If opponents were going to outrun Meaghan Gelinas, tire her out on the soccer field, they were likely going to lose.
Hands on hips, hunched over, out of breath.
And if foes were going to out-jump the Lake Zurich senior, they were going to land first, while she was still in the air.
Gelinas won head balls and won games regularly for Lake Zurich's soccer team the last three springs.
"Many of her goals this season were a result of her sheer will to get to the ball first," Bears coach Michael Castronova said. "She was the fittest player I've ever coached. She can run all day."
Indefatigable and inspirational on the soccer field, Gelinas, who was also a standout in cross country, is the captain of the Daily Herald Lake County All-Area team.
Talk about a great run.
"She has great skills on the ball and is able to pass the ball well out of the midfield," Castronova said. "We've won many games over the past three seasons because of her leadership and desire to win."
This season, Gelinas led Lake Zurich to 18 victories, a third straight North Suburban Conference title and sectional-semifinal berth. She was voted all-state after producing 14 goals and 11 assists.
She not only contributed offensively but defensively, as well.
Whether inside the opponent's box or in the middle of the field, Gelinas often outmaneuvered and out-willed girls for head balls, even though she stands only 5 feet 6. She was fearless.
"I'm just competitive in the air," Gelinas said. "I try to set up my body position and jump in the air."
She played basketball her freshman and sophomore years. In the fall, she was a leader for the cross country team for the last three years. She was the Bears' top finisher at the sectional in both 2011 and 2013, helping them earn a berth downstate.
"Since her sophomore year, you could see her leadership abilities," Claire Skowren, Gelinas' soccer teammate, said. "She would help others and give guidance. She's intelligent on the field and never gives up. You can count on her. She's always focused."
Gelinas is the same way off the field, willing to help others. Her teammates appreciated her leadership.
"She's very caring and supportive," Blair Coughenour said. "She's a great student. The best thing was how motivated she was for games. She's one of those people that you see play with desire, and she makes you play better. She has such a dedication and love for the sport."
"She's always been an impressive player and I've always looked up to her," Nicole Rasiarmos said. "She's an aggressive player that has a great eye for the game. She just brings out the best in everyone."
Gelinas will be off to Miami of Ohio in the fall. She has her sights set on playing soccer and studying accounting and finance.
Expect another great run, on and off the field.