Mid to late October is usually a time for elementary and high school athletes to gear up for sectional and state competition in cross country. This year’s school year in Chicago was interrupted by a strike by CPS teachers, all but eliminating the end of the XC season for CPS students. This potentially included any chance to qualify for state competition.
Enter Chris Wilhite of Dick Pond Athletics and Tony Jones of MileSplit Illinois. The two hatched a plan for a special kind of meet just for CPS students – the Chicago City State Meet. The idea quickly took on momentum with Nike as a sponsor and local Olympian runner Evan Jager lending his support.
With only a week to prepare, a date was set for Thursday, November 7th at Wilson Track in Montrose Harbor. Word quickly spread and soon over 1700 runners from 5th grade through seniors in high school were registered for the event.
On Thursday night, races began at 3 in unseasonably frigid temps near 20°, with only the first run taking place in the daylight. Soon the lights were on and kids brought their best. Over 20 elementary and high schools competed in 1 mile, 1.5 mile and 3 mile races for boys and girls.
Even though last second negotiations allowed most CPS high schools to compete in sectionals the weekend before, many elementary and high school students still relished the opportunity for a final end of the season blowout competition against their peers. From the faces at the finish, it was clear kids gave it their all.
For 5th and 6th graders mile race – Girls winner was Alcott Run Club with a score of 81, first place winner Olivia Mauer posted a time of 6:22. Alcott also took the boys crown for 5/6 with a combined 96 but runner Obree Fischer of Skinner North XC was the first place finisher with a time of 5:30.
7th and 8th graders ran 1.5 miles. Xochitl Lopez of Mini CRR won individual for the girls with a time of 9:19 and Mini CRR won overall team with score of 27. Boys were lead by Porter Baginski of Hounds&Foxes with a time of 9:03 and WYAC taking the team price with a score of 34.
With a little extra warm up time on the far side of Cricket Hill, the high schoolers brought their best. Julia Benes of 700 South State won the individual 3 mile race with a time of 18:48 (, top team prize for the girls went to Addison St Harriers with a score of 60.
Finally, high school boys were up. Ian Bacon of Kettle T.C. broke the tape with a 15:09 and blazing fast 5:04 pace. Addison St Harriers also took the boys top team prize with a score of 23.
Dick Pond Athletics was founded to serve student athletes, and we were proud to be able to provide this opportunity. We’d like to thank athletes, parents, the Chicago Park District, the Chicago Police, Lakeshore Athletics Services, MileSplit Illinois and all the Dick Pond staff who came together so quickly to make the Chicago City State Meet possible. We couldn’t have done it without you.