Even accomplished runners get a little anxious before big races.
That was case for the eventual champion in Saturday's Fox Valley Conference girls cross country meet in Woodstock.
"I was really nervous,'' said Jacobs champion Lauren Van Vlierbergen.
This track star loves running the mile in the spring. But she had concerns in this race, and their names were Maura Beatty of Woodstock and Lauren Opatney of McHenry.
"I was hoping I might win,'' Van Vlierbergen said. "It was a pretty nice day. In the first mile, I stayed with the pack and we took it out pretty fast. I was feeling good on the second mile."
Van Vlierbergen was the lone finisher to break 18 minutes. Her winning time was 17:53.3.
The winning team was Crystal Lake South. The Gators did not have a top 10 finisher (88). Crystal Lake Central was 1 point back in second place.
Cary-Grove finished third (90) and was led by fourth-place finisher Morgan Schulz.
Grayslake Central was eighth, led by senior Korina Gomez (14th).
"Our girls ran well today,'' said Grayslake Central coach Jimmy Centella. "And that was our goal. We ran a really good team race."
First and foremost, the delightfully-named Camryn Cowperthwaite is a soccer player. But it's perfectly OK that this Grayslake North freshman went out for cross country.
"It's my first year doing this,'' Cowperthwaite said. "And now I've fallen in love with cross country."
Cowperthwaite was the first Knights finisher, in 13th place (19:37.2), netting her all-conference honors.
She came prepared for her first conference meet.
"I made sure I got a good night's sleep,'' she said. "I had oatmeal and a banana for breakfast."
And then it was time to race.
"I felt really good in the first mile,'' Cowperthwaite said. "In the second mile, I made sure to keep up. I visualized today what my successes would be. I was only focused on the race."
Led by Cowperthwaite, the Knights of Grayslake North placed 10th.