RPS runners sweep NIC-10 cross country titles

BELVIDERE – A pair of Rockford Public Shools runners ran dominant races Saturday to claim the boys and girls cross country championships.

Guilford sophomore Michelle Gasmund won the girls race by nearly 1 minute over Rachel Hilby of Boylan. Gasmund, who finished third in the race as a freshman for East last, raced the nearly 3-mile course in 18:29.20 to Hilby’s 19:22.88.

Gasmund was the first Rockford Public Schools girl to win the NIC-10 cross country title since Hannah Williams won it for the Vikings in 2006.

Gasmund is going to have some internal challenges in the years to come. Madison Harmsen of Guilford, a freshman, finished seventh. Auburn seniors Taylor Wartell and Isabelle Roethle took eight and 10th.

In the boys race, Peter Maculan of Auburn won the individual race, marking the fourth time in five years an RPS runner won the title. Maculan, who finished third last year, ran the race in 16:05.38, to beat Nathan Halbrader by more than six seconds.

He joins East’s Jordan Van Barriger and Noah Friske as recent cross country champions. Van Barriger won in 2016 and Friske came in first in 2017 and 2018. Maculan is the first Auburn winner of the NIC-10 title since Denis Baliga in 2007.

Although this was Maculan’s last conference meet, RPS should challenge again next year. Brandon Lawson of Guilford was the highest finisher among freshmanat sixth and Juan DelReal was the highest placing sophomore at seventh.

Posted on 10.19.20