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updated: 9/2/2014 9:44 PM

Fremd extends winning momentum

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By Michael Eaken
Daily Herald Correspondent

Fremd's girls cross country team is banking on a strong track season to spring the Vikings forward this fall.

Senior Ayaiko Higuchi took third in the 1,600 at the Class 3A state meet last spring, and the Vikings' 3,200 relay team also captured an eighth-place medal.

Fremd picked up where it left off, running to an easy 18-43 Mid-Suburban Crossover duel victory over visiting Buffalo Grove at Harper College on Tuesday.

"The momentum is continuing," said Fremd coach Joe Marcin of his team's march forward. "They definitely are starting to believe in themselves. They pay attention to all the small things, day in and day out."

Starting with Higuchi, who finished second in the MSL last fall before an illness put a drag on her postseason hopes. She came thundering back in the spring to pick up two state medals.

Higuchi (18:09) combined with senior Katie Escobar (18:37) as the two Vikings went 1-2 on Tuesday.

"We work well together," said Higuchi. "I want to go to state with the team."

Escobar will also be a big factor for the Vikings. The senior is just competing in her second year of cross country and is coming off a strong track season where she was a member of the state medal-winning 3,200 relay.

"The spring was a breakthrough for this team," said Escobar. "We have a lot of potential and state is definitely on our list."

Junior Nora Finnegan (19:44), senior Jessica Kopac (20:22), and senior Lauren Ciardiello (20:34) took the 4-5-6 positions to complete the Vikings' scoring.

Buffalo Grove junior Kaitlyn Ko had a sensational sophomore cross country season last fall, winning the MSL title and finishing seventh in Class 3A, but her track season was wiped out due to knee and hip injuries.

Ko, a two-time state medalist in cross country, is working her way back from those injuries and was not in top form on Tuesday but still flashed her potential by taking third place in 19:32.

"She's doing better," said Buffalo Grove coach Sarah Farrell of her junior standout. "But it is hard when you miss so much training. I'm sure it's frustrating for her, but we're taking our time. We're getting there and we still have our goals set high."

Sophomore Natalie Fitch (20:45) aided BG by taking seventh place.

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