LANSING | For Highland's Fanny Davalos, Saturday's Rich Dust Invitational was all business and no pleasure.
"It was very, very hot," Davalos said. "It was not a fun race. I cramped up today, so I did not feel like I did as good as I could have. When it gets colder out, it's so much better. This is the hottest meet so far."
Davalos finished in ninth place in the varsity girls run. Along with capturing the top three spots in the race, Oswego East captured the girls team title with 43 points. Ariel Michalek placed first in 19:00. Gavit's Stephanie Maman placed 20th in 22:04.
"It was hard to run in the heat," Maman said. "I was just motivated to get a trophy. I'm hoping to get my best time, and I want under 20. But this year right now, I'm not doing that, but I'm working to my potential. I want to work harder, and I don't care if it hurts I just want to do it."
The Whiting girls team took fifth place with 168 points, while Highland placed sixth with 170.
Tony Wondaal of Illiana Christian captured the boys race in 16:04. Wondaal ran strong throughout the boys varsity race, battling Luke and Louis Henderson from Rich South.
Officials were unable to determine if the time was a record at North Creek Meadows since the course has been changed over the past two seasons.
Teammate Matt Hall took fourth place for Illiana Christian in 16:30.
"I love the competition," Wondaal said. "I'm so glad there was other guys up with me and Matt to push us. Good competition. I'm very happy with today."
Hall was not too pleased with his fourth-place finish and hopes the invite will be a stepping stone to greater things this season. The Vikings boys captured first place in the team competition with 38 points while Oswego East finished second with 70 points.
"We had the Irish Conditioner on Wednesday, so I was running pretty hard at that meet," Hall said. "I think that's the thing that kind of hurt me today. I didn't feel as comfortable today."
The Henderson brothers of Rich South captured second and third while Bloom Township's Jacob Hernandez captured fifth in 16:31. Hernandez struggled throughout the race with footing, and the extreme heat had a definite effect on overall times. Many runners also felt it was still early in the season, and times will drop as the season goes along. The Whiting boys finished in 10th place with 304 points.
"I slid down a couple of times," Hernandez said. "Once you stop completely, you have to build it right back up, and that's just as hard at the same pace. I had to build it up like three times in the race. I got fifth in the end. It's not what I wanted to get, but I still plan on getting up to them in the next race."