Lady Knights display Peoria power
Collective effort yields fifth place in Class 2A final
PEORIA, ILL—There may have been no individual state champ for the Lady Knights cross country squad in 2013, but the team-wide effort was still something to behold.
Detweiller Park in Peoria, Ill. was the site for the Class 2A State final race, and saw the Kaneland roster’s fortunes and talent produce a fifth-place team finish.
Kaneland was led by team assets sophomore Brianna Bower, junior Aislinn Lodwig and senior Victoria Clinton, who paced the attack to a 246-point finish. The Lady Knights were given tiebreaker advantage over Chatham Glenwood.
The Lady Knights looked up at only four other teams in the Class 2A setting, with Northern Illinois Big XII rival Yorkville’s 104 points nabbing the trophy, followed by Glenbard South at 130, Vernon Hills at 181 and Marengo at 231.
Yorkville’s program has now nabbed three titles in a row.
For Kaneland, the finish marks a one-place improvement from last year’s sixth-place and 180-point output. It marked a third-straight top-10 finish, with the team finishing eighth in 2011, and marked the highest team finish in 24 years. The Lady Knights’ pack time was 1:47 last year, compared to just 54 seconds in 2013.
The overall individual champion in the competition was Riverside-Brookfield senior Mailin Struck at 16:35, beating Peoria Notre Dame’s Maryjeanne Gilbert by 29 seconds.
For Kaneland, Bower finished in 37th place with a time of 18:33, Lodwig, only healthy in the last five weeks of the year, was in 54th at 18:59, while Clinton, last year’s individual champion, took 76th overall at 19:12. Rounding out the top 5 for the Kaneland outfit were necessary components Abby Shaw and Erika Carlson, with the freshman Shaw finishing in 19:20 for 88th, and Carlson capping her senior season in 94th place with a time of 19:26.
Also taking the course for KHS were seniors Sydney Strang in 126th (19:58) and Anna Piazza in 148th (20:16).
Coach Doug Ecker couldn’t have been more pleased.
“The mark of this team was their ability to overcome injuries and setbacks, having eight or nine runners step up in various races to cover for injured or sick teammates,” Ecker said. “They truly got the most out of their season. I enjoyed every minute of coaching them.”
KHS girls cross country says goodbye to seniors Carlson, Riley Coyle, Christina Delach, Kayla Hedgren, Piazza and Strang.
Photos by Mary Paulson