Wojcik at home winning regional
Elmwood Park's Rocco Lapore at the finish line on Saturday, September 22, 2012 in Northlake, IL. | Jon Durr~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 25, 2012 9:30AM
ELMWOOD PARK — For years, the cross country teams at Elmwood Park always had wanted to do what other schools had the chance to: the opportunity to host a postseason meet.
On Saturday that opportunity finally arose and the Tigers took full advantage, as the boys won the Class 2A regional meet and the girls finished third.
“Winning while hosting was fantastic,” Elmwood Park coach John Kingsmill said. “Because it was essentially a home meet, a lot of parents were able to attend, as were alumni. It was a community effort to make this happen.”
In previous years, Kingsmill said they had not been able to host for reasons such as lack of support staff and location, amongst other reasons. But this year that all changed. When the IHSA threatened to cancel the regional because nobody stepped up to host, Elmwood Park got the event it always had wanted.
“It was great because right after that was decided, both Lake View and St. Patrick both came to us and helped us with getting all the tags and pinning them to all the runners,” Kingsmill said.
For junior captain Juan Amadore, it meant a little more though.
“It was a great privilege,” he said. “It’s always great to race in front of your fans, it gives you a bigger drive. We know the course and that helped a long ways in winning,
“We have to give it up for coach. Because of him all these people (alumni, parents, neighbors) came out. They all love him and would do anything for him. It really wasn’t a shock so many people came.”
What made the win more sweet for the boys was that their squad does not feature any seniors.
“Normally you want to go with the experienced ones, because they’ve developed physically and are at peak shape,” Kingsmill said. “This year, the strength of the boys team is our youth.”
Amadore, who has been in the program for three years but is in his first year on the varsity, was honored when he was named a captain by Kingsmill earlier this season.
“I always try to encourage them and tell them the be ready for the race,” Amadore said. “It’s a big responsibility to represent the school and we always need to be mentally ready.”
The Tigers will have to be mentally ready when they compete for the sectional crown Saturday. One of their opponents will be Jones Prep of the Chicago Public League. Jones, a small school in the South Loop, is ranked No. 16 in the country and the top 2A school in the state.
“We’ve already made a listing of who the runners are going to be, how they’ve done against each other in previous meets and who they have to watch for next weekend,” Kingsmill said.
The Tigers boys team had three runners finish in the top five, including Ricky Wojcik, who won with a time of 16 minutes, 12 seconds. Rocco Lepore (16:49) and Lucas Kieffer (16:56) finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
The girls team grabbed third behind Resurrection and Trinity. Bridget Ziegler finished second in 19:38, just three seconds behind champion Elizabeth Molina of Lake View. Kelly Scanlon’s time of 20:08 gave her a fifth-place finish.