Justin L. Fowler/The State Journal-Register

Springfield's Nathan Hoffman, far right, leads his teammates from left, Joe Gough, Patrick Fitzgibbon, and Tyler Owens, on the first lap of the Boys 3 Mile Run during the Springfield City Cross Country Meet at Lincoln Park, Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012, in Springfield, Ill. Springfield's Nathan Hoffman won the race and Springfield's team won the team title.

 

Springfield High School swept the boys and girls races Tuesday in the City Cross Country Meet at Lincoln Park, bunching up its runners to take the team titles.

In the boys race, senior Nathan Hoffman led five Senators runners to cross the finish line 1-2-3-4-5, and SHS won the team title with the lowest number of points possible (15).

Hoffman finished just in front of teammate Tyler Owens in 15 minutes 55.59 seconds, followed by Patrick Fitzgibbon, Joe Gough and Heath Warren.

In the girls race, Sacred Heart-Griffin sophomore Meghan McClain beat Springfield’s Sophia Gullo by nearly 2 1/2 seconds, finishing in 19:17.62.

The Senators then took spots 2-6, beating SHG for the girls team title 20-40.

All this was just another race for Senators’ coach Dan Devlin.

“Today is just a practice, going out, running hard, time trial and see what can happen,” he said. “We always want to win the meet but we don’t want to stress it too much because conference is more important and obviously (so is) state. This is only a four-team meet. Plus it’s a weekday meet.”

Caught a break

Light rain began falling at the end of the girls race and held steady until just before the boys race started. While it was too late to prevent the hilly course from getting slick, Hoffman said the runners were lucky the rain fell between races only.

“It was raining quite a bit when we were over at the (starting line) but when we started the race, it pretty much went away, which was helpful because it is hard to run when rain is in your eyes,” he said.

With the Central State Eight Conference Meet just 11 days after the City, Hoffman said there is still much work to be done to improve times in preparation for conference and the postseason.

“We can get a ton faster. We’re just starting our speed work,” Hoffman said. “Once we get that in, we’re a top-three school and we want to take to take home a trophy at the end of the year.”

Pushing through

McClain, one of three sisters on the team along with Meredith and Bridget, had a rough start to the season.

After suffering a hip injury that forced her to take the summer off from training, she’ll take any win as a big step forward in her work to get back to where she was.

“I didn’t train at all this summer because I had an injury, so to be this good this far into the season is really a huge accomplishment for me,” Meghan McClain said. “I felt good. It wasn’t like I was pushing myself; I just wanted to win at the very end.”

Ryan Mahan can be reached at 788-1546.