On the fast track
Lockport’s Kiley, Lincoln-Way Central’s Parker pick up pace to win SWSC titles
So, whathas been learned in the SouthWest Suburban Conference fromahot day inAugust through a cool late afternoon in October?
Well, Lockport’s Wil Kiley is still the best cross country runner in the BlueDivision. And LincolnWay Central’s Jay Parker is still the best in the RedDivision.
But they both got quite a bit faster.
Kiley scorched the 3-mile course Friday at Lockport’s East campuswith a time of 14 minutes, 33 seconds to take the Blue title. Parker finished in 14:51 to win the Red.
In the conference’s Aug. 26 preseason meet on the same course, Kiley won with a 15:05.5 while Parkerwonwith a 15:49.4.
“Ohmy God, thiswas unbelievable,” Kiley said. “I just ran and wanted to win. We were at our house and it was a beautiful night to race. The sun came out and I knewitwas going to be something special.”
Kiley, a senior, has proven throughout the 2020 season he is the area’s most dangerous runner. He has no postseason experience the past two years because of injuries.
“I’m excited,” he said. “I’ve only raced against kids in this conference. It’s going to be fun to face some kids who I don’t know.”
This was a flight event, and the Red and Blue teams ran together in three races.
Parker was crowned the Red champion but finished behind Kiley and Sandburg’s Ismail Tineh, who clocked a 14:41.0.
“Itwasweird winningwith two people in front of you,” Parker said. “I really wanted to get them, but I just didn’t have enough real
estate at the end.
“It was a 30-second personal record so there is no reason to be unhappy with that.”
Sandburg took the Blue title with 25 points, followed by Lockport with 55, Lincoln-Way East with 68 and Bolingbrook with 76. Homewood- Flossmoor only had four finishers and did not factor into the scoring.
Lincoln-Way Central won the Red with 30 points, followed by Lincoln-Way West with 51, Andrew with 75, Stagg with 84 andBradley Bourbonnais with 108.
When it comes to team titles, Sandburg and Lincoln-Way Centralhave not been letting other teams have much fun.
In 16 seasons of the conference races, Sandburg has won 14 Blue championships, including the past four in a row. Lincoln-Way Central has won eight Red titles, including the last five straight.
Griffin Lehnhardt took third for Sandburg with a 14:53.7. Declan Tunney was fifth, Brock Rice was seventh and Ahmad Alhayek ended up eighth.
For Lincoln-Way Cen
tral, Caden Simone was second, Connor Lebeau finished fourth, Nolan Sams was sixth and Kurt Kreis took 17th.
Sandburg, ranked No. 4 in the state by MileSplit for Class 3A, is at next Saturday’s loaded Marist Regional.
Fifth-ranked Downers Grove South and No. 10 Hinsdale Central will join the Eagles.
Lincoln-Way Central will run at the Andrew Regional, where district rivals Lincoln-Way East and Lincoln-Way West could provide a challenge.
Lockport, which beat the Knights in a dual meet earlier in the season, is at Minooka, where No. 8 Yorkville figures to be the favorite.
In recent years, Sandburg could rewardits deep roster by allowing some of the second string to run in the regional and still enjoy success.
That will likely change this year.
“It’s fun — it’s going to be another good race since we don’t have a state tournament,” Tineh said about the abbreviated postseason due to the coronavirus pandemic. “It’s going to help us be so much better.”
Sandburg’s Griffin Lehnhardt (136) and Lockport’s Wil Kiley (115) take the early lead during the SouthWest Suburban Conference Meet on Friday.
Lincoln-Way Central’s Jay Parker is the first to the finish line for the Red Division.