Tuesday sports roundup: Third-ranked girls cross country team continues to roll
Published: Wednesday, September 12, 2007 - 12:06am
GIRLS CROSS COUNTRY
Highly ranked Illineks put plenty of distance between themselves and opponents
URBANA — The Uni girls, currently ranked No. 3 in Class 1A by Illinois Prep Top Times, easily won a home meet Tuesday afternoon at Illini Meadows, claiming six of the top 10 spots.
Michelle Mehnert outran her nearest competitor, teammate Shivani Khanna, by 55 seconds. Mehnert, a senior, covered the 3-mile course at the U of I Arboretum in 21 minutes, 25 seconds.
Khanna, also a senior, ran the course in 22:20. She was followed in third place by sophomore Elizabeth Russell (22:30). Junior Elaine Gu completed the Uni sweep of the first four spots by finishing just 3 seconds behind Russell.
Gu ran almost half a minute faster than Bismarck-Henning's Abby Albers, who placed fifth.
Isaure Hostetter completed the Illinek scoring with an eighth-place finish (seventh for scoring purposes, 23:19). Fellow sophomore Katherine Allen was right behind her in ninth (23:20). Senior Jennifer Roloff, the team's usual No. 5 runner, sat out again for the third straight contest as she recovers from foot problems.
Overall, Uni won the meet with 17 points. Three other scoring teams participated: Bismarck-Henning (second place, 64 points), Judah Christian (third, 72), and Paxton-Buckley-Loda (fourth, 81).
Two other schools entered runners in the meet but didn't field enough for team scoring: Arthur-Lovington and Notre Dame de LaSallette.
Next up for the Illineks will be the Tuscola Invitational on Saturday. The first race is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m.
BOYS CROSS COUNTRY
Boys finish strong second behind No. 3 PBL
URBANA — Competing in their second consecutive meet without top runner Malcolm Taylor, the Illineks placed second behind Paxton-Buckley-Loda in a home meet Tuesday at Illini Meadows — and they might have won if Taylor had been available.
The Panthers are the third-ranked team in Class 1A, according to the latest standings in Illinois Prep Top Times. Last year they placed fourth at the IHSA state finals. Their top three runners are back this season: Tom Pacey, Nick Brehm, and Felix Cardosa.
On Tuesday the PBL trio swept the first three spots, with Pacey running the 3-mile U of I Arboretum course in 17 minutes, 18 seconds, followed by Brehm in 17:29 and Cardosa in 18:00.
However, when Uni and PBL faced off last year on the same course, Taylor won the meet in 17:29. That didn't make much difference as PBL easily beat Uni 20-39. But this year Taylor's presence might have resulted in a victory over the formidable Panthers.
As it was, PBL won the Tuesday event with 36 points (1, 2, 3, 9, 21). Uni placed second with 47 points (4, 7, 8, 13, 15). A first- or second-place finish by Taylor probably would have reduced Uni's point total enough to translate into a win — quite a feat for a team that is trying to become the first Uni boys squad to qualify for state since 1997.
Uni's five scoring runners were senior Austin Rundus (fourth, 18:24), sophomore Nathan Smith (seventh, 18:55), junior Isaac Chambers (eighth, 19:08), senior Jacob Olshansky (13th, 19:31), and Carl Zielinski (16th overall but 15th for scoring purposes, 20:00).
Another strong Illinek runner, freshman Buck Walsh, did not compete Tuesday.
Finishing behind PBL and Uni were Notre Dame de LaSallette (third, 66), Judah Christian (fourth, 101), and Bismarck-Henning (fifth, 107).
The boys will see if their improvement continues when they compete Saturday in the always challenging Tuscola Invitational. The meet is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m.
Comets get payback, beat Illineks 2-1
OAKWOOD — Senior Jake Seeley scored with a minute left in the first half, but that wasn't enough as the visiting Illineks lost 2-1 to Oakwood on Tuesday.
The Comets took an early 2-0 lead in the nonconference game, scoring in the 9th and 17th minutes of the contest.
Senior Julian Hartman assisted on Seeley's scoring play. It was Hartman's first assist of the season and Seeley's third goal.
The Illineks are now 5-3-1. The loss ended Uni's three-game winning streak.
The Comets, meanwhile, exacted some revenge for a 5-1 loss they suffered against Uni in the first game of the season on Aug. 25.
Senior goalkeeper Isaac Radnitzer saw his shutout streak come to an end as well. He had gone three games without giving up a goal. He made 11 saves against the Comets, 7 of them in the second half.
The Illineks recorded 5 shots on goal, 4 in the first 40 minutes.
After the varsity game, Oakwood's JV played a short match against a team composed mainly of Uni's varsity substitutes. The teams deadlocked 1-1. Radnitzer, playing in the field while sophomore Nile Hamer took over the keeper's spot, scored for the Illineks.
Uni will play two more games this week, both at home. The Illineks will host Iroquois West on Thursday at the DCR Soccer Complex, followed by Danville Schlarman on Friday. Both nonconference games will begin with varsity action at 4:30 p.m.
Home debut ends in close loss to Normal Calvary Baptist
URBANA — After opening the season with 13 straight matches on the road, the Illineks finally played their first contest of the year at Kenney Gym.
The home crowd was enthusiastic Tuesday night, but Uni lost to conference opponent Normal Calvary Baptist in three games: 18-25, 25-13, 22-25.
The second game, Uni's only win, featured an impressive 10-0 scoring run to seal the victory. The game had been close throughout, with the Illineks holding a 15-13 lead. From that point on, Uni shut out the Crusaders.
But the hosts couldn't duplicate that feat in the final game. Uni held a 19-17 lead when the Crusaders went on an 8-3 run to clinch both the game and the match.
With the loss, Uni's record drops to 7-7 overall and 2-1 in the East Central Illinois Conference.
Last year the Illineks split their matches with Normal Calvary Baptist, beating the Crusaders in Normal but losing to them at Kenney Gym.
In Tuesday's match, junior Rachel Skoza led Uni with 9 kills, followed by senior Karen Woodley with 6 and senior Chelsea Freeland with 5.
Senior Ruthie Welch recorded 17 assists; junior Sheri Grill had 7. Freeland had 2 blocks, and Skoza added 1.
Junior Annie Machesky led Uni with 13 digs. Sophomore Michelle Wong had 9; senior Jamie Weiser had 3.
Welch scored 3 aces; Woodley added 2.
In junior varsity action, Uni raised its record to 3-1 overall and 2-0 in the ECIC with a 25-8, 25-15 victory over Normal Calvary Baptist.
The girls will play another conference match on Friday when they host DeLand-Weldon. The varsity-only contest is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.