Cross Country: Boys open season with win over Ottawa

Junior Josue Huerta ran Rochelle's fastest time during the team's dual meet against Ottawa on Wednesday. (Photo by Russell Hodges)

Hubs sneak past Pirates 26-33, Lady Hubs fall 21-36

OTTAWA — Wednesday marked the beginning of an interesting season for the Rochelle Township High School cross country team, and the Hub City harriers immediately faced a tough test at the challenging Catlin Park course against the Ottawa Pirates.

The Hubs placed four runners in top-6 positions during the meet, with junior Josue Huerta recording a time of 20:41 to lead the Rochelle boys over Ottawa 26-33. Sophomore David Wanner, junior Luke Orlikowski and senior Aiden Seldal grabbed the next three spots for the Hubs (1-0), finishing fourth, fifth and sixth with respective times of 20:56, 21:25 and 21:54.

“Luke has improved greatly in both his endurance and his speed,” head coach Mark Zilis said. “During the Ottawa meet, he stayed with our top group for nearly the entire race and finished as our third-best runner. I think Luke will be a big part of our team’s success this season.”

Junior Sara Johnson and sophomore Yuelma Ortiz finished third and fourth for the Rochelle girls, clocking in with respective times of 23:10 and 23:49. Ottawa fielded five top-7 finishers on Wednesday, allowing the Pirates to defeat the Lady Hubs 21-36. Sophomore Ahtziri Zepeda took eighth place for Rochelle (0-1), finishing with a time of 26:13.

“It was a fun way to begin the season,” head coach Mark Zilis said. “It was a challenging course with many hills and turns. The kids gave their best efforts and the boys won pretty decisively. Our first few meets of the season have gone very well for us.”

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