The only race in which Baig did not finish first or second was the Class 2A boys race at the IHSA Cross Country State Meet. He won the Fox Valley Conference Meet by 32 seconds and won the Burlington Central Regional, then took second in the Woodstock North Sectional and fifth at state. Baig, who will run at Illinois State University, is the Northwest Herald Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year. He was picked as All-Area honorable mention last year.
Ian Barnes, Cary-Grove, sr.
Barnes finished his high school career strong, taking 19th at the Class 2A State Meet to earn All-State honors. Barnes took third in the FVC Meet to Baig and Prairie Ridge’s Will Gelon, he was runner-up to Gelon at the Woodstock Regional and took ninth in the Woodstock North Sectional. He is the only repeat All-Area first-team selection.
Will Gelon, Prairie Ridge, so.
Gelon had another standout season, culminating with a 23rd-place finish in the Class 2A State Meet and All-State honors. Gelon was FVC runner-up to Baig, then won the Woodstock Regional and was fifth in the Woodstock North Sectional. He was an All-Area second-team selection as a freshman.
Aidan Gonzalez, Hampshire, sr.
Gonzalez led the Whip-Purs to their first FVC Meet championship as they edged Jacobs by three points. Gonzalez took fourth in the FVC Meet, was seventh in the Class 3A Harlem Regional and was 11th at the Lake Park Sectional, leading the Whips to a state berth with a seventh-place team finish. Gonzalez was an All-Area honorable-mention pick last year.
Ishan Patel, Woodstock, so.
Patel led the Blue Streaks, a team that graduated four of its top five runners, back to the Kishwaukee River Conference Meet championship and their first Class 2A State Meet berth since 2010. Woodstock’s strong sophomore class was crucial to that success. Patel took fourth in the Woodstock Regional, 13th in the Woodstock North Sectional and 38th in the state meet.