Neuqua Valley boys cross country runs wild to win the regional title

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Naperville North is the host for the boys cross country regionals which features five DVC teams all looking to qualify for sectionals next Saturday morning. This highlight is sponsored by BMO.

The race is underway with 83 runners looking to advance themselves into next week and set new personal records. Metea’s Austin Brown leads in the early going with Naperville Central’s Tyler Browning just behind.

Tight pack right away

Runners make their way around mile one as it’s Neuqua Valley’s Zac Close and Downer Grove South’s Josh Poeschel in the one and two spots. Close’s teammate Robert Glenn is in third place with Browning and West Aurora’s Sean Heetland trailing close behind. Naperville North’s Ammar Bhanpuri and Glenbard East’s Mason Hephner battled for the sixth and seventh spot. Bolingbrook’s Hussein Almousawi is in eighth and is trailed by Naperville Central’s Patrick Clune, Nick Kamp and Max Henige. Waubonsie’s Zach Self is just ahead of Metea’s Rameez Abrar and Austin Brown, and Naperville North’s Jack Robertz and Austin McInturff from Waubonsie Valley round out the top 15.

Close still maintains the top spot, but not by much with Poeschel on his heels. Glenn with some distance to cover is in third place. Heetland with the bright green shoes keeps his distance with Glenn. Austin Brown passing a handful of runners catches Hephner closing in on the top 10.

The all-intense turn marks the home stretch as Poeschel gets the closest he’s been all race to Close. Browning is in clear space in third with Bhanpuri picking up the pace in fourth. Heetland surpasses Glenn as the runners look to empty the tanks for the final half mile.

We got a photo finish and Neuqua wins the regional

The finish comes down to milliseconds with Close and Poecshel sprinting to the end as the fans and fellow runners cheer on the intense moment. It’s Close with his newly hairless head that comes in first with a time of 15:10.40 and Poeschel with 15:11.00. Browing takes third, Heetland is in fourth Bhanpuri three seconds behind gets fifth. Glenn is sixth and Ethan Traugott is the second from Downers Grove South, Anthony Pastore is the third Wildcat. Samuel Rocio is first for West Aurora followed by Jack Robertz. Almousawi is the lone Raider for Bolingbrook finishing eleventh. Clune and Kamp are decided by 15:55.50 and 15:55.80. Abrar and Brown, who started the race together team back up for 15th and 16th for the Mustangs. Henige adds another strong time for the Redhawks, Aiden Massaro cracks the top 20 at 19 and Manuel Najera rounds out the top 20.

Neuqua wins the regional with a score of 56 to place themselves into the sectional in Hinsdale next Saturday along with Naperville Central in second place. Naperville North and Metea Valley also qualify as full teams along with West Aurora and Downers Grove South. Zach Self and Austin McInturff from Waubonsie Valley qualify as individuals.

For more prep sports highlights, visit the Naperville Sports Weekly page!