STERLING – One down. Two to go.
Dixon senior Simon Thorpe won the individual title and led the Dukes to the team title at the Class 2A Sterling Regional on Saturday morning at Hoover Park.
Thorpe and teammate Cody Sondgeroth finished 1-2, and three more Dukes finished in the top 10.
“We came in with some goals. One was the individual title. The other was the team title, and we did it,” said Thorpe, whose time was 15 minutes, 33.2 seconds in his first regional wins since his freshman season. “Our goal was five in the top seven. We got close to what we wanted. That’s all we can ask for.”
Sondgeroth, who has been battling nagging cold symptoms, was just a few ticks beind at 15:35.4.
“I felt really good about my race,” he said. “I’ve been sick for like a week, but I did really good today.”
Dixon’s Austin Trevino (16:02.7) finished fifth, with teammates Evan Grady (16:20.8) and Skylar Mitchell (16:27.3) taking ninth and 10th, respectively.
The Dukes quite literally ran away with the team title with their 27 points. Sterling was a solid second with 58. They both advance to the Belvidere North Sectional on Saturday.
Freshman Jonathan Landis again led the way for the Golden Warriors, finishing fourth in 15:57.2. But he was far from pleased with his performance.
“It wasn’t very good,” he said. “The first mile I was going at my own pace, and I was leading. I was thinking, ‘Where is everybody? I’m not supposed to be doing this.’ And, that’s when I dropped back.
“I went out as fast as usual, but for some reason I couldn’t keep up that second and third mile. I’m happy with my place, but I’m not happy with my time.”
Landis said he’s run the Hoover Park course in the 15:20 range before. So, what did he learn?
“Don’t take the lead,” he said.
The rest of Sterling’s scoring runners were in a pack that finished 12-15, led by senior Keaton Dir, who was 12th in 16;38.4.
“We packed up really well,” Dir said. “We wanted to go out at a 5:15 [pace], and we let our freshman [Landis] do what he wants. We wanted to be ahead of Belvidere North. That’s the team we’re fighting with to go to state.”
The Warriors beat Belvidere North by 12 points.
Dir appreciates Landis’ contributions, even if they are a bit humbling.
“When you’re a senior, you don’t really want a freshman coming in and beating you, but he makes the team better, and he pushes us all,” Dir said.
The rest of Sterling’s pack attack included Zach Alston (13th, 16:40.8), Cody Lund (14th, 16:42) and Nick Olds (15th, 16:43).
Top 3 teams
1. Dixon 27
2. Sterling 58
3. Belvidere North 70
Top 3 individuals
1. Simon Thorpe, Dixon, 15:33.2
2. Cody Sondgeroth, Dixon, 15:35.4
3. Eryk Yunk, Belvidere North, 15:38.9