by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—It was the 36th annual Pretzel Invite hosted by Freeport High School on Saturday, but the only number that mattered was “1.”
That will go on the Kaneland High School girls cross country team’s mantle for the 2012 season.
With strong performances that have been no strange phenomenon for the KHS crew, the squad amassed 35 points by finishing with five of the top 15 runners.
Kaneland took first, while Rock Falls finished second with 56. Winnebago took third with a total of 63 and Boylan Catholic from Rockford was fourth with 87.
Sophomore Victoria Clinton beat the pack once again, garnering a first-place nod with a 17 minute, 18 second time, 22 seconds ahead of Winnebago’s Cheyenne Moore.
Next up for Kaneland was freshman Brianna Bower, who’s PR time of 18:50 was fourth overall.
“We did not have any expectations but we knew (Brower) was talented, likes to run, and works hard,” KHS coach Doug Ecker said. “(She) has a good mindset for running distance.”
Senior Abby Dodis was next for the KHS lineup, taking fifth at 18:58. Fellow Lady Knight runner Amanda Lesak was 12th at 19:33, while sophomore Aislinn Lodwig rounded out the elite five in 19:49, good for 15th.
Jessica Kucera placed 24th, Sydney Strang 29th, and Ashley Castellanos took 32nd to round out the varsity runners.
The JV-level Lady Knights also won their race, led by overall winner and first-year runner Erika Carlson, who won with a time of 20:41.
Kaneland varsity runners don’t suit up until Saturday, Oct. 13, for the Northern Illinois Big XII meet hosted by LaSalle-Peru.