Girls cross country: Batavia's Schlenker, Rosary's Surtz take 2nd in state
PEORIA -- Katrina Schlenker and Lianna Surtz share something more in common than having the same hometown.
The two freshmen from Batavia finished second in state Saturday at Detweiller Park at the cross country state finals.
Schlenker was defeated only by Glenbard West superstar Katelynne Hart in Class 3A; Surtz, from Rosary, lost to Lakes' Brooke Stromsland in Class 2A.
"The race was definitely really fast," said Schlenker, whom Hart denied for her third consecutive individual state championship in 15 minutes, 59.82 seconds. "The strategy was to go out with the top group."
Schlenker charted the three-mile course in 16:07.31.
Between cross country and the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs in track, Hart has never lost to an Illinois athlete in a state series event.
"(Hart) is extraordinary," Schlenker said.
"She may be the greatest athlete in the history of Illinois," Wheaton Warrenville South coach Rob Harvey said of Hart.
"(Schlenker) met expectations in some respects and exceeded others," Batavia coach Chad Hillman said.
Girls country in the state ranks among the finest in the nation.
Naperville North won its third consecutive state championship over Yorkville, 80-87, in a scintillating battle between two programs ranked top five in the country.
But various local individuals have the distinction of being all-state.
St. Charles East sophomore Alice Abbott was ninth.
Naomi Ruff from South Elgin and St. Charles North freshman Rachel Price were Nos. 12 and 18, respectively.
Geneva top gun Sophia McDonnell was all-state in placing two spots behind Price.
Batavia, which was ninth as a team, also received a second straight all-state campaign from Mia Gianfrancesco (24th).
"It was my goal to be all-state," Abbott said. "I wanted to be in the top 10."
Stromsland turned back Surtz by less than four seconds as the prized Rosary freshman was timed in 16:35.55.
No other Rosary athlete had ever finished top 10 in program history.
"I was hoping to run faster," Surtz said. "I had a big PR, so I'm happy. I was happy to be second; I still have three more years."
"I'm not disappointed," Rosary coach Vic Meade said of Surtz. "She ran fast. It was a good day for Rosary."
Burlington Central was seventh in the team standings as Erin Jossart led the Rockets in 46th place in 18:33.
"I think it was our biggest accomplishment," Jossart said of the Rockets sweeping their two state preliminaries to qualify. "At the beginning of the season we knew this was the year we would be coming (to state)."
Kaneland junior Rachel Richtman also earned all-state recognition for a second straight time.
Following in the footsteps of her brother Matthew, the Class 2A boys state champion last fall, Richtman finished in 12th place.