(Updated at 9:30 a.m. Sept. 23)
Nobody was supposed to be trying to break records at the Vikings’ home invite on Tuesday, Sept. 21. Somebody forgot to tell H-F’s top runners, though.
In the boys race, Habtamu Epley, Dane Ivancevic and Denzel Lee finished 1-2-3 and each notched personal bests. They were at the front of the pack from the start, with Epley pulling away at about two and a quarter miles.
“It’s easier to stay motivated, if anything. You have your teammates right by you, it makes it a better race,” Ivancevic said. “Today was supposed to be more of a workout. I think Saturday we’re going to run much faster.”
In the girls race, Caroline Schoen didn’t set a new personal best but did break her home course record with a 17 minutes, 43 seconds. She was way ahead of the pack, running alone for most of the afternoon.
Schoen said improving her second mile time was the focus. It was a struggle because Tuesday she was only racing the clock. Second-place finisher Jadie Chavez of St. Laurence finished at 21:13.
“I wanted to be more consistent with my second mile today so I started out a little slower than normal. That’s been the hardest thing for me this season,” she said. “I think I’m going all out when I have someone pushing me and I just didn’t have that today. I know I could’ve gone faster. It’s really hard mentally when I’m by myself but I gave a good effort.”
Epley turned in the top boys time of 15:51. Ivancevic was behind him at 16:09 and Lee finished third at 16:42.
For Epley, it’s the second consecutive race with a new personal record.
“I guess I’m just mentally getting better at picking up the pace at the end,” he said.
Ivancevic, who usually posts times near or below 17 minutes, was trying to erase the memory of an 18-minute race in Minooka last week. He said he started out slow in that one and his race fell apart.
“My last race was pretty bad so I came out here with a little chip on my shoulder,” he said. “I think we’re setting ourselves up for a good end of the season.”
Lee cut almost 30 seconds off his time on an overcast day. A drizzle of rain was coming down as the boys race began.
“I love (when the weather is) cool. That’s why I love October,” Lee said. “I was just in the back, watching (Epley and Ivancevic). The first mile, I tried to stay with them but then I had to chill out because I didn’t want to burn myself out.”
The Vikings won the boys team champion plaque, as well, with 22 points. St. Laurence won the girls team race with 36. The H-F girls were fourth.
Emily Thompson finished third for the Vikings girls at 21:26.
“I think it’s important to come out and represent H-F because it’s our only home meet,” Schoen said. “It’s really important to make sure I make H-F proud and do it for the school.”