Girls cross country: Glenbard West's Allman makes the most of her summer
Glenbard West junior cross country runner Audrey Allman has quite the summer vacation story to tell.
Allman, 18th and all-state in Class 3A a year ago as part of the Hilltoppers' sixth-place state team, trained for almost the entire month of July at the renowned Team Prep USA running camp in Crested Butte, Colorado, located south of Aspen in the western part of the state.
Allman was tipped off about the camp by former teammate and four-time Class 3A individual champion Katelynne Hart (now at the University of Michigan).
"Training in Colorado not only helped me develop physically as a runner, but mentally as well," Allman said. "I have struggled in the past with injuries and sickness. This year I want to come back stronger and make myself better."
Allman said she was a bit surprised the camp still took place given the COVID-19 situation, but reported that safety and hygiene protocols were top-notch. "We all had to get tested -- as in get the antibody test," she said. "We stayed there close to a month. We were socially distanced and had to stay within a specific group. The put us in groups of 10 and that's the way the camp was able to be run. They made sure we were quarantined. It was amazing. I am so thankful I was able to go. Everything worked out."
With COVID-19 changing the high school cross country landscape this fall, Allman is focusing on her health. "Obviously we don't really know how these meets are going to work out," she said. "I want to focus on staying healthy and making it through a whole season. I want to feel my best both mentally and physically. Last year I was sick during the season and freshman year I had a stress fracture. I have never had a full, healthy cross country season. That's what I am hoping for this year. I am making sure my training has a lot of variety with biking, swimming and weights and all that. I am making sure all parts of my body stay healthy, and that I am taking care of myself by eating better and getting good sleep."
Allman is also ready to take more of a leadership role for Glenbard West this fall. "Katelynne Hart was an amazing leader not only because of the times she ran but because of the example she set. I know the coaches have talked to me about stepping up and I am excited to do it. We can have a good year if everybody stays healthy and we all feel good."
Glenbard West update
Coach Paul Hass provided an inside look as to how Glenbard West will run a home dual meet. For all home meets at Camera Park in Glendale Heights, three races will be run (varsity, JV1 and JV2) staggered 1:45 apart. No warmups are allowed on the course and athletes must have masks on for run-outs and when at the starting line, but masks are not required once the race begins.
The starting line is 120 feet long with the hope to get 8-10 kids on the line per team with athletes maintaining 6-foot distance. A second starting line will be behind, 10 feet back for the remaining athletes in the race. Per West Suburban Conference guidelines, no spectators on the course and the race is limited to a maximum of 20 athletes per school for a total of 40 competitors.
The finish line is 32 feet in length and will divided in half with the visiting team finishing on the right side and Glenbard West on the left side, each with 16 feet of finish line. The finishing area is open, with no narrowing of the chute.
Hass noted Glenbard West has been broken into three different groups to prevent against a widespread team infection should one girl come in contact with an infected person or contract COVID-19 themselves.
St. Charles East update
The Saints opened the season with a quad win against Glenbard North, Geneva and Lake Park -- all by 15-50 counts. While St. Charles East's Marley Andelman won the meet, coach Brad Kaplan noted the big story was the performance of Morgan Sandlund, who switched over from tennis and just missed winning the meet in her first cross country race.
Lakes recently recorded a Northern Lake County Conference win at home against Grayslake (15-50) with Brooke Stromsland winning the race by 82 seconds. Coach Travis Shepherd liked his team's 42-second 2-5 split for the 2-mile race. Shepherd also is high on sophomore Becca Runyan's progress. "Becca has taken her game to the next level," he said. "She put in a lot of miles over the summer and ran as our No. 2 athlete last week. In practices she pushes the pace and works extremely hard to keep getting better. It hasn't been easy to train the last drew months, but she is motivated to succeed and is thriving right now."
The Knights placed eight in the Top 10 in a recent dual against Hersey, led by the 1-2 punch of sophomore Hailey Erickson and senior Elena Barbaric. "Elena is vastly improved from last year," Prospect coach Pete Wintermute said. "She has the confidence and swagger of a senior. She knows this is her time to shine and has stepped into that role. Hailey made a commitment this summer to run and to become the best runner she can and the best teammate she can be. Hailey is ready for the next level. She has personal and team goals and continues to push her teammates each day."
In that meet against Prospect, Anna Harden had about a 25-second lead at one point, but missed the last turn to head into the chute and ran an extra 400 meters, coach Danielle Freeman noted. "She was leading by about 25 seconds and was only picking it up," Freeman noted. "She would have been close to the course record for 2.5 miles. We had some great performances by many of our girls."
In addition to Harden, sophomore Mackenzie Ginder also impressed at Prospect. "Mackenzie showed her summer of hard work paid off," Freeman said. "She looked fabulous as our second runner. She has been committed to not only improving herself physically, but mentally as well over the last several months. She is also equally focused on helping her teammates be the best they can be. The confidence she has built has made her a different runner."