MAPLE PARK – Nobody was catching Dixon on Saturday morning.
Behind slick freshman racer Emma Smith and seniors Jade Miller and Taylor Hills, the Duchesses ran past host Kaneland and the rest of the competition at Saturday’s Class 2A Kaneland girls cross country regional in Maple Park.
Dixon finished with 23 points, comfortably in front of the 74 tallied by the runner-up Knights. Burlington Central (88), Sycamore (94) and Sterling (125) rounded out the remaining teams that qualified for next weekend’s Lakes sectional.
“Our goal today was to win the regional because we hadn’t won it in the past 10 years,” Hills said. “That was our goal and we took the top three (places) and that was our other goal so try to sweep the competition and win.”
Smith (19:04.57), Miller (19:27.35) and Hills (19:40.90) were among eight runners to perform at sub-20:00. Sophomore Emily Conderman (20:06.45) and freshman Keeley Mick (20:10.40) finished ninth and 10th respectively for Dixon, which owned half of the Top 10 finishes en route to its impressive victory.
“We went out there and we went to get to the top and we got there,” Miller said. “I think everyone did really well today. Because of the weather the times were not exactly what anyone expected, but I think we still raced our best.”
Senior Olivia Franklin (19:52.44) placed sixth to lead Kaneland while sophomore Rose Dallal (20:25.07) was 12th.
Senior MacKenzie Egert (20:45.76) and sophomores Lindsey Andrae (20:47.02) and Jacqueline Nettnin (20:57.52) also contributed for the Knights.
“I thought they ran their best race,” Kaneland coach Doug Ecker said. “I was very happy with how they ran. I thought with Burlington Central we could possibly be third so second was good. Dixon is a very, very good team.”
Burlington Central freshman Corryn Kester (19:48.04) took fifth place to lead the Rockets.
“Getting a medal there as a freshman is pretty cool for her,” Burlington Central coach Vince Neil said. “She ran well.”
Neil praised seniors Grace Comparone (20:43.47) and Lauren Dowd (21:54.15) for really stepping up big-time.
“Grace is normally a four or five girl and she ended up being our third girl today,” Neil said. “It was really her effort that helped us finish third. She ran fantastic, and Lauren Dowd hasn’t run for us in a couple weeks due to a quad injury and she toughed it out. Without her doing that we don’t do what we did together as a team.”
Senior Jocelyn Victoria (20:40.17) and sophomore Michaela Kruse (20:59.73) also had top finishes for the Rockets.
Other area qualifiers included Sandwich senior Claire Roberts (20:34.65) and sophomore Alana Stahl (20:38.32).
Plano sophomore Dakota Shatters (23:17.80) led the Reapers while teammates Natalie Flores, Payton Heiden and Jillian Scull ran their final high school races.