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Cross Country: Gomez leads West boys to fifth-place regional finish

West Aurora's Omar Gomez runs through woods his way second-place finish Saturday's Class 3A Regional. | Jeff Cagle~For Sun-Times Media

West Aurora's Omar Gomez runs through the woods on his way to a second-place finish at Saturday's Class 3A Regional. | Jeff Cagle~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: November 22, 2012 6:50AM

It’s always fun to run with a friend.

West Aurora senior Omar Gomez and Wheaton Warrenville South’s Nolan McKenna know each other well and found themselves sharing the lead midway through Saturday’s West Chicago Class 3A cross country regional.

McKenna pulled away to win the 3-mile race at Reed-Keppler Park in West Chicago in a time of 15:12, but Gomez’ runner-up finish in 15:24 helped the Blackhawks to a fifth-place finish with 114 points which advances them to next week’s St. Charles East Sectional.

“It was a pretty good race,” Gomez said. “He went out from the beginning and took it out hard. I wasn’t able to keep up with him in the last mile. It (being friends) makes the race a lot better.”

Naperville North scored 62 points to win the team title by eight points over Wheaton Warrenville South. Batavia also advanced as a team with 113 points — good four fourth place — and Waubonsie Valley finished seventh with 143 points to take the last team transfer spot.

Marmion finished eighth with 183 points and did not advance, but advanced four individuals as Kevin Grahovec, Eric Anderson, Eric Lifka and Liam O’Dea will all race next weekend. Also running will be Felipe Nino of East Aurora, who finished in 18th place.

Naperville North also won the girls title with 62 points, while Batavia (5th, 139 points) and Metea Valley (6th, 157) also moved on.

Kendall Cast finished in fifth place to pace Metea Valley.

“Fifth place is pretty good, I’m happy with it,” Cast said. “I wanted my team to go (to sectionals), that was the main goal.”

Waubonsie Valley finished eighth with 204 points and did not advance, but the Warriors will have three individuals at sectionals in Allison Wilson, Ashley Brunner and Kristina Chapman. West Aurora, which finished ninth with 214 points, advanced Claire Loran and Miranda Gollwitzer.

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