MOROCCO | Moments after the Greater South Shore Conference cross country meet ended, Josh Hooks sat on a cooler, finishing off the last few gulps of a Gatorade following an exhausting run.
North Newton's top runner was happy with his finish on Tuesday but knew it wasn't good enough to top Wheeler's Kyle Nurse and company.
"He had a little more gas in the tank than I did," said Hooks, who finished third behind Nurse and Bearcat Nick Cinko. "I got to the two-mile, and it hit me how hard he was running."
Wheeler outran everybody on the boys and girls sides to come away with both GSSC titles.
After Nurse (17 minutes, 23 seconds) and Cinko paced the Bearcats, teammates James Mills and Robert Theiss were fifth and sixth and Eddie Husen ninth.
"They've been working hard and working together," Wheeler coach Louie Guillen said. "It's all been coming together the last few weeks, and we're proud of what they accomplished. Today was kind of the culmination of it."
Wheeler had 23 points to runner-up Whiting's 57, North Newton was third with 86, followed by Bishop Noll (98), Calumet (119), Lake Station (134) and River Forest.
"It feels real good," said Nurse, who's battled some nagging injuries from soccer. "We've got a good team going. Everybody pushing themselves in practice, and we just have to bring it on to the course."
In the girls race, Wheeler's Kelly O'Shea and Abby Zeitler also finished 1-2, while Liz Mitten and Corey Ganz were third and fourth. Chrissie Beard was 11th.
"Every spot matters, every spot," said O'Shea, who finished the course in 20:31.
"It feels great because last year we ended up losing by one point for conference," Zeitler said. "It feels great this year that we know we have a solid team."
Wheeler totaled 23 points to Whiting's 42. Calumet was third with 83, followed by North Newton (92), River Forest, Lake Station and Marquette.
"That's sweet," Wheeler coach Ben Kosal said. "To have four girls in the top five is always special, but all the girls ran well, very well. We can't be more happy."