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Girls Cross Country State Bound

Cross Country
The girls posed before heading down to compete in the IHSA State Finals for Cross Country in Peoria.
Photo submitted by Thersa Gorey

 

Nov. 5, 2021 - The HS Girls Cross Country team walked the High School halls while students, teachers and staff cheered them on as they made a run for State at the IHSA State Finals at Detweiller Park, north of Peoria on Saturday, Nov. 6.

Coach Joe Lopez said they’re ready, “I have a quiet calm for this one. Everything leads to this, everything we’ve done. They’ve done a lot of the right things, been very coachable. They work together well, they’ve become close-knit - I think their best one is in front of them yet. They’ve shown what they can do, it’s 95% mental at this point.”

“They’ve come together as a team, especially from last year,” said Asst. Coach Colton Hanke. He explained how the teams make it to the next level, “Teams funnel into Regionals, then it’s top 7 for Regionals, and then 6 teams from Sectional into State.”

The prior Saturday the girls placed sixth in the Class 1A Oregon Sectional and qualified for State as a team.

Lopez outlined their strategy before the competition, “We have to really run our best race, everybody, top to bottom 1 through 7. Our split has to be down between 50 seconds between 1 and 5. If we can do that then our next thing is, we just have to get somebody in the top 30. If we get everybody between the top 30 and the top 70… anything is possible. If you’re number 5 is under 70 or 80, you got a trophy… If we don’t, there’s always next year. The best times are when you go down with no expectations and you come back and surprise people.”

Junior Hailie Shemek said they were so excited as each girl came in at the finish line last Saturday as they realized they were headed to State, “I cannot believe we made it to state, I’m so excited for us… I feel like a lot of it has just been mental. All the girls were all so close, this has been so much fun. We all just try our best - that motivates us - doing our best for the team.”

The girls finished 28th at state out of 30 teams. Sophomore Maddie Mathis led the charge with a 20:08 finish and placed 144/256. Sarah Gibson followed with 20:32, Beth Churchill with 20:33, Hailie Shemek with 20:38, and Addie Knox rounded up the scoring for the team at 21:59. Alli Nielson finished at 23:45 and Kayla Ann Cresap with 24:12. 

 

The team:
Madison Mathis
Beth Churchill
Haillie Shemek
Sarah Gibson
Addison Knox
Kayla Ann Cresap
Alli Nielsen