STERLING – Dawson Smith noted the Hoover Park course was just a little muddy for the Rock River Run on Saturday morning.
That didn’t stop the Rock Falls junior from leaving everybody in his dust.
Smith crossed the finish line in 15 minutes, 30 seconds to take top honors in a 196-runner field that included many from larger schools. That made the win just a bit more sweet.
“This one, I just wanted to see how I could do with the better competition,” Smith said. “I wanted to see what I could run.”
The time sliced more than a minute off his sophomore effort. A year ago, he placed 13th with a time of 16:31.
This year, about a mile into the race, Smith overtook the leader, Yorkville’s Ivan Wescott, and didn’t trail again. Smith ended up winning by 8 seconds over Kaneland’s Daniel Occhipinti.
“I threw a surge on the downhill,” Smith said. “Coach was telling me to relax, but I felt good, so I just went with it. I was able to hold the pace.”
Rock Falls was eighth as a team with 205 points. The top five were Kaneland (67), Yorkville (75), Sycamore (108), Hononegah (116) and Geneva (120).
The Rockets’ other counting runners were Matt Laws (19th, 16:37), Devon Parker (59th, 17:34), John Cid (73rd, 17:49) and Javier DeLaTorre (82nd, 17:59).
Sterling was ninth as a team with 237 points. The Golden Warriors’ top five finishers were Mikio Martinez (20th, 16:38), Isaiah Moorman (27th, 16:46), Sam Brown (71st, 17:47), Sam Janssen (74th, 17:51) and Javon Bruce (76th, 17:52).
Eastland’s Stephen Reifsteck was 40th in 17:06.
Dixon’s Thomas Sitter was 88th in 18:13. The Dukes’ top runners sat out the race to rest up for Saturday’s Peoria Invitational.
Top 3 teams
1. Kaneland 67, 2. Yorkville 75, 3. Scamore 108
Winner: Dawson Smith, Rock Falls, 15:30