Cross country: St. Charles North, East Aurora champs at Elgin Classic

Wednesday, August 31 2016 - Ricardo Del Toro

updated: 8/31/2016 9:30 PM

Runners followed a slightly modified track around the park on Wednesday that ended with a new uphill climb to the finish line.

North won the girls varsity race for the sixth year in a row with a score of 39.

"We run our varsity and lot of other teams don't," said North coach Shari Hayes about her team's sixth victory. "We use this race to tell the girls what we're looking for in the way of improvement. They run hard and they run it like a race."

Audrey Ernst paced the North Stars, taking first place for the third year in a row. The junior, who finished eighth in last fall's state meet, completed the 3-mile course in 17:53, shaving seven seconds off last year's time.

"It feels great. I can't describe it," said Ernst about winning the Elgin Classic for the third time. "This race is so fun -- it's a beautiful park. This course is so challenging but I love it because I feel like this is a real cross country course and that makes it so exciting."

East Aurora's Ricky Del Toro took top honors in the boys race with a time of 16:19. The Tomcats earned 29 points by placing five runners in the Top 10.

"Our strategy was not to go out hard because we noticed that (Dundee-Crown) was going to go pretty hard out," Del Toro said. "We did try to pace ourselves as a group and go in the second half of the race."

"We really focused on the full team. The whole team got out really conservatively," said East Aurora coach Shane Gillespie. "We had about 10 guys together at the mile and they really moved up throughout the race and did a nice job."

Dan Hayes of Bartlett came in second (16:38) followed by Dundee Crown's Mark Jensen and Anthony Hurgoi, with identical times of 16:39. Del Toro's classmate, Gio Morales, took fifth (16:43).

Dundee Crown, which placed three runners in the Top Ten, came in second with 56 points. The Chargers were followed by Bartlett (81), St. Charles North (103) and South Elgin (121).

North Star Madison Kaufman also repeated as the second-place finisher (19:21) in the girls race. She finished ahead of East Aurora's Jennifer Lopez (19:30) and Arsi Del Real (19:31) and Coral McFarland of Bartlett (19:32).

Bartlett took second place in the girls race with a score or 57. Glenbard North earned third place (101). Dundee-Crown finished fourth (110) followed by South Elgin (115).