by Keith Beebe
Peoriaâ€”A two-year layoff from cross-country running didn’t seem to have much of an effect on Kaneland High School’s Jen Howland at the IHSA 2A State Final on Saturday in Peoria.
Howland, a world-class triathlete who competed in the International Triathlon Union’s Women’s Junior World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, last September, finished in 51st place with a season-best time of 18:26.
â€œFor someone who had not run high school cross country (in) over two years, I would say she did a great job,â€ KHS Coach Doug Ecker said. â€œShe only started practicing with us the last week (of) September (and had) only five to six weeks of practice and limited meet experience.â€
Howland missed the last two cross-country seasons because of injuries, including two broken legs brought on by stress fractures in her shins in 2009.
Photo: Kanelandâ€™s Jen Howland (880) finished 51st at Saturdayâ€™s IHSA State Cross Country meet. In what is considered the fastest race in the history of the state meet, Howlandâ€™s time of 18:26 would have been good enough for All-State last season. Photo by Linda Bell