Girls cross country: Batavia places 9th at state finals
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PEORIA -- Batavia sophomore Mia Gianfrancesco made quite a jump this year.
Last year Gianfrancesco was the Bulldogs' third runner at the Class 3A state meet finishing in 104th place.
But Gianfrancesco capped a pretty special sophomore season by running to a 12th place finish and a state medal at the Class 3A state meet at Detweiller Park.
Gianfrancesco cruised the 3-mile state course, that was covered by an overcast sky, in 17:04 and in the process helped push the Bulldogs to a ninth place finish.
"I'm a lot more confident this year and I definitely found a new love for running this year," said Gianfransesco, who used one final push to secure her state medal. "I just wanted to do it for all my friends and teammates."
"That was a pretty impressive last 300 meters," said Batavia coach Chad Hillman of his sophomore runner. "She was knew she was better than last year. It kind of flipped where she knew I needed to be here and just did it."
Batavia, which qualified for it fourth consecutive state meet, was aided by a strong senior class including senior Marygrace Golden (17:49) who was the Bulldogs' second runner and finished in 50th place.
Golden was running in her fourth straight state meet.
"This year there was just amazing chemistry on the team," added Golden of the Bulldogs' run. "It gets more special each year because it just becomes part of a tradition and something you look forward to."
Glenbard West sophomore Katelynne Hart ran to her second consecutive Class 3A state title by pulling away from Evanston senior Enyaeva Michelin in the final mile crossing the line in 16:22.
Naperville North won its second consecutive state title with 87 points, with Yorkville (117 points) taking second and Lyons Township (184 points) earning a third-place trophy.
Wheaton Warrenville South (193 points) nipped Downers Grove South (194 points) for fourth place.
Kaneland sophomore Rachel Richtman came into Saturday's Class 2A state with a bit more experience and a lot more confidence.
Last year Ritchman ran to a state medal with an 18th place finish and the Knight sophomore was bit better this year.
Ritchman stayed patient in the first mile and then came on strong in the final two miles to secure an impressive 12th place finish for the Knights.
"I just gave it my all basically and tried to pass as many girls as I could," said Ritchman of her final surge. "I just wanted to move up as the race went on, helps me build through the race, it was fun."
Last year Richtman didn't really know what to expect but this year she definitely came in with a plan.
"I was more confident starting out a bit more conservatively," said Richtman. "Feels pretty good to get another state medal, I can't complain."
With Richtman leading the way Kaneland was able to secure an eighth-place finish aided by junior Grace Purcell (18:26) who finished in 43rd place for the Knights.
Dunlap ran to the Class 2A title with 72 points, followed by Belvidere North (95 points) and Vernon Hills (111 points).
Waterloo junior Jenna Schwartz won the Class 2A individual title crossing the line in 17:05.
Harvest Christian Academy senior Nygia Pollard looked to be in good position at the 2-mile mark of the Class 1A race.
Pollard, a two-time state medalist, was a pulling away from Eureka junior Emma Argo and seemed to be in position to earn the title.
But Pollard suffered an asthma attack with 800 meters remaining and gutted out a 24th place finish in 18:24.
"I just could breathe," said Pollard, who had to use an inhaler. "I felt really comfortable the first two miles and I felt I was in a position to win."
Pollard also suffered an asthma attack at regionals but able to pull out the win. This time it was a bit more severe.
"It's just really unfortunate," said Harvest Christian Academy coach Steven Bland. "She just looked so good for the first two miles and just had such a strong season. There is nothing we could have done differently."
Argo went on to win the Class 1A title in 17:34.
Tolono Unity ran to the Class 1A state title with 108 points, followed by St. Joe Ogden (110 points), and Monticello (181 points).
Harvest Christian Academy finished in ninth place with 274 points.