A preview of the Upstate Eight Conference Meet from Michael Newman of DyeStatIL:
Upstate Eight Conference @ Sunrise Park, Bartlett
Girls – This meet usually is tight in the Girls race. With all of the “Valley” schools now moved to the DuPage Valley Conference, Batavia becomes the big favorite in this race with #20 Geneva challenging. Batavia looked strong last week in finishing second to Yorkville at West Aurora. The Bulldogs had a 58 second split off of #1 runner Emma Stephens in that race. They should have a good trio up front with Stephens, Dakota Roman, and Marygrace Golden challenging for a top five finish. Watch for the split to come down in this meet. Geneva has a good 1-2 punch up front with McKenzie Altmayer and freshman Sophia McDonnell. The Vikings have been running over a 2 minute split on 5 most of this year. That split will need to come down in order for them to challenge for the win. St. Charles East has been riddled with injuries early in the season but appear to be peaking at the right time. Anastasia Honea has stepped up as the #1 runner for the Lady Saints. The team had an 83 second split on 5 last week at West Aurora and could surprise in the second spot if their split goes under 70 seconds in this race. St. Charles North will have Audrey Ernst up front in this race. The North Stars will need to have Madison Kaufmann and Cassidy Joyce in the top fifteen in the race if they want to place in the top three teams. Glenbard East could be a surprise in this race if they keep their pack tight. Lexi Weltin and Maeve Brasil could be in the top 12 in this race. If the split stays under 60 seconds, the Rams might challenge for the top three.
The individual race will come down to Audrey Ernst, McKenzie Altmayer, and Emma Stephens. Ernst likes to push the pace early. It could be the difference on this Sunrise Park course that has a good hill before the first and second mile. It will be interesting to see if Altmayer and Stephens go up front at the beginning or wait to chase down Ernst in the final mile.
Boys – #9 St. Charles East should be the team favorite in this meet. Their pack, which could go as deep as seven runners in this meet, is lethal with a 20 to 25 second split on five their average this season. Mike Gerkin and Mark Sciurba are the front runners on this team. #21 Geneva is building towards a possible state berth this year with Tyler Dau leading them. They have been running a 5 man split near 40 to 45 seconds most of the year with a tight 2-5 pack behind Dau led by Brian Caskey. The Vikings need to get 2 to 3 runners within the pack with Dau up front to have a chance to win in this meet. Batavia, led by Shea Bastian, and East Aurora, led by David Galvan, could be challengers for the next two spots. St. Charles North and Bartlett are improving and could challenge for one of the top 5 spots.
West Aurora’s Connor McCue dominated on his home course last weekend at the West Aurora Stampede and should be the big favorite in this race. Tyler Dau should be McCue’s chief challenger. St. Charles East’s Mike Gerkin & Mark Sciurba along with Batavia’s Shea Bastian could challenge for a top five finish.
Good luck to all of the Runners!!