Prospect girls begin key stretch of season with MSL cross country title

Veteran Prospect coach Peter Wintermute said his state power girls cross country team loves the northwest suburban Busse Woods course.

"We've had a lot of good races here in previous years," he said.

Prospect senior Kaitlin Skelton would hardly argue.

"I love this course," she said. "You can see the whole course wherever you are and it's really good for cheering, too."

As usual, the Knights gave their fans plenty to cheer about at Saturday's Mid-Suburban League meet as they earned a sixth straight title.

Led by junior Veronica Znajda (17:29.48) who won the individual crown over Barrington junior Scout Storms (17:42.30), Prospect won the meet with a score of 33 to edge runner-up Barrington (35).

Hersey (71) took third followed by Palatine (134), Schaumburg (168), Fremd (176), Hoffman Estates (184),Rolling Meadows (215), Elk Grove (220), Wheeling (302), Buffalo Grove (338) and Conant (349).

"The biggest key was a bunch of girls just believing," Wintermute said. "We talked about that if someone felt good, 'you've got to go'."

And the Knights were on the go, placing three of their girls in the top four for the first time Wintermute could recall in the MSL meet.

Sophomore Meg Peterson (17:53.12) was third and senior Lily Ginsberg (17:53.62) wes fourth. Other Prospect runners earning all-conference honors were Skelton (18:52.75 for 12th place),

junior Ireland Wildhart (18:52.98 for 13th), junior Sophie Fransen (18:59.60 for 16th) and senior Bridget Derengowski (19:22.37 for 23rd).

"Meg and Lily were difference makers in the scoring, finishing third and fourth right in front of Barrington's No. 2 runner (Storms)," Wintermute said. "If that doesn't happen we might have a different ballgame in the final score. So hats off to those kids who are all state runners and champions for a reason. It was just self determination as they were fighting home down that straight-away for every point."

"We came into this meet knowing it was going to be a good race between Barrington and us," Skelton added. "And we knew that every place counted. So getting girls in the top four gave us less points and really helped in the long run, I'm really proud of my teammates."

And of course, that included teammate Znajda, who placed third this last fall in the MSL behind Hersey champion Ann Harden and Storms.

"It's amazing, I can't believe it," said Znajda who won the MSL frosh/soph meet as a freshman. "I'm so proud of everyone and so happy our hard work paid off and that we can show everyone what we are made of."

At about the mile and half mark, Znajda pulled ahead of Storms and never looked back.

"We did have a specific spot where I wanted to surge," Znajda said. "I just sort of set out to run my race. Once I had a chance to win, I just went with it."

Wintermute said if Znajda had a belief that she felt great on Saturday, then she was going to go for it.

"She was doing it for her team," he said. "And that was the most important thing. It was just Veronica having the guts to go after Scout, and she got the better of Scout. Scout is a heck of a runner. We know if we are going to beat her, we've got to be on our very, very best and Veronica gave herself a chance to do that. And that was huge in the scoring for us."

Wintermute also didn't want to overlook the importance of Skelton's performance.

"Kaitlin has been coming on like gangbusters for us in the last couple of weeks," he said. "Her being able to fill in that back end as our fourth runner, right there with Ireland Wildhart, is just huge in team scoring. It's just being able to get those kids fighting for every position."

Barrington's big second-place effort also included the scoring of freshman Mia Sirois (17:56.28 for fifth place), junior Sabrina Roach (18:13.24 for seventh), freshman Angelica Hil (18:45.81 for tenth), senior Kaleigh Burns (18:52.72 for 11th) and sophomore Abby Lewis (19:16.49 for 22nd).

Other all conference runner on Saturday were Hersey junior Margaretha Grabske (18:09.18 for sixth), Hersey freshman Alexa Izenstark 18:15.17 for eighth), Palatine junior Abigail Jordan (18:41.18 for ninth), Elk Grove junior Delaney Malone (18:54.24 for 14th), Hersey sophomore Elizabeth Waltz (18:54.51 for 15th), Palatine sophomore Monika Urbaniak (19:03.20 for 17th) Hersey freshman Sofia Donner (19:03.50 for 18th), Fremd sophomore Isa Hasty (19:03.58 for 19th), Hoffman Estates sophomore Maya Zabiegly (19:05.91 for 20st), Elk Grove sophomore Reagan Malone (19:10.52 for 21st), Hersey junior Madeline Bialko (19:23.14 for 24th) and Fremd freshman Adeline Dietrich (19:28.26 for 25th).

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.