by Mike Slodki
ELBURNâ€”For the majority of the 2010 season, Kaneland girls cross-country has struggled to post a full lineup.
But there have always been encouraging developments. That came to a head at the first-ever Northern Illinois Big XII gathering on Saturday morning at Elburn Woods.
Kaneland finished fourth overall with 97 points, just two behind DeKalb.
Dixon (40) and Yorkville (46) took the top two slots. Geneseo, Sycamore, Rochelle, Sterling, Ottawa and Morris rounded out the top 10.
While Kelsey Schrader of DeKalb took the course with a time of 18 minutes, 42 seconds, Kaneland bore witness to a season-best day from junior Jen Howland, who posted a 19:20 time.
â€œThe beginning of the race was really good ,and I had my teammates right by me,â€ Howland said. â€œI felt really strong, and going up the hill my teammates were pushing me, and knowing they were working just as hard as I was really pushed me.â€
After Howlandâ€™s all-NIB-12 day, KHS saw senior Andie Strang finish in 13th place at 19:48.
â€œWeâ€™ve always been good about staying pretty modest,â€ Strang said. â€œPeople can get hurt so fast in cross-country, and this was a good race to prepare us for next weekend.â€
Sophomore Ashley Castellanos took 18th overall with an effort of 20:23. Teammate Kris Bowen also had a productive outing with a time of 20:54.
All four runners ran a personal best on their home course.
Awaiting KHS this Saturday, Oct. 23, is the IHSA Class 2A Regional at Kishwaukee College in Malta.
The meet, hosted by Sycamore, also includes Aurora Central Catholic, Illinois Math and Science Academy, Rosary, Burlington Central, Crystal Lake Central and Hampshire.
Photo: Jen Howland supplied her most productive day of the 2010 season at Elburn Woods on Saturday. Photo by Ashley Leonetti