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Cross Country Insider: DeKalb looking for fifth spot to step up

NOTES: Searching for a fifth: DeKalb’s senior class of girls performed exactly how coach Mike Wolf expected them to in their first invitational of the season on Tuesday.

At Sycamore, the Barbs placed four in the top 21 of the girls varsity race, led by Kelsey Schrader’s second-place finish.

“We knew we had four senior girls that are pretty strong and experienced,” Wolf said. “I don’t really worry too much about them. We’re just looking for someone in our fifth spot to step up.”

Sophomore Tessa Gridley took 63rd to finish as the Barbs’ fifth scorer, but Wolf said he knows Gridley will be faster as the season progresses.

While Schrader is a contender for the Class 2A state title this year, Wolf said the other senior girls are coming in much-improved.

“Monica [York] ran great as our No. 2 girl. Sara [Schafer] and Kayla [Federici] ran well together,” Wolf said. “They’re all coming off a really strong summer.”

Wolf specifically mentioned York, who has had a history of injuries and illnesses throughout her career. She’s been healthy for most of the past year and finished 11th at Sycamore.

“She wasn’t able to gain consistent training in. She wasn’t able to get going,” Wolf said. “That shows you what being healthy can do for her.”

Spartans on track: The Sycamore girls team proved how much depth it has at the Sycamore Invitational on Tuesday.

The Spartans placed eight runners in the top 46 on their way to a third-place team finish.

“We went in there with a goal of being a team in the top three,” Sycamore coach Adam Bezinovich said. “All of the girls had a time goal of their own. We came away with pretty much everything we wanted to do for that meet.”

Sycamore is another very experiened team with a core group of seven seniors in their top eight. Senior Maggie Lalowski finished third overall to lead the Spartans.  

Bezinovich noted that the team’s No. 4 through 8 runners are all pretty close together and they’ve come into the season following a good summer.

“This summer they got together and they ran and they worked together,” Bezinovich said. “This will be a season that will be fun to watch.”

VIEWS: Handling the heat a tricky proposition

When extreme heat conditions came into the area last week, cross country coaches were forced to toe the line between runner safety and training.

Especially early in the season, it’s important to keep consistent workouts yet monitor the health of runners.

Sycamore coach Adam Bezinovich said his staff put out additional water stations on the team’s practice routes and cut back the pace of workouts.

“A lot of it is being smart, realizing it’s early, it’s a long season,” Bezinovich said. “Whatever your goal is, it’s a slow progression to that. Right now you can’t do something that’s going to run a new runner off.”

DeKalb coach Mike Wolf kept his team out of the heat for part of their workout and also scaled back some of the training.

“We broke a lot of runs out. We’d start with a mile or two miles in the field house and then we’d go out and get two or three in,” Wolf said. “We had to cut a couple days down where we didn’t do as much as we planned.” 

Overall, caution seems to be the theme even if it means not being as productive.

“[Heat] effects different people different ways. You have some kids who almost thrive it,” Wolf said. “Some kids look wiped out pretty early on. You have to be careful with them.” 


Maggie Lalowski, sr., Sycamore

Lalowski finished in third place at the Sycamore Invitational on Tuesday. Lalowski finished in 18:46, an improvement of more than 90 seconds from her performance last season at the same meet.


Sycamore, Genoa-Kingston at Oregon Invite, 4:15 p.m. Wednesday

The midweek invitational should serve as a good warm-up for the Spartans who will head down to Peoria over the weekend.


1. Kyle Carter, sr., Kaneland

2. Mark Stice, sr., Sycamore

3. Nathaniel Kucera, sr., Kaneland

4. Adam Millburg, jr., Sycamore

5. Isaac Hietanen, sr., DeKalb

6. Luis Acosta, sr., Kaneland

7. Paul Fielder, jr., DeKalb

8. Kendryck Rand, sr., Sycamore

9. Ryan Bower, sr., Kaneland

10. Jason Ruetten, jr., Sycamore

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