Varsity Cross Country sweeps the Lake Park Sectional

Varsity Cross Country competed at the Class 3A Lake Park Sectional against 18 other teams this weekend and came out with a plaque and state qualifiers.


A. Berardi

Both the girls and boys Varsity Cross Country teams in front of the Lake Park track celebrating their state qualifiers and personal bests.

By Ava Berardi

The sun glared in the sky and the air began to turn stale and humid as the runners on the starting line prepared to begin their race. Chants and race motivation could be heard and coaches began to assemble their stopwatches.  

The starting gun was raised.


The boys and girls Cross Country Class 3A Sectional took place this year in Lake Park for the second year in a row. 18 teams competed at this meet on both levels, all hoping to be able to qualify for the state championship held in Detwiler Park in Peoria on Nov. 5. 

Among those hoping for a state qualification was Huntley’s Cross Country coach, Matthew Kaplan. 

The girls race began at 1:00 p.m. and the boys race began at 2:00 p.m. 

Among those leading for the girls race were seniors Breanna Burak, who finished 3rd, her sister, Brittney who finished 9th, and Molly Allen who finished 13th.  

“That race was hard, it was fast and the girls didn’t let up. It felt like this was a tough sectional and it was shocking to me when we were done and someone told me that we won.  I was absolutely shocked” Allen said, “I knelt down on the ground and cried because we only have one race left, and to win it….”

Honorable mentions from the race were juniors Guillermina Gimenez- Canet, 44th, and Ava Allison who finished 53rd.  

Even though the upperclassmen helped lead the race, the efforts of the two freshmen, Gabrielle Sweeney and Aspen Maldonado weren’t ignored, as both have been making huge strides at the varsity level. 

“Aspen and Gabby’s seasons have been very good for freshmen. Both have been improving every race. The postseason is all new to freshmen, but we expect them to be helping the whole group finish the year strong” Kaplan said. 

The girls finished 1st out of the 18 teams and are qualifying for the state championship.

The boys race was extremely anticipated because of the success the boys team has been having this season and how well they have been placing. As of recently, the boys came in 5th at the Peoria Invite, 2nd at the Fox Valley Conference, and 1st at the Harlem Class 3A Regional, which were top meets they have been focusing on. 

Among those leading for the boys race was sophomore Tommy Nitz, who finished 4th, senior Ty Rassumsen who finished 22nd, and junior Zach Zuzzio who finished 37th. 

Unfortunately, the boy’s team didn’t qualify for the state championship, but Nitz, Rassmusen, and Zuzzio qualified individually

The boys team has shown great depth this year and they are proud of their accomplishments this season as a team. 

The boys team finished 8th out of 18 teams and had three state qualifiers. 

Among those watching the Sectional meet, was Principal Dr. Belin, who was amazed by how well both teams did at the meet. 

“Words cannot describe how proud I am. I was telling someone about how proud I was to put on Huntley and be out here to support and show everybody out here that we’re coming and that just warms my heart as a leader of the building,” Belin said, “I can’t run, but I can always be there to show up.”