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Racing for return to state

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Racing for return to state

Thomas Tracey, Sports Editor

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Girls’ cross country is on the verge of greatness and is looking to qualify for the state meet for a third consecutive season.

Head coach Tammy Gummerson believes that ending the season well is most important.

“[We] are hoping to win the regional this year and qualify [for] state for the third straight year,” Gummerson said. “We are hoping to end the season at state with additional personal records.”

Senior Juliana Stogsdill is again the team’s top runner, and she is looking to finish out her last high school cross country season stronger than ever.

“The team goal is to qualify for state,” Stogsdill said. “[My] personal [goal] is to break seventeen minutes and get all state.”

The Aug. 25 Plainfield City Invitational Meet was not only one of the season’s first competitions but also a resounding statement for the team.

“We all really bounced back from the EIU showdown [meet],” Stogsdill said.

Senior Caitlin Russell also commented on the meet and how it impacted the rest of their season.

“One of our greatest successes this season would be earning nine out of the 10 medals in the varsity race,” Russell said. “It was exciting to see so much crimson in the medalist pictures.”

Another important and successful meet for the confidence of the team was the Peoria First to the Finish Invitational Meet on Sept. 8.

“The girls did very well at the Peoria Invitational in September,” Gummerson said. “All seven girls had season personal record performances, with many having lifetime PRs.”

Gummerson and the runners have plenty of optimism surrounding their roster, both in their top performers and the entirety of their team.

“[They] continue to improve each week [and] we also have a large team this year,” Gummerson said. “We have two new freshmen in the top seven-Aminah Hussain and Lauren Walczak. Andrea Ballard is new to cross country and is in the top 10.”

Freshmen Hussain and Walczak are just two of many underclassmen with high potential in the years to come, as they are already varsity runners in their first season with the team.

“This year’s team has a lot of young talent,” Russell said. “About half of our team are freshmen, and it is exciting to watch them improve throughout the season. I   can tell that they all have a lot of potential for the next few races and in seasons to come.”

Juniors Riley Frankel and Emily Bedford are also among the top runners, and they have shown continual improvement each season.

“We positively push each other and don’t put limits on what we can do,” Frankel said. “We have more confidence in our ability to race well.”

The girls will look to close out the year well and hope to fight for a third consecutive spot in the IHSA State meet in late October.

“Our team has qualified for state the past two years,” Russell said. “We would love to go back again this season.”

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Racing for return to state