Nov 26, 2012 - Jessica and Liz compete at Footlocker MW Regional
This past Saturday on the campus of University of Wisconsin-Parkside in Kenosha, Jessica Lincoln and Liz Cox competed in the Footlocker Midwest Regional Meet. Jess placed 61st overall (9th Illinois girl) in a time of 18:53 for the 5k course and Liz was 74th in a time of 19:01.
Nov 19, 2012 - Tess competes for Team Illinois at Mid-East XC Championships
This past weekend Tess competed as part of an Illinois All-Star team at the Mid-East Cross Country Championships in Kettering, OH. They competed against teams from the states of Ohio, Michigan, & Indiana. Tess teamed with former Sundling teammate Kelly Breen (Fremd), MSL rivals Brooke Wolfe & Lauren Poplawski (Prospect), and a crew of other Illinois' top runners. The girls placed 3rd as a girls team and second overall as a combined with the boys, with Tess running as Team Illinois' #2 runner. Tess was 18th overall in a time of 18:52, which is the 3rd best time for a Pirate at the Indian Riffle Park course. For a full write-up, pictures, etc. go to the Team Illinois site.
Nov 15, 2012 - Palatine XC Club finish 6th at Nike Cross Regional
2012 NXN Midwest - Decked in their purple & lime Peacock singlet's Madi, Liz, Cass, & Tess are off to good starts
This past weekend the Lady Pirates stayed together one more week to continue racing as a group at the Nike Cross Midwest Regional meet in Terre Haute, IN under the name Palatine XC Club, running as the Peacocks. After a tough state meet weekend the team was looking to bounce back with a good performance. We finished a very respectable 6th place in the championship race featuring top squads and state champs from the states of Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Michigan, and Ohio. As well, we brought a large group of girls down to compete in the open division race.
On a warm, but very windy day, Tess would lead the way in earning her second All-Midwest honors with a 17th place finish. The rest of the crew ran respectable races, but were too far back as a whole for us to score as low as we needed to content with the top five teams. Jessica was 46th, Liz had a bounce back race and was 79th, Cassidy was a bit off in 87th, and Amy closed out our scoring five right behind Cass in 89th. Madi and Sabina were well back in 158th and 169th respectively. Overall times were slow for the entire field as winds were gusting across the LaVern Gibson XC Championship course all afternoon.
In the open division we would finish in 4th place as a team behind Indiana state champs Carmel, Illinois State Champs Naperville North, and Ohio State Champs Mason. Jacqui would earn honors with her 6th place finish, while most the others would be garnering experience for the future on the challenging course. Megan (20th), Kelly O'Brien (21st), Naomi (27th), and Sam (38th) would round out the scoring for the Peacocks.
Overall, it was a good experience and hopefully the girls left with some lessons they can take into next year if they get the opportunity to return to Terre Haute. The girls did a good job representing our program and can now set their sights to track and building toward next fall. Good job ladies!
Nov 5, 2012 - Lady Pirates finish 5th at IHSA State XC Meet
2012 IHSA State XC Championships - Lady Pirates - 5th place
We entered this weekend's state meet with very high expectations and confidence in what we could accomplish. We really felt like the pieces were falling into place for us to not only challenge for a trophy, but even win this meet, if we ran up to our potential. Well "if" was the problem. We made some critical errors that took us out of the running very early and we were unable to make up for them as the race developed. There are really no excuses. We simply did not execute the race plan laid out and that is not something you can get away with when racing the caliber of teams at the Illinois state meet and expect to achieve your goals. In the end we would be 5th, well back of the top teams we should have been contending with and left the course with a big slice of humble pie.
It honestly took about 60-seconds into the race for me to know our goals for the day were likely unattainable. It happened that fast. It's like we fell asleep in the start box. I quickly ran over to approximately the 700m mark in hopes I was just seeing things wrong, but my eyes (and heart) did not deceive me. Outside of Tess, who was just about perfect being positioned in the top 20, we were absolutely buried in the field. My heart sank like a ton of bricks. My thoughts at the time were, "It's over!" I hoped someone else would give me some hope otherwise, but everyone I saw just shook their head or gave me a "it doesn't look good." For one of the first times in my life I lost motivation to sprint from spot to spot at an XC meet, hoping if I waited a bit longer for a race update we would have miraculously moved ourselves way up and I wouldn't have to bark out panic stricken orders.
Just after the mile I'd check again before the race entered the north loop. It did not look good. Tess was OK, but the others were not hooked up at all and were way too far back in the field, with little room to make up lots of ground. The meet splits pretty much tell the story. Scores showed we were in 14th place at the mile (likely worse at 800m). At the same time, eventual champs Naperville North and runner-up Lake Park were top two, each over 200 points ahead of us. Definitely not a gap we could make up unless they dropped severely back to us. We are good, but not that good. The story improved a bit over the next half mile, as we moved to 10th, but we were still over 70 points from the four teams we thought was our competition coming in, in NN, LP, Glenbard West and New Trier, who had each asserted themselves into the top four teams, where they would remain. At the same time we were still only 20 points from being back in 14th.
At two miles we had regained some ground and edged our way into 5th (still well back of the top four), but I can't help think about how much work we had to do to get there. Over the last mile we would drop our score even more, but would never sniff the top four teams, as they too moved up. Tess would finish well, running in 5th much of the way before giving in to the large pack behind her, but would rally a bit to secure an 11th place finish, her second XC All-State honors, in a time of 16:54, second best for Pirate on a historically blazing day. The others would move up the whole way, but their slow start would pin them so deep early, that I have to believe they gave up a number of spots at the end. Jessica would end up 33rd in 17:23, Cassidy was 52nd in a PR 17:38, and Amy would run 17:48, a huge PR, to place 64th in her first state meet. After the top four we really dropped off, Sabina moved well over the last mile to finish 130th in 18:26, Madi was 152nd in 18:42, and Liz was well off for the day finishing well near the back in 198th.
