LOWELL | Jasen Egolf found his motivation for today's Bob Thomas Invitational with a few clicks of a mouse.
For the first four weeks of the cross country season the Hebron junior was ranked below Highland's Jacob Baranowski on IndianaRunner.com, a website devoted to prep cross country in the state.
That alone helped Egolf set the stage for Saturday's race at Lowell.
"I wanted that so bad," Egolf said after winning the boys race in 16:30. "I was looking on Indiana Runner, and he was in front of me, all these guys were in front of me and I'm like -- I'm tired of this, I need to get going. I need to start training harder. It felt really good."
In the wind and rain, Egolf and Baranowski were shoulder-to-shoulder with a couple hundred yards left to the finish. As Egolf started the second of two kicks, Baranowski made too wide of a turn, unsure of where the finish line was, and came in two seconds behind Egolf.
"Just that finish got me upset," Baranowski said. "Didn't really know where to turn for the finish chute. I took it a little wider than I would have liked."
Munster won the boys team title with 45 points, led by third-place Tony Rigoni. The Mustangs overcame a bout with an illness that infected most of the team, coach Aaron Brown said. All five Munster runners placed within the top 14, as Grant Sepiol was seventh, Tom Bolanowski 10th, Brooks Platt 11th and Steven Burgwald 14th.
Hobart was second with 63 points and Hebron was third with 93.
"We were really much sicker on Tuesday than we were today," Brown said. "We're getting better. That's one of the things. That's probably the main thing."
Jordan Chester of Boone Grove could've gotten lost and still won the girls race.
She stretched a wide lead on the second lap to a 37-second win, finishing the 3.1-mile race in 19:03.
"I thought the rain would make me a little slower, maybe 19:30 pace," Chester said. "But I came out and I (dug) deep and let it go from there and kept running."
When Chester broke away from Hobart freshman Celena Guerrero (second, 19:40), there wasn't much Guerrero could do about it, she said.
"She's a very good runner," Guerrero said. "I didn't have enough in me today."
Hebron senior Jordan Hanaway finished third in 19:44, holding off Griffith's Taylor Austin for most of the race to run in the 19-minute range for the first time in her career.
"It really, really pushed me a lot because I know if she has a good kick she can get me at the end," Hanaway said. "And I'd be really really mad if I tried that entire race and she comes and gets me at the end. She was using me as wind blocker.
"She pushed me a lot. I was actually glad she was on my heels."
The Hawks won the girls title with 65 points. Kankakee Valley was second with 77 points and Munster was third with 97.
"Usually we try to pack them right together," DeFries said. "Last race we had five in the top 11 at Gavit.
"She'll be happy to know she didn't cost us the race."
T.F. South was the only Illinois team that participated in the race and finished 11th in both races. The highest Rebel to finish was Patty Stellfox, whose time was 21:38, and Jessica Fierce and freshman Brianna Heintz finished 50th and 54th, respectively.
"By the end of the season we're going to be in decent shape," T.F. South coach Steve Nelson said.