The play list of champions: Barrington's Storms runs to a popular beat
In the movie, "Nyad," marathon swimmer Diana Nyad plays classic rock songs in her head to help her churn through the 103 miles from Cuba to Florida.
The technique works on dry land as well.
We asked Barrington junior Scout Storms, who won the girls cross country Class 3A state final race Nov. 4 in Peoria, for a brief playlist that helps the Fillies get through the 40 miles they run weekly.
"We listen to a lot of Taylor Swift," she said.
"We like Beyoncé, Rihanna. We have quite a mix, pretty much anything that gets everyone excited," Storms said.
Her top five: Rihanna, "Disturbia"; Taylor Swift, "I Did Something Bad"; Ellie Goulding, "Lights"; Usher, "Yeah!"; and Rihanna, "Pon de Replay."
"It's something to keep our mind off the actual running," Storms said.
Should they need further inspiration, from the Nyad age demographic there's Led Zeppelin's "Over the Hills and Far Away" and Rush's "Marathon."
With her run at Detweiller Park, Storms' time of 16 minutes, 38.46 seconds broke 2018 graduate Jocelyn Long's program record.
A three-time regional champion who won her first sectional in October at Busse Woods, Storms won Barrington's first individual cross country title, girls or boys.
Storms and the Fillies continue their season this Sunday in Terre Haute, Indiana, at the Nike Cross Nationals Midwest regional.
Humble beyond words
You just plain won't hear Matt Foster taking credit for his numerous accomplishments as a football coach.
He doesn't deny or downplay, but certainly insists credit's due his wife, Christine, children Luke and Ashley, and anyone else engaged in Foster's 35-year coaching career that concluded at the College of DuPage in the spring of 2020.
"I just threw the pass. Everyone gave me 10 seconds to do it," as he put it.
Quarterback is the most important position on the field, though.
The National Junior College Athletic Association recognized Foster's contributions Nov. 1, announcing he'd be the sole member of the NJCAA Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame 2023 induction class.
"I'm completely humbled and beyond words," said Foster, now working part-time for Freedom 1st Transportation, driving seniors and people with special needs or disabilities where they need to go.
"When I first heard this, the first thing that came into my head is it's the ultimate team award. I represent the players that I've coached and all my coaches and the families, the good Lord, everybody from the administration to the grounds crew. I just represent them, that's how I see it," he said.
Out of Illinois State, Foster was either assistant or head coach at Salisbury State, Central Connecticut, North Central College and COD, a Chaparrals assistant from 1991-96 and head coach from 2013-19.
In between all that he taught physical education at Wheaton North and led the Falcons to two state semifinals appearances. Foster graduated from Wheaton Central (now Wheaton Warrenville South), the Falcons' rival, in 1978.
Without getting in the weeds too much, with Foster on staff Salisbury State reached the 1986 Stagg Bowl, Central Connecticut had three straight winning seasons for the first time in a decade, COD set the NJCAA record for consecutive victories (36), and North Central enjoyed its first two unbeaten CCIW championships.
Key to Foster's NJCAA Hall of Fame honor is his leadership at College of DuPage. Maybe more off the field than on it.
Coaching the non-scholarship NJCAA Division III Chaparrals primarily against NJCAA Division I programs Foster went 44-22 with five bowl appearances.
His teams were 3-0 in the Red Grange Bowl, a showcase for the country's best non-scholarship teams. Foster was a driving force behind the bowl's conception - and its Glen Ellyn location.
A big goal of junior college coaches is to advance athletes to higher levels. More than 70 of Foster's guys played NCAA Division I football.
"Coach Foster means the world to me," said one of them, IC Catholic Prep graduate Lazerick Eatman, a senior receiver at Eastern Illinois.
"Numerous times I have sat in his office with him for more than an hour taking advice from him about life. He has taught me things that made me carry myself in a different way. Still to this day I text or call him when I am feeling down about something and he won't hesitate to help me out," Eatman said.
"If I'm wrong about something he will hold me accountable and tell me to do better. That is the kind of person you want around you. He brings out the best in everyone. I am honored to be able to say that great guy was my coach. He has truly made me a better man and I thank him for that as much as I can."
A traditionalist who expanded the Red Grange Award from Wheaton high schools to recipients throughout DuPage County, while at COD Foster raised more than $20,000 for Ronald McDonald House and earned a community service award for his players' work with the Western DuPage Special Recreation Association.
"You want to teach kids to be successful in whatever they do, if it's football, it's the classroom, or being great people. To me it's all of the above," Foster said.