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updated: 9/3/2013 8:41 PM

Schaumburg's junior trio looks hungry

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By Michael Eaken
Daily Herald Correspondent

Schaumburg's junior trio consisting of Caroline Kurdej, Ali Gut, and Erin Falsey seem ready to put it together.

Last year each finished in the top 10 at the Mid-Suburban League meet, but took a step back at the Class 3A girls cross country state meet in a 22nd-place finish.

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This year, they're looking to finish the deal.

They got off to a good start on Tuesday, leading Schaumburg to an impressive 16-43 season-opening MSL crossover over host Hersey at Melas Park in Arlington Heights.

Falsey (19:37), Kurdej (19:43), and Gutt (19:52) went 1-2-4 pacing Schaumburg. Freshman Ellie O'Connell (19:47) took third place in helping the Saxons sweep the top four spots.

"They are close-knit and leaders for this team," said Schaumburg coach Jason Beer of his three juniors. "Last year we didn't particularly finish the season the way we wanted. They realize that and I think they are hungry this year."

It showed on Tuesday as Falsey and Kurdej pushed the pace through first mile and sealed the victory with a strong finish.

"Last year after conference we kind of fell off a bit," said Falsey of the Saxons finish. "We're becoming closer and closer, and I think we are working together better and we are ready to lead the team."

Kurdej finished second in the MSL last season and also took third at the Schaumburg sectional; she was slowed by an injury during track season, but is back up to par now.

"The whole team worked well together today, " said Kurdej of the Saxons attack. "We have a plan this season, and we're looking to put on the grand finale at state. We're looking to work together as one unit."

Senior Paige Schackelton (20:38) aided the Saxons attack by taking 6th place.

Hersey freshman Hailey Bowles (19:55) made quite a debut, sticking with Saxons leaders for the first 2 miles before finishing in fifth place. Sophomore Michelle Fugial (21:03) took seventh place for the Huskies.

"The first 2 miles felt good, but it was tiring," said Bowles who looked comfortable in her first varsity race.

Senior Callie Joncas (21:29) and senior Madi Lipowski (22:00) finished 9th and 10th for the Huskies.

"It was nice to see the two young runners start with some confidence, especially against a veteran team like Schaumburg," said Hersey coach Jim Miks. "The seniors kept fighting and kept the spirit which will be critical come October."

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