State Boys Cross Country: Illiana Christian second in Class 2A
By Tim Tierney For Sun-Times Media November 9, 2013 6:30PM
Nick Fienne, of Illiana Christian, helps the team take second in the Boys 2A Cross Country State Finals Saturday in Peoria. | Gary Middendorf/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 9, 2014 2:30AM
PEORIA, Ill. — Illiana Christian returned from the state cross country meet Saturday with a first for boys sports at the Lansing school — a team trophy.
The Vikings made up some ground toward the end of the race to claim the Class 2A state runner-up trophy by two points, 134-136 over third-place Vernon Hills. Yorkville (119) won the state championship.
“We knew it was going to be close,’’ Illiana coach Jim Piaskowy said. “The kids came through the last 400 meters. They took out 50 places that last 200 meters.
“Our No. 1 and No. 2 runners ran outstanding and our No. 5 runner, Tommy McGuire, stepped up big time.’’
Illiana Christian’s top-five finishers were Nick Fiene (seventh, 15 minutes, 4 seconds), Colin DeYoung (14th, 15:14), Tony Wondaal (35th, 15:38), Nick Wondaal (59th, 15:51) and McGuire (69th, 15:56).
Although the Vikings didn’t realize their goal of winning the state championship, Fiene said the disappointment won’t last long.
“I think it’s more important that all of our guys know they did the best they could,’’ Fiene said. “Hopefully, they left nothing back out on the course. If our best wasn’t a state championhip, you can’t be too disappointed.’’
“Fiene caught a couple guys at the end,’’ DeYoung said. “There’s pressure, but we see pressure more as opportunity. Everyone did their best.’’
The early pace of the race at Detweiller Park seemed to suit Illiana Christian.
“We usually go through the mile at about 4:50,’’ Fiene said. “That was a little slow, but it was right about perfect for us. I think I crossed the mile at about 4:52. That was OK. The first mile you want to run with your head and stay relaxed, don’t go out too crazy.
“The second mile you just try to work up the whole way and maintain that pace. I know I didn’t cross the 2-mile point until 10 minutes. I knew I slowed down, so I figured my teammates slowed down, too. But these guys are a great group of guys and I knew they’d gut it out to the end.’’
Mount Carmel’s Dan O’Keefe finished 32nd (15:35) to lead the Caravan to a 25th- place finish.
In Class 3A, Sandburg recovered from a less than desirable position during the race to claim seventh in the 26-team field.
Sandburg’s first five runners were Tom Brennan (42nd, 15:13), Will Becker (51st, 15:17), Greg Burzinski (63rd, 15:24), Sean Torpy (70th, 15:25) and Chris Torpy (72nd, 15:27).
“Those guys were buried and they just kept grinding and grinding and grinding,’’ Sandburg coach John O’Malley said. “Every time I saw them, they were further up. They ran awesome.’’
Lockport’s Will Giroux lost his footing during the race but still came back to claim 30th (15:07), just five spots shy of All-State status.
“I had a little tumble going into the triangle, someone clipped my shoe,’’ Giroux said. “Coach (Tom) Razo was saying in his eyes I’m All-State. I lost six or seven positions at least.’’