PEORIA -- It was the worst time to have a bad fall in a race, and it happened to Kaneland's Victoria Clinton earlier this year.
The defending Class 2A champion was able to get back on the course following her hip injury, but she couldn't do for Kaneland this season, and especially Saturday in the state 2A race, what she had hoped to do.
But the junior was there, running, fighting, and eventually finishing 76th overall, 54th in the team competition with a time of 19:12. That was third on the team, but Clinton was genuinely happy to be there -- and to be running relatively hard again.
"I mentally just didn't want to give up the whole race, but to finish," Clinton said. "Your mind wants to tell you you're not doing good, but you have to stay positive, and just finish.
"It was not the race and the season I wanted, but I did what the Lord allowed my body to do, and this is what it is this season, no matter what."
Kaneland's Brianna Bower and Aislinn Lodwig preceded Clinton across the finish line, in 24th and 37th respectively, helping the team finish fifth, one point ahead of Chatham Glenwood. "Our team really worked well this season," Clinton said. "'Brees' was pushing it hard and 'Ace' gave it a kick in the end. And we'll be back. We've got one more year to show them what we've got."
The trend is up for Kaneland. The Knights were eighth two years ago and sixth last year. With Bower, Lodwig and Clinton all returning, next year could be the year to jump to trophy level.
Rosary took 17th in 2A, with sophomore Madison Ronzone (32nd, 18:24) its highest finisher.
Geneva, third in sectional competition, scored eighth in Class 3A, with Kathryn Adelman (38th, 17:54) leading the way.
St. Charles North's Ashley England was the highest area finisher, earning all-state honors by taking 11th in 17:20. The North Stars finished 17th as a team.
St. Charles East's Torree Scull also made all-state, coming in 18th in 17:25, 42 seconds off the pace of winner Mimi Smith of New Trier.
West Aurora freshman Taylor Truckenbrod finished 82nd (18:21). That was eight seconds back of Batavia's Dakota Roman who ran an 18:13 to take 66th.
Aurora Central Catholic finished 17th of the 25 teams in Class 1A, with the start of that race delayed 29 minutes by a power failure. That threw off the timing of more than a few runners.
"It was a little hard; you're not used to waiting at cross country meets," sophomore Karina Liz, the highest finishing ACC runner, said. "I was hurting a lot in the race, but there's nothing you can do about that."
Liz was 14th the first time by the finish line, but struggled in the last two miles, and placed 59th, in 19:10.
"Throughout the whole race, I felt I couldn't move my legs, and my back was always hurting," Liz said.