by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Regardless of what the rest of the season brings, Kaneland girls cross country runners can say they brought the best they had at their usual late-September stop.
At the Rock River Run, hosted by Sterling on Saturday, the Lady Knights finished second overall out of 14 teams.
Solidifying that place was the exceptional performance of Kaneland asset Victoria Clinton, who ended up winning the race overall.
Dealing with the three-mile course on a 52-degree day, the Lady Knights’ 65-point output was second only to Geneva’s 38.
Rounding out the top five were Belvidere North (102), Sycamore (136) and Freeport (185).
Kaneland was able to boast five runners in the top 21 overall, most notable the race from Clinton, who ran the course in 17 minutes, 44 seconds, laying waste to the rest of the field and winning it by a 36-second margin.
Freshman Brianna Bower continued her positive trajectory with a 10th-place finish by striding in a time of 18:58. Junior Sydney Strang finally took to the course after being felled with pneumonia for the majority of the season and finished 15th at 19:29.
“It was an excellent race for her, and she’ll only get better as the season goes on,” KHS coach Doug Ecker said.
Senior Abby Dodis finished 18th overall with a time of 19:43, while fellow senior classmate Maggie Brundige rounded out the Lady Knight top five with a 21st place finish of 19:49.
Kaneland’s frosh-soph team took third with a point total of 106, thanks in large part to Brianna Booton’s race of 22:28.
KHS sees its next challenge at the Pretzel Invite hosted by Freeport High School on Saturday, Sept. 29.