Girls cross country: Teamwork pays off for Prospect
Why is the Prospect girls cross country team enjoying another strong fall?
Four-year varsity senior Annika Erickson didn't miss a beat when offering up an explanation.
"We mold together as a team really well," she said. "We all are very close and are running for each other. There is no competition to beat each other. We work together as a team and do the best we can. We all run very similar times. It's very fun to run with each other in races. When one starts to feel a little off, we push each other."
The Knights, as of midweek, were 5-0 in duals, which includes a 16-46 win over a short-handed Barrington team thanks to a 48-second 1-5 split and having the first four runners through the chute. A 15-50 senior night win recently was fueled by Erickson's first-place effort and, again, having the first four runners cross the line.
"The team is coming together in their racing strategies and pushing the middle parts of the race," Knights coach Pete Wintermute said. "The cohesiveness of the team is coming together and athletes are learning the pack is stronger than the individual. These girls come to practice every day with a positive attitude, enjoy supporting each other for a common goal of running for personal bests, and are an inspiration for each other. They are the emotional sounding board for each other as we roll through the ups and downs of a season and life."
Prospect also recently held a fun 3,200-meter race against the Knights' boys team on the track. Freshman Lily Ginsberg finished first with a blistering 11:13 time. Senior Elena Barbaric ran a 28-second personal-record. Senior Paige Runkle also had a strong showing, while sophomore Alivia Foley ran an impressive PR on the track that took off 4:49. She went from 18:49 last year to 14:00. Also excelling were senior Audrey Ginsberg, sophomore Cameron Kalaway, sophomore Haily Erickson and senior Reese Lettow. The top five Prospect runners averaged 11:15.2 for 3,200 and had a 4-second split with its first five runners and a 33-second split from 1-7. "This race was a display of what this group is capable of," Wintermute said. "They had seven personal bests. They ran with passion, grit, and most importantly, they ran for each other."
Erickson said the thought of not being able to qualify for the state meet as a team is disappointing, but the team is looking beyond that. "We are trying to take advantage of what we do have," said Erickson, who has been part of the last three Prospect Class 3A state teams. "We love going to state and competing in bigger meets, but we are focusing on what we can do."
The Eagles are 7-0 and leading the Northern Lake County Conference. Brooke Stromsland won the Wauconda dual by 95 seconds and the Grayslake Central dual by 55 seconds. Lakes beat Wauconda 23-38 (thanks to seven runners in the Top 10) and downed Grayslake Central 27-29 with six in the Top 10. Freshman Madison Twarling ranks as the 18th fastest freshman girl at Lakes, while classmate Paige Caruth was a key contributor in the Grayslake Central win.
Due to scheduling difficulties, the Royals have been calling the Harvest Christian Academy course in Elgin their home away from home this season, running it on a weekly basis, coach Vic Mead noted. Lianna Surtz now holds the Harvest course record and will have the opportunity to show her mettle at the Naperville North quad Friday. Freshman Vivian Wyller has taken 38 seconds off her best Harvest course time, while senior Julia Beltz has improved more than 3 minutes since her first crack at 3 miles. Mead noted 95 percent of the team had PRs in a recent Harvest outing.
Around the course:
At the Batavia/Mooseheart Quad No. 2, Olivia Parmelee was Batavia's top finisher, while Alexis Wasmund, Brooke Nazos, Maya Malay and Brooke Silbernagal also ran well. Coach Chad Hillman also praised the work of Lauren Hunecke this season. "Lauren has been tremendous," he said. ... Downers Grove North edged Lyons Township on a sixth-runner tiebreaker. Four-year seniors Melissa Jachim and Annie Bieda have been standouts this season. ... Crystal Lake South coach Ken Greenfield said sophomore standout Bella Gonzalez has again been excellent with freshman Abby Machesky also emerging on the scene. "It's exciting to watch Abby as she figures out how good she can be and gains confidence," he said. "She's improving by leaps and bounds right now." ... Lake Zurich is unbeaten in North Suburban Conference time trials with big wins over Warren and Libertyville. Sophomore Brooke Johnson (13th in the state in 2019) is undefeated, while junior Kristin Loftus, senior Hayley Burk and Ruby Lueras are having strong seasons along with freshman newcomer MacKenzie Bergfeld. ... Benet had a 29-second 1-5 split in a conference dual win over Marist. Elisabeth Camic (18:10) and Louisa Diamond (18:16) led the pack, followed by Joy Jackson, Emily Spellman and Amelia Parisi. Twins Kelly and Meaghan Andrews rounded out the varsity Top 7 pack. Coach Katie Paski said Spellman and Parisi have been key in keeping the pack of five as tight as possible. Huntley twins Brittney and Breanna Burak, and sisters Molly and Grace Allen, continue to be the Red Raiders' team leaders, coach Matt Kaplan noted. ... Colette Lampa and Anita Konopka finished 1-2 in Rolling Meadows' recent Mid-Suburban win over Elk Grove.