Prospect's girls cross country team didn't start the season with a bang, but the Knights are certainly starting to sharpen their attack now.
Sophomore Ellen Siefke (19:20) and senior Brooke Wolfe (19:21) finished 1-2 leading the Knights to a hard-fought 23-34 Mid-Suburban League East victory over Hersey at Melas Park in Arlington Heights on Thursday.
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Prospect started the season by finishing fourth at the Fenton Invitational, then followed it up by taking sixth at a loaded Lake Park Invitational.
But the Knights showed their potential on Tuesday by coming from behind in the final mile to secure the victory.
"We're definitely not panicking," said Wolfe, a two-time all-state runner who has led the Knights to consecutive top 10 finishes in Class 3A. "We know how hard we've been working, and we're trusting it will come together at the end of the season."
"It's definitely coming," added Siefke, "We just have to keep running hard and we'll be there."
Prospect was missing Lauren Poplawski, its No. 2 runner, but the Knights were able to hold off a stiff challenge from host Hersey with junior Katrina Leeney (19:51) adding a fifth-place finish and junior Rachel Henk (19:55), Tara Stokes (20:06), and sophomore Hannah Getschman (20:10) securing 7th through 9th place.
"Hersey went out really hard and we weren't able to relax as much as we wanted to," said Prospect coach Dave Wurster. "I thought we pushed the middle mile really well."
And Prospect needed that with Hersey seniors Amanda Cortese (19:28) and Clarisa Cruz (19:29) pushing the lead pack before finishing fourth and fifth.
"We just wanted to stay with them and keep attacking," said Cortese. "We're definitely making progress."
Sophomore Halle Lyon (19:52) took sixth place for Hersey, and senior Sara Bayerle (20:18) added a 10th-place finish for the improving Huskies.
"We have a really good pack, and our girls are getting better every day," added Cruz.
Palatine 21, Barrington 38: Senior Tess Wasowicz (17:57) set the tone for Palatine by taking first and leading the Pirates to a 21-38 MSL West victory over host Barrington at Beese Park.
Junior Cassidy McPherson (19:01) and junior Jessica Lincoln (19:03) added to the Pirates' charge by taking third and fourth place.
Freshman Lauren Conroy (18:28) has had an impressive start for Barrington. The Fillies freshman finished 19th at the First to the Finish race in Peoria last weekend and followed it up by taking second on Thursday.
• Dave Cox contributed to this report.