For a fleeting moment on Oct. 30, senior Chuck McLawhorn and his Lyons Township High School boys cross country teammates were concerned they might not have qualified for the IHSA Class 3A state meet.

Now McLawhorn is concerned how well he can compete on Nov. 6 at Peoria’s Detweiller Park.

McLawhorn was a team-best 13th for the fifth-place Lions at the Hinsdale Central Sectional, but he turned his right ankle slipping on the muddy Katherine Legge Memorial Park course and was unable to stand afterwards.

“I can’t move it without pain, so hopefully it’s nothing too bad,” McLawhorn said. “I’m excited to see what we can do at state. I think we can bring a strong message if we’re all rolling.”

McLawhorn (15 minutes, 45.74 seconds for 3 miles) and senior Finn Gallagher (16th, 15:49.30) were top-20, followed by sophomore Cillian Henning (36th, 16:03,26), senior Hayden Constas (44th, 16:11.02), juniors Aidan Collins (54th, 16:18.55) and Matt McGowan (71st, 16:36.63) and sophomore Nick Strayer (95th, 16:55.95).

The top seven teams advanced and LTHS came into the race highly ranked, but this also was the state’s hardest sectional with seven of the top-nine Class 3A boys teams and eight of the top 11 girls teams as rated by ILXCTF or MileSplitIL. 

The LTHS girls placed 11th as a team, but junior Catherine Sommerfeld (4th, 17:45.90) was all-sectional and qualified for the state meet individually by being among the top 10 finishers not among the advancing teams. 

McLawhorn continually thanked his teammates, especially Gallagher, for helping the Lions advance.

“I’ve got to say I’m glad my teammates gave it their all. I owe this advancement to my teammates,” McLawhorn said. 

“I’m improving so hopefully [at state] I can do better,” Gallagher said. “Being up by Chuck, even though he was hurt, gave me a lot of confidence. If it all comes together next week, I think we can do really well.” 

The other LTHS girls finishers were sophomore Shannon Cranny (34th, 19:07.65), junior Scarlett Lestina (52nd, 19:39.83), sophomore Julianne Melby (61st, 19:49.41), sophomore Anna Bylsma (79th, 20:18.17) and freshman Leigh Farrell (96th, 20:54.96).

RBHS boys advance team to state meet

At the IHSA Class 2A Fenton Sectional, the Riverside-Brookfield High School boys and Nazareth Academy girls advanced to state as teams and the RBHS girls qualified two individuals. 

RBHS sophomore Cooper Marrs (16:31.6) and senior Paul Proteau (16:41.5) were an all-sectional second and third to Marist senior Jake Phillips (16:18.8). 

Sophomore Jack O’Brien was 11th (17:08.8), followed by sophomore Hayden Marrs (40th, 17:56.4), junior Zack Gaynor (57th, 18:28.6) and sophomores Will Kallas (63rd, 18:41.7) and Brennan Lester (66th, 18:45.9). 

The Bulldogs’ 106 points third as a team behind Fenwick (59) and Kaneland (98), who were No. 6 and 9 in the final regular-season rankings.

In the girls race, Nazareth placed second (81) to Latin (61) and 10th place RBHS advanced freshman Gianna Gelb (31st, 21:26.6) and junior Bryce Pacourek (37th, 21:44.6) to the state meet as individuals.

Nazareth junior Collette Kinsella (4th, 19:36.9) and freshman Sarah Owen (6th, 20:19.) were all-sectional. Sophomores Hannah McCarthy (13th, 20:49.5) and Jane McNamara (15th 20:54.1) also were top-20, followed by juniors Taylor Lester (50th, 22:02.5) and Natalie Ereio (65th, 22:47.1) and Molly McNamara (84th, 23:46.4).

The other RBHS finishers were sophomores Maria Dalton (51st, 22:02.9) and Lily Kocourek (54th, 22:19.2), juniors Mia Wagner (71st, 23:13.0) and Joaliz Rodriguez (81st, 23:41.4) and sophomore Maiana Nelson (94th, 24:42.7).