Cross Country: Hubs take fourth at Matt Walter Invitational

The Rochelle Township High School varsity cross country team saw five individuals medal in the Matt Walter Invitational on Tuesday. Above from left to right are Declan McGee, Luis Hernandez, Thomas Koziol, Yuelma Ortiz and Annaliese Koziol. (Courtesy photo)

Five Rochelle runners earn medalist honors

GENOA — Rochelle senior Thomas Koziol always looks forward to competing at the Genoa-Kingston Matt Walter Invitational. Running one of his favorite 3-mile courses, Koziol turned in his fastest time of the season on Tuesday, when the Rochelle Hub varsity cross country team earned a fourth-place trophy finish while two Lady Hub runners medaled.

Junior Luis Hernandez took eighth out of 59 runners in the varsity race, clocking in at 16:40.34 while freshman Declan McGee finished 16th with a time of 17:43.18 and Koziol recorded a time of 17:56.43 for 21st overall. Senior Yuelma Ortiz medaled in 10th place out of 57 runners in the varsity race with a time of 19:45.56 to lead the Lady Hubs to a fifth-place team performance.

“I really enjoy seeing the growth I’ve made from my freshman season,” Koziol said. “I’m really proud that I ran under 18 minutes and I’m really proud of how we performed as a team. Our top five runners have really stepped up and our team has really come together. It’s one of my favorite courses to run. It’s a flat course, the w and there’s good competition so there’s always someone to look ahead and run after. It’s one of my favorite meets of the season to run.”

Sophomore Chris Hickey and freshman Elijah Mayen rounded out the top five varsity runners for the Hubs on Tuesday. Hickey finished 30th with a time of 19:12.25 and Mayen placed 49th with a time of 21:59.18. Freshman Annaliese Koziol was the second Lady Hub runner to earn medalist honors in the meet, clocking in with a time of 22.12.94 to take 24th place overall. The Rochelle Hub and Lady Hub teams will compete in the Freeport Invitational on Saturday.

“It felt really good to perform well, especially because I was able to compete with Tommy, who’s been a role model for me,” McGee said. “He’s always cheering us on and he’s always working hard, so being able to keep up with him was a great feeling. The inclines throughout the course were challenging, but we pushed through and the competition drove us to work harder. We have a very solid team this season. We have a great attitude and we work as hard as we can.”

Freshman Rose Luxton and sophomore Bridgett Ramirez finished 39th and 42nd with respective times of 24:45.09 and 25:15.12 on Tuesday. Freshmen Emely Hernandez and Mary Chadwick landed in 44th and 46th with respective times of 25:22.84 and 25:35.59.