WW South team, Batavia’s Quintin Lowe claim DuKane titles – Shaw Local
ROSELLE – The Wheaton Warrenville South triumvirate of Sam Cruz, Josiah Narayanan and Nathan Virginelli has designs on returning to the mountaintop.
Four years removed from winning the Class 3A boys cross country state championship, the Tigers made the DuKane Conference meet a memorable regular-season finale Oct. 15 at Lake Park in Roselle.
Cruz anchored five WW South runners in the top 10 with his third-place showing as the Tigers bested city rival Wheaton North 33-50 for the league title.
St. Charles East, which denied WW South a second consecutive state championship in 2019, was third with 85 points.
Batavia, which featured the conference champion in senior Quintin Lowe, was fourth (95).
“I think we have a chance of walking the stage [for the team awards at the state finals in Peoria],” said Cruz, who navigated the Lancers’ East Campus course in 15 minutes, 29.6 seconds. “Where we really want to be is to promote ourselves to have a big pack in the front. I feel like I could have had a little more pep at the end.”
Narayanan and Virginelli tamed the trying climatic conditions to augment Cruz’s performance with back-to-back finishes in fifth and sixth. Aiden Noel and Colin Nelson did likewise for WW South at Nos. 9 and 10 to solidify the Tigers’ championship score.
Narayanan said the Tigers’ collective efforts were a continuation of their workout habits.
“We would like to work on packing a little bit more,” Narayanan said. “We have been practicing on packing. It seems to be working pretty well so far.”
Like Cruz, Virginelli provides the Tigers’ outfit with an indispensable degree of leadership as a senior veteran.
“[Today] shows that we are a pack team and are progressing this whole season,” Virginelli said. “We are making good moves.”
Eight of the top 10 athletes were products of the two Wheaton high schools.
Wheaton North had the runner-up in senior Caleb Youngstedt, who was exactly a second faster than Cruz in 15:28.6.
“I am really proud of my finish,” Youngstedt said. “I was struggling for the first half-mile. I was able to pass some guys in the end.”
The Falcons’ Aidan Murphy and Jude Hubbard also were easily within the automatic all-conference metric with their seventh- and eighth-place runs.
Lake Park (192) and Glenbard North (208) were sixth and seventh in the team standings.
In the aftermath of his first individual title since opening the season by vanquishing the Kane County field, Lowe said his consistency has been wanting.
But the Batavia senior is in line to redeem any regular-season missteps in preparation for the Hinsdale Central Regional.
The lead pack was as bunched as a jar of pickles one mile into the race, but Lowe was comfortably in command when the athletes entered the track for their final sprint.
Lowe bettered Youngstedt by more than a half-minute to claim his first conference championship in 14:56.5.
“Coming into it, I was just looking for the win,” Lowe said. “I have had some adversity this season.”
Mitch Garcia has the guidance of a former state champion teammate, Micah Wilson in 2021, to serve as his inspiration.
But Garcia is still searching for a commensurate degree of accomplishment to match his physical skills after placing fourth in 15:32.1.
“I am not at the place I want to be,” Garcia said. “This is not, unfortunately, how I wanted the race to pan out. I know I am capable based on workouts and time trials of trying to contend for all-state.”
Andrew Warcup was named to the 20-man all-conference team by placing No. 11 for fifth-place Geneva (112).