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North Central runner John Crain’s plan almost perfect

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Updated: March 14, 2013 12:21AM



In the 5,000-meter run at the NCAA Division III indoor track championships last weekend at North Central in Naperville, the Cardinals’ John Crain was a man with a plan.

‘‘The goal for me was just to stay relaxed for the first two miles,’’ he said. ‘‘With about a mile to go, that was my plan as to when to take the lead and make it more of a strength race and see if I could thin out the field a little bit. For the most part, it worked.’’

It worked well enough for second place, the highest finish among athletes from Chicago-area colleges. Crain’s time of 14 minutes, 24.22 seconds was just behind the 14:23.36 by Haverford’s Chris Stadler.

‘‘With about 150 [meters] left to go, I thought I might be able to pull off a win,’’ Crain said. ‘‘But with about half a lap left, the Haverford guy came around me and wound up outsprinting me to the finish line.’’

Crain added track All-American status to the cross-country honors he earned last fall, when he placed sixth in the Division III meet.

‘‘Cross-country is more of a team sport,’’ he said. ‘‘In the 5K [last] weekend, I was out there by myself. That’s fine and all, but it’s a lot more fun to be out there with six other guys who are running the same distance. The team feeling is a lot more prominent.’’

North Central finished eighth with 17 points in a meet won by Wisconsin-La Crosse with 74. The Cardinals’ Josh Winder was fifth in the pole vault, Pat Foley finished seventh in the 800 and the distance medley team of Juliano Lodi, Abraham Oshpitan, Marlen Hamilton and Matt Muth placed eighth.

D-III rematch

Illinois Wesleyan won the regular-season men’s basketball championship in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin; North Central won the conference tournament. They split their head-to-head matchups, with No. 10 Illinois Wesleyan winning 69-61 in Bloomington and No. 3 North Central winning 87-83 in overtime in Naperville.

The Cardinals (26-3) and Titans (23-5) go at it once more Saturday, and this time the prize is a berth in the Division III quarterfinals March 22 in Salem, Va. The game is scheduled for
7 p.m. at North Central’s
Gregory Arena.

St. Xavier falls

St. Xavier finished 29-6 after losing 87-73 to Indiana University Southeast on Friday in the second round of the NAIA tournament.

In an 82-60 first-round rout of St. Mary (Kan.), Brad Karp scored 15 points to pass 2,000 for his career. He became the fifth player in any division to reach 2,000 in his first three seasons at an Illinois college, joining Trinity Christian’s Kevin Koeman, Bradley’s Hersey Hawkins, Loyola’s Alfredrick Hughes and Southern Illinois’ Charlie Vaughn.



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