Girls cross country: Barrington's Fitzpatrick, Prospect crowned MSL's best
Host Prospect showed strength in numbers at the Mid-Suburban League girls cross country meet on Saturday at Melas Park in Mt. Prospect.
The Knights placed seven runners in the top 15 in cruising to the MSL title with 44 points.
It was the Knights' fifth MSL title in 10 years and third in the last four.
"We had a plan and we executed," said Prospect coach Pete Wintermute of the Knights'title drive. "It was our home course and we were confident."
Defending MSL champion Barrington (70 points) edged Palatine (72 points) for second place with Fremd (103 points) and Hersey (109 points) rounding out the top five.
Barrington sophomore Molly Fitzpatrick pulled away from Palatine sophomore Anne Marie Jordan to secure the individual title, crossing the line in 17:32.
"It's awesome," said Fitzpatrick, who finished third in the MSL last season. "I was a little bit more nervous and little bit more uncomfortable than I normally am in races, but I knew all my teammates were pushing so I just kept pushing."
Jordan (17:46) continued a fine season by taking second followed by Barrington junior Alyssa Norris (17:59) and Barrington sophomore Anne Berquist (18:25).
After that it was all blue as the Knights secured 7 of the next 11 spots in rolling to the victory.
Prospect freshman Audrey Ginsberg (18:28) opened a few eyes by taking fifth place. She was followed by junior Emily Hubbard (18:30) and senior Julia O'Grady (18:32) who went 6-8.
"It's a really special feeling, like none other," said O'Grady of the Knights' title charge. "The key was just believing in each other. We've run this course multiple time. Just having the confidence we could pull through today."
And the Knights did just that with sophomore Annika Erickson (12th place, 18:44), senior Jenna Baltes (13th place, 18:50), sophomore Reese Lettow (14th place, 18:53), and senior Marissa Valentini (15th place, 18:55) stringing together a long blue line.
The key to the attack was the surprising performance of Ginsberg, who showed no fear in moving up throughout the race.
"During the second lap I felt really good and decided to keep moving up," said Ginsberg of her big run. "It's really fun since it's my freshman year and it builds my confidence."
"Pushing each other like we did today is really special," added Hubbard, who also had a big race.
Barrington seemed to be in good position especially with Fitzpatrick's big performance.
The Fillies' sophomore has definitely embraced her front-runner status and was in control from start to finish.
"Molly's not intimidated," said Barrington coach Deb Revolta of her sophomore star. "She learned a lot last year and she belongs up front."
Norris and Berquist also made their mark with their third and fourth place finishes.
"I knew I wanted to go out in the top pack and I knew I could finish in the top five," said Norris. "I was feeling pretty good today."
But the Fillies couldn't answer the Knights' firepower.
Jordan led the Palatine charge, hanging with Fitzpatrick early before settling for a second-place finish.
"I was just really trying my best and doing whatever I could for the team," said Jordan, who finished fourth in the MSL last season. "I tried my hardest to stick with (Fitzpatrick) as long as I could and I knew that by doing that it would help my time."
Senior Liz Lechowicz (18:39) added a ninth-place finish for the Pirates, with sophomore Ellie Roy (17th place, 18:59) and sophomore Mia Solano (18th place, 19:02) aiding the Pirates' drive.
"I think we all had strong race and we still have areas to work on," said Lechowicz. "Us, Barrington, and Prospect are all so close which makes it really fun, because it's really competitive."
Fremd junior Rebecca Markham (18:40) gave the Vikings a jolt with her 10th place finish. She was followed by junior Julia LaDuke (16th place, 18:56), junior Emme Beaupre (20th place, 19:03), and junior Marissa Ban (24th place, 19:08).
"We had a good pack," said Markham of the Vikings' attack. "We've been trying to keep our pack close and I thought we did a good job."
Hersey junior Katie Fredian (18:31) led the Huskies to fifth place. Junior Hannah Kersemeier (22nd place, 19:07) and junior Erin Barton (23rd place, 19:08) also aided the Huskies.
"We all did really well and pushed each other," said Fredian. "We found somebody in front of us to latch on to and pull through the race."
Hoffman Estates senior Nikke Rong (18:42) and senior Anna Miller (19:03) went 11-19 leading the Hawks to a sixth-place finish.
Wheeling senior Christina Pierini (19:07) ran to a 21st place finish.
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