, sees the boys travel to the Aurora Central Catholic Invitational.