RENSSELAER | Morgan Township senior Alec Kostelnik has a goal to back to the state meet, and his first step was helping lead his team to a historic finish Tuesday at the Rensselaer Sectional.
Kostelnik won the individual title in 15 minutes and 54 seconds, but more importantly, helped the Cherokees to their first sectional championship in school history, edging Kankakee Valley 43-49.
“It was also the first time we won our conference meet, too, so it was a pretty good year for us,” he said.
Teammate Ben Savage placed second, while Logan Redmond took fourth. Christan Durpe was 17th and Kyle Osborne 19th to round out the scoring.
“It was a complete team effort that was for sure,” Morgan coach Mike Grennes said. “They all worked together as a group and did a great job. Obviously, the top three ran well, but four and five did what they had to do to win the meet.”
Kostelnik, who placed 10th at state last year, said he ran harder than usual.
“I’m definitely gearing my workouts toward semistate and state,” he said. “I was going to run with Ben, but I just decided to run a little faster.”
K.V. put all five of its runners in the top 15, led by Bryce Gawronksi’s sixth-place finish.
“That’s awesome for us, and we’re happy with that,” K.V. coach Tim Adams said.
The top five teams and the top 15 individuals advance to Saturday’s New Prairie Regional.
Rounding out the top five boys teams were LaCrosse, Rensselaer and North Newton.
K.V.’s Michelle Kent won the girls race as expected in 19:51, while battling the lingering effects of an earache to lead the Kougars to a 47-61 win over West Central.
“I was pretty confident, but you still going to have that doubt,” she said.
Allison Rockley was fourth for K.V., followed in order by Brittany Stepp and Kaylin Orsburn.
“I’m very proud of them,” said K.V. coach Lane Lewallen, who noted the key was his fifth runner. “We put four in the top six, but Rachel Krupa saved the day. She was 35th with a strong time.”
Also advancing as teams were Rensselaer, North Judson and LaCrosse.