LAKE STATION | North Newton senior Jake Koselke certainly didn't come into Tuesday's Greater South Shore Conference quad expecting to run the best race of his life.
While the cross country course near Lake Station Edison High School was an easy course run mainly on concrete, Koselke shattered his old personal best of 19 minutes, completing the course in 17:40 to finish first in the field of 21 runners. Teammate Leo Espino (18:06) finished second, but the Spartans finished with 35 points, second to Whiting's 28.
"I was feeling good, but I felt like I could have pushed myself a little bit harder," said Koselke, who said he has been sick recently.
"Towards the end, I had a lot of energy."
Whiting's Matthew Lowe finished third overall (18:45) to lead the Oilers to the team win.
"In my four years, this is the first time, so I'm pretty happy with it," he said. "We're starting to build our team up a little bit. We've got five consistent runners. I'm always happy when I break 19 (minutes)."
On the girls side, Whiting's Citlali Lopez won the race in 21:39, giving the Oilers the team victory with 25 points.
"I just pushed myself," Lopez said. "I was trying to accomplish one of my goals of beating my (old) time (22:14), and I did."
Whiting girls coach Kevin Moynihan was pleased with Lopez' time, and knows she'll continue to improve as the season rolls along.
"She's been running since June, so she's got the mileage in," he said.
"Now she just has to get herself in race shape. Her third mile has been faster than her first. She's smart. She takes off a little bit slower and really steps it up on her second and third mile."
The Oilers have their sights set on the postseason now, knowing beating Wheeler for the GSSC title will be extremely difficult.
"We want to be competitive in our conference and get into the regional and see what we can do," Moynihan said.