Girls cross country: Barrington's Fitzpatrick champ at Palatine
Barrington sophomore Molly Fitzpatrick certainly found the right gear on Saturday at the Palatine Invitational.
The Fillies sophomore took control early and then continued to separate from the field in rolling to title, crossing the finish line in an impressive 16:52 at Deer Grove East Forest Preserve in Palatine.
"It's awesome to win," said Fitzpatrick, who really lit it up in the second half of the race. "With so many teams and so many good runners, to come here and win -- I still don't think it's real."
Fitzpatrick ran to a second-place finish at the First to the Finish Invitational at Peoria Detweiler Park earlier this month and had no letdown on Saturday.
"I kept the same race plan," said Fitzpatrick, who hung with the pack for the first half of the race before letting loose. "I was going for a good time and I had a lot of confidence coming off the First to the Finish Invite."
"She's really strong right now and she looks good," said Barrington coach Deb Revolt of her sophomore star. "She's excited to race."
Lyons Township sophomore Kate Dickman (17:28) took third place propelling the Lions to the team title with 87 point in the 27-team field.
Barrington took second place with 151 points. Palatine sophomore Anne Marie Jordan also had a fine outing in taking second place in 17:24.5 powering the Pirates to a third-place finish with 163 points.
New Trier (166 points) and Prospect (183 points) rounded out the top five.
Junior Alyssa Norris had key role in Barrington's charge to second place. Norris (17:45) took ninth place to aid the Fillies' drive.
"I realized this year, not that I hadn't before, but the team is very important and you're not going to go places without your team," said Norris who did nice job of grinding out the 3-mile course.
Sophomore Anne Bergquist (18:23, 26th place) and sophomore Morgan Margo (18:35, 39th place) also aided the Fillies' attack.
"We just need to keep closing the gap," said Revolta of her team's performance. "If we do that I like the direction we are headed."
Jordan gave Palatine a nice boost. The Pirate sophomore finished seventh at the Richard Springs Invitational last weekend in Peoria and continued her momentum on Saturday.
"I've been working really hard in trying to stay strong in the middle," said Jordan. "I felt better running the race this week and felt more comfortable staying up front."
"It's been percolating for a while," said Palatine coach Joe Parks of his rising star. "She has just matured over the last year and she is motivated this year."
Senior Kate Lechowicz (18:17) and senior Liz Lechowicz (18:24) helped the Pirates by taking 24th place and 27th place respectively.
"I think we have a lot of work to do, but I think we are headed in the right direction," said Kate Lechowicz. "We are putting in a lot of work and it seems like it's coming together."
Senior Julia O'Grady (18:02) powered Prospect by taking 13th place to help the Knights secure fifth place. Senior Jenna Baltes (18:28, 31st place) and senior Marissa Valentini (18:34, 36th place) also contributed to the Knights' attack.
"I just wanted to get out fast and keep my eyes up," said O'Grady of her performance. "Definitely a confidence boost and just have to keep things rolling."
Freshman Emma Wakefield (18:14) took 21st place to lead Vernon Hills to a sixth-place finish with 188 points.
Sophomore Morgan Dieschbourg (18:03) and sophomore Maggie Mason (18:05) took 13th and 14th place respectively, helping Cary-Grove secure eight place.
Senior Emily Burns (17:45) captured ninth place for Lake Zurich, with Stevenson's senior Kendall Roberts (18:06) and senior Natalie Sorenson (18:15) taking 17th and 22nd place respectively for the Patriots.