State qualifiers! Three EPHS runners compete in IHSA cross country finals

Senior Khris Vicencio, junior Gabi Szado and senior Carlos Sanchez gather for a group photo before leaving for the 2018 IHSA Class 2A cross country state meet in Peoria.

Senior Khris Vicencio (left), junior Gabi Szado and senior Carlos Sanchez gather for a group photo before leaving for the 2018 IHSA Class 2A cross country state finals in Peoria. The finalists were joined on the trip by several teammates and coaches Patrick Sheridan and Kendal Ahlmann. (District 401 photo by Dave Porreca)


Three Elmwood Park High School runners competed in the IHSA Class 2A cross country state finals Saturday, Nov. 3, at Detweiller Park in Peoria.

Junior Gabi Szado and seniors Carlos Sanchez and Khris Vicencio earned their spots in the state meet based on their individual performances at sectionals the week before.

Szado, running in her second girls state meet as an individual qualifier, placed 182nd in Peoria out of 226 runners. 

She covered the three-mile course in 20 minutes, 30.75 seconds, for a split of 6:50 per mile.

Szado qualified for the state final by placing among the top seven runners from nonqualifying schools at the Class 2A girls sectional held Oct. 27 at Fenton High School in Bensenville.


Gabi Szado, cross country state qualifier, runs in the Metro Suburban Conference Meet.

PHOTO: Gabi Szado competes in the 2018 Metro Suburban Conference Meet, held Oct. 13 at Elmwood Park High School. District 401 photo by Dave Porreca (click image for larger view).


At the Fenton sectional, Szado finished fourth among individual qualifiers, placing 29th overall with a time of 21:18. The EPHS girls team as a whole placed eighth at sectionals. (Only the top five teams at sectionals advance to state.)

Szado previously made it to state in 2016, also as an individual qualifier. Then a freshman, she placed 70th overall out of 210 runners, with a time of 18:49.

In the Class 2A boys state meet, Sanchez and Vicencio both established personal records.

Sanchez, advancing to the state finals for the third time in his career, finished 84th out of 209 runners.

He covered the course in a new personal best of 16:01.28, for a split of 5:20 per mile. Sanchez now ranks as the 13th-fastest runner in school history.


Senior Carlos Sanchez heads to the finish line at the Oct. 27 Class 2A Fenton sectional meet.

PHOTO: Carlos Sanchez heads to the finish line at the IHSA Class 2A boys sectional Oct. 27 at Fenton High School. District 401 photo by Dave Porreca (click image for larger view).


This was the first time Sanchez made it to Peoria as an individual qualifier. His previous two appearances came as a member of state-qualifying EPHS teams. 

He placed 90th overall out of 210 runners as a sophomore in 2016 (16:02) and 162nd out of 209 as a freshman in 2015 (16:36).

Vicencio, competing in his second state meet, finished Saturday’s race in 115th place.

His time of 16:18.22 was a personal best as well, translating into a split of 5:26. He now holds the 28th-fastest time in school history.

Vicencio’s other appearance in Peoria came in 2016 as a member of the state-qualifying Tigers. In that race he finished 156th overall (16:50).


Khris Vicencio (364) gets out to a fast start at the Oct. 27 Fenton sectional meet. Senior teammate Tyler Ocampo is to his right.

PHOTO: Khris Vicencio (364) gets out to a fast start at the Class 2A Fenton sectional. To his right is fellow senior Tyler Ocampo. District 401 photo by Dave Porreca (click image for larger view). 


Both Sanchez and Vicencio qualified for this year's state meet by finishing among the top seven runners from nonqualifying schools at the Oct. 27 Fenton boys sectional

Vicencio was seventh overall at Fenton with a time of 16:27 (fourth among individual qualifiers), and Sanchez was 11th overall with a time of 16:48 (sixth among individual qualifiers). The EPHS boys team as a whole placed sixth at sectionals.   

The appearance of three EPHS runners at the state finals capped an impressive season for both teams. 

The boys won their first EPHS cross country regional title since 2012, while the girls advanced to sectionals for the seventh time this decade.

Congratulations to coaches Mr. Patrick Sheridan and Ms. Kendal Ahlmann, and to all the members of the Running Tigers!


Khris Vicencio (left), Carlos Sanchez and Gabi Szado gather for a group photo in the EPHS lobby before leaving for the Nov. 3 cross country state finals in Peoria.

PHOTO: Khris Vicencio (left), Carlos Sanchez and Gabi Szado gather once more for a group photo before leaving for Peoria. District 401 photo by Dave Porreca (click image for larger view).


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