Root, Chargers make move
For more on preps, click here to read Fred Kroner's blog.
FORSYTH – Ryan Root tried a new approach at Saturday's Big 12 Conference boys' cross-country meet.
He might want to stick with it during the upcoming postseason run.
Led by Root's second-place finish, Centennial finished a surprising second behind state-ranked Normal West at Hickory Point Golf Course.
"He's had a tendency to go out too fast," Centennial coach Greg Walters said of Root. "We said, 'You have to back off that first mile,' so he let four guys go today. It worked out beautifully. At 400 meters, he put the hammer down. He actually took the lead but said his legs quit two strides before the mat."
All but one Charger produced a personal best, including Root (15 minutes, 9 seconds). Evan White was fifth, Blas Garcia-Canga was 12th.
Walters said his Chargers are peaking.
"The team chemistry and leadership has been really good," Walters said. "Everything is happening right now that you want to have happen."
Jon Picchietta was 19th for sixth-place Champaign Central. Matt Cleveland was 10th for seventh-place Danville.
In the girls' race, Neli Crawford was sixth, Hannah Cuttell eighth and Audrey White ninth as Centennial finished third.
Urbana's Zita Hubler was the area's top finisher (fifth) as the Tigers placed fifth.
At Peoria. Chelsea Blaase was fourth and Jolee Paden was eighth as St. Joseph-Ogden won the 29-team Peoria Heights Invitational at Detweiler Park. Sydney Long was 14th for the Spartans. Oakwood's Ciara Pierce was fifth.
In the boys' race, Georgetown-Ridge Farm/Chrisman's Matt Avenatti was 14th and SJ-O's Zeke Elkins was 15th. SJ-O was fifth in the team race.
At Lincoln-Way. Led by all-tournament picks Cori Harris and Melanie Moore, the Chargers (28-5) went 5-0 to win the 21-team Lincoln-Way tournament.
"You've got a 3A school coming to a big 4A tournament so, yes, it was huge," Centennial coach Stan Bergman said. "I feel it was a huge step for this group of girls. They really performed extremely well."
Vermilion County tournament. Bismarck-Henning and Salt Fork each went 2-0 to advance to Monday's championship match. B-H beat Salt Fork on Thursday.
"It's weird to play them again so soon," B-H coach Susan Kentner said. "At least we know our competition."
The Blue Devils were led by Courtney Reinken's play at the net and Lauren McKenzie's serving. A win Monday would give B-H a fourth straight 20-win season and Kentner her 300th career win.
"I'm not even thinking about that," she said. "I'm just thinking about the championship."
At Danville. Shawneis Jones had 25 kills and eight blocks as the Vikings went 3-0 to win their own tournament.
McKenzie Hodges had 45 assists, Bethany Zeigler 31 digs and Elizabeth Comrie five aces.
In girls' swimming:
Uni High 100, Eureka 80. Sian Best and Milee Nelson each won two events for the Illineks.
In boys' soccer:
Normal West 3, Centennial 1. The Chargers finished Big 12 play at 6-2-1 as Normal West pulled away in the second half.
Centennial (11-9-1) got a goal from Garrett Sommer and 11 saves from Andy Drackley.