MOROCCO | Kyle Nurse sprinted through the chute Tuesday to finish first in the Greater South Shore Conference boys meet, and Wheeler's top runner then made a quick left turn to grab a bottle of water from a table.
"I feel much better," Nurse said after getting hydrated. "The only thing that was my problem today was not drinking enough water. It was tough closing out the last mile, but I came through it."
While Nurse quenched his thirst, his hungry teammates put the finishing touches on a repeat performance of taking the GSSC title with 21 points to outdistance runner-up North Newton with 46.
The Bearcats' runners finished first, second, fifth, sixth and seventh to grab the title.
"We have great coaching here," said Nurse, who trimmed 23 seconds off his winning time on the same course last year. "They build up our speed workout - they throw everything at us. When we're on the course, we tear it up."
Bishop Noll was third with 81 points, followed by Whiting with 95 and River Forest with 126.
"They executed really well," Wheeler coach Louie Guillen said. "The game plan was to run for place, and the whole goal is to get ready for the sectional next week."
Josh Hooks placed fourth to pace the host Spartans.
"Wheeler is just tough," North Newton coach Tim Loughmiller said. "You've got to give them credit. My kids ran very well, and they all had their best times on a slow course."
Wheeler made it a clean sweep, taking the girls conference title with 22 points. Whiting was second with 44 and Calumet was third with 59.
Kelly O'Shea defended her individual title as well, finishing the course in 20:56 to pace the Bearcats.
"I love the warm weather," O'Shea said.
"She's a fast kid," Wheeler coach Ben Kosal said. "She knows what to do every single race."
Calumet's Andrea DeGard was second overall in 21:21. Wheeler took four of the top 10 spots in an impressive showing.
"They ran strong, and they ran well," Kosal said.
DeGard, who finished seventh the past two years, was happy to finish second to O'Shea.
"I feel great," said DeGard, who's never beaten O'Shea. "That's a real big accomplishment."