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Cross Country: Oak Lawn boys, Marist girls win titles

Marist's Julie Yaeger races first-place finish Saturday Jimmy Daniels Olympian Run Rich Central. | Tim Tierney/For Sun-Times Media

Marist's Julie Yaeger races to a first-place finish Saturday in the Jimmy Daniels Olympian Run at Rich Central. | Tim Tierney/For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: October 12, 2013 6:32PM



Homewood-Flossmoor’s Christian Hoover took some good advice from a reliable source Saturday before the Jimmy Daniels Olympian Run at Rich Central.

“My teammate, Matt Anyiwo, was giving me information about how to stay calm and smooth throughout the race,’’ Hoover said. “I listened to him because he’s like a big brother to me and a mentor. I look up to him.’’

Anyiwo, a senior, sat out the varsity event while Hoover, a junior, raced to a first-place finish in 16 minutes, 7.2 seconds over the course on the school campus.

“The thought of him not running the varsity race with me kept me moving,’’ Hoover said of Anyiwo, a Class 3A state qualifier last year.

Using his teammate’s tips, Hoover led for most of the 3-mile boys race that had 22 teams and 146 runners.

“You’ve got to get out hard and maintain pace,’’ Hoover said. “Then he told me when I get to the 2-mile, kick open my legs, get a better stride. It’s mentally demoralizing to lose somebody in the race.’’

Mount Carmel’s Dan O’Keefe, a Class 2A state qualifier last season, was runner-up in 16:10.5.

“I was with the leaders the whole time,’’ O’Keefe said. “He just got me at the end. He had a great kick. I wish I was a little faster, but it was definitely a good race.’’

Oak Lawn won the team championship with 72 points ahead of Jones (116), Lincoln-Way West (132), Palatine (137) and Andrew (163).

“It’s a good accomplishment,’’ Oak Lawn coach Chris Repa said. “Winning was nice, but it’s more of a tuneup for the conference meet.’’

Oak Lawn’s top five were Nick Minnella (4th, 16:18.4), Richard Willis (11th), Luis Garcia (18th), Omar Abdelrahman (19th) and Calvin Demski (20th).

“It’s a sign of how much we’ve improved over the past year,’’ Minnella said. “We all work off each other and we all work hard.’’

In the girls race, Marist’s Julie Yaeger won her first individual title (18:56.4) to lead the RedHawks to the team championship among 16 schools.

“My time is a little slower than normal, but that’s because we tried staying as a pack for the first mile,’’ Yaeger said. “That threw it off. Otherwise it was pretty good.’’

Marist’s first five runners were Yaeger, Maryclare Leonard (2nd), Annmarie Leonard (4th), Catherine Viz (8th) and Andrea Burnham (11th).

The top five teams were Marist (26), Lemont (36), Jones (151), Andrew (152) and Marian Catholic (199). Marist also won invitational titles this year at Reavis and Tinley Park.

“The last couple years we were trying to run and do really well, and this year we’re just trying to train and we’re doing really well,’’ Marist coach Pat Quinn said.

Lemont also had four runners in the top 10 — Claire Gagen (3rd), Taylor Campos (5th), Gabby Voltarel (6th) and Lindsey Mazur (9th).



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