Photo: Maggie Brundige was fourth-best for the KHS on Saturday. Kaneland girls and boys are both headed to State for the first time since 1992. Photo by Mike Slodki
by Mike Slodki
BELVIDERE, Ill.—All KHS coach Doug Ecker could have hoped for was a consistent and smart race by his girls cross country team.
That’s what happened, at the very least.
To compound the morning of sunny skies in Belvidere, Ill., at the home of the Bucs of NIC-10 fame, Kaneland’s 130-point, fourth-place total was good to send the entire team down to the State final at Detweiler Park in Peoria, Ill., this Saturday, Nov. 5.
Yorkville, at 67 points, was first, followed by Crystal Lake Central’s 70 and Dixon’s 113. DeKalb was the last team to qualify for Statehood with 140.
“I was really proud of them, and I thought they ran really well,” said Ecker on Saturday, who keyed the last half-mile as being integral to the Lady Knights’ success.
Now, after years of falling short entirely or sending an individual down to Peoria, Kaneland gets ready to load the bus.
A year ago, Jen Howland represented KHS in Peoria. Four years ago, it was Andie Strang qualifying in her freshman year.
CLC representative Sami Staples conquered the course with a time of 17:39.4.
DeKalb sophomore Kelsey Schrader, who was in the thick of things all season, finished second in 17:42.8.
For the Lady Knights’ attack, the charge was fronted by freshman Victoria Clinton’s 18 minute, 28.4 second charge.
Clinton, who took ninth in the crowded field, was always clear on what was needed for a successful race.
“I just knew I had to do the best for my team and be consistent, and I’ve tried to do that all season,” Clinton said.
Next in line was junior constant Abby Dodis, who finished 18th at 18:52.6.
Freshman Aislinn Lodwig took the third-best total for the Lady Knights, running in 19:04.5, 28th overall.
Junior Maggie Brundige was 37th, finishing in 19:18.5.
First-year cross-country entry Amanda Lesak was 41st at 19:24.4, and Ashley Castellanos was 71st at 19:48.8.
In 98th was Sydney Strang at 20:37.
Keeping the pack relatively close, the top four runners for Kaneland were just 50.1 seconds apart.
A year ago in the Class 2A finals, Peoria Notre Dame took the team crown, while Yorkville finished second, and Springfield took third.
Woodstock’s Kayla Beattie was first in 2010, at 16:22.
The girls’ race has a scheduled start time of 11 a.m.