PERU – Simon Thorpe could not repeat as the Northern Illinois Big 12 cross country meet champion, but he helped Dixon to a strong second-place showing.
Thorpe, a junior, finished fourth, and the Dukes had all five of their scoring runners place in the top 19. Dixon scored 59 points, finishing behind only powerhouse Yorkville, which won the boys conference championship with 27 points on Saturday at Baker Lake.
Thorpe was in contention the entire way, but came up a bit short. His time of 15 minutes, 23.8 seconds was 9 seconds behind winner Jake Hoffert of Yorkville.
Dixon's other scoring runners were ninth-place Cody Sondgeroth (15:46.2), 12th-place Roy Hummel (15:56.6), 15th-place Skylar Mitchell (16:02.7), and 19th-place R.J. Trevino (16:08.1).
Sondgeroth, a junior, delivered in a big way despite less-than-ideal cold and rainy conditions.
"That's a PR and, especially for a day like today, it's really good," he said. "I felt really good. I don't know why."
Sondgeroth is optimistic about the Dukes' possibilities the rest of the way.
"I think we're going to do really well in the meets to come," he said. "We're all still getting better."
Trevino, also a junior, had a definite goal in mind.
"I was going for a medal [top 21, all-conference finish]," he said.
Teammates helped push Trevino.
"Evan Grady passed me, and I was usually faster than him this year," he said. "Then, I passed him and I tried going after Skylar [Mitchell]."
Sterling's best finisher was junior Keaton Dir, who just missed all-conference recognition by finishing 22nd in 16:14.8. The Golden Warriors finished seventh in the 12-team standings with 172 points.
"That was my best time," Dir said. "We have some of the best teams in the state in our conference, so I'm ecstatic about that. I've been more focused on regionals and sectionals, but it would have been great to get all-conference."
Dixon coach Evan Thorpe was pleased with his team's performance.
"Four of our kids ran exceptionally well," he said. "Our top five runners all medaled. It's not out of the realm of possibility for us to go top five at the state meet."
1. Yorkville 27
2. Dixon 59
3. DeKalb 80
1. Jake Hoffert (Yorkville) 15:14.8
2. Marc Dubrick (DeKalb) 15:16.9
3. Luke Hoffert (Yorkville) 15:18.5