While most people on the outside looking in likely see our 5th place finish as a positive achievement, those of us who truly understand what took place on Saturday know that we did not run anywhere near our capabilities. That was the biggest disappointment. As I told the girls on Saturday, no matter where we placed, we cannot leave that race satisfied with how we performed as a unit.
Is it all doom and gloom? No, I'm an optimist and a realist, but this one really stings right now. Looking back this season we had many successes and while no season should be defined by one meet, at this moment for me, I can't but think that it will always be very tough to overlook the feeling I had on Saturday morning about 60-seconds into that race.
But hey, life goes on! We will return six of our top seven, plus a slew of hardworking underclassmen next fall. I only hope we don't lose the bitter taste we left with on Saturday afternoon over the next year. We can be better next year and we can get the job done if we band together and show up next year more focused.
I thank all you girls and the coaching staff for all the work you put into this season and for your tireless efforts put toward our commitment to excellence. I hope you all had a great season, learned lots, and are excited about where our program is going. Upward and onward! Go Pirates!
Annual Halloween Prediction Run October 29, 2012 - Deer Grove East RESULTS
Oct 28, 2012 - State Bound! Pirates win Schaumburg Sectional
Entering this Saturday's Sectional meet at Schaumburg the Lady Pirates had two goals, number one, of course, was to move on to the State meet next weekend at Detweiller Park in Peoria and number two was to work on running the type of team race we need to run in order to be in the mix of top teams when we get there. Mission accomplished. After last season's near disaster at Sectional, with Cassidy going down and us making it to state by the slimmest of margins (tied for the 5th and last qualifying spot) I expected a much better outcome this time around. That it was, as we executed a great team race in putting our top five in the top twenty-one overall finishers in scoring 70 points to better runner-up Barrington's 103 points to earn the 28th IHSA State Cross Country trip for the Lady Pirates.
Going in we expected to see a lot of familiar faces with the MSL being well represented, having at least five of it's teams and some individuals amongst the favorites to move onto the state finals. For the third week in a row we also expected to see Barrington as our primary challenger for the team title. After a call back on the first start the gun finally went off again, about five minutes later, the girls broke from box 18 with clear instructions on the race plan.
Wearing red over black the girls looked good through the first 300-400m, under control and packed nicely. By 800m we were still packed well, but I had a slight concern we were a tad too passive, as our first group after Tess were sitting in the mid-to-upper 20's and Barrington had their top three girls in the top ten and their number four in the top fifteen. That would change quickly over the next mile of so, as all of our girls would clearly start to assert themselves and move up the field in a very calculated and controlled manner. By two miles Jess would join Tess in the lead group and they would soon be side-by-side leading the race. Cassidy and Liz were also moving well and had put themselves near the top fifteen overall.
Back just a ways were Amy, Madi, and Sabina doing a great job of working together and also moving well. By two miles we looked to be in great position, with all seven of our runners ahead of Barrington's #5, we just had to hold our spots and kick well. Throughout the last mile Tess would hang in the pack of five that had broken away, Jess would remain at the lead up until about 1200m to go, before fading a bit after a really strong middle mile, while the rest of the field would start to string out. Cassidy and Liz were still hanging tough in the top twenty, while Amy was having another great midrace, charging up the field, with Sabina and Madi running just off of her.
With about 400m or more to go Tess was gapped by the four with her and was unable to close it back, even with a good kick, to end up 5th in 17:52. Not her very best race, but I think one that she learned a bit more about what she needs to do this coming weekend. Jessica would hang on for 10th in 18:05, to earn her second straight Sectional medal. Cassidy and Liz would have solid kicks, closing well to go 16th and 18th in 18:14 & 18:19. Amy would be our 5th runner, running 18:35 for 21st overall. Behind Amy came Sabina (30th in 18:51) and Madi (42nd in 19:13). Really solid job by all.
Only four other times in our program history have we had all seven of our runners in the top 42 or better at the Sectional meet, the last being the 2009 State Champs squad. Our 43-second 1-5 split was also the best we've had as a program at the sectional since the girls moved to the three mile distance in 2003 and marked only the second time we've dipped below the 1:00 mark. Our 1-7 split of 1:21 was actually better or close to many of our previous sectional championship teams 1-5 split.
These are all very encouraging marks as we enter the state meet this weekend. We are in a great position and should be very excited about what we can accomplish this Saturday. This was truly a team effort. If we continue to run for one another, believe in what we are doing and can achieve, we will be successful, no matter the outcome.
IHSA Schaumburg Sectional - Overall Results - Team & Ind. / Team Splits
Oct, 22, 2012 - Lady Pirates capture IHSA Grant Regional title
Girls win 21st IHSA Regional in Palatine Girls XC history Saturday at Camp Henry Horner
For the first time in school history the Pirates ventured up to Camp Henry Horner in Ingleside for the 2012 IHSA Regional hosted by Grant HS. This was a venue we had never seen and had been told it could be a challenging course, with a wide array of surfaces, hidden turns, and a challenging layout. While the morning itself was picture perfect, the two days of rain prior had added a nice mixture of mud and slick spots to add another twist. The girls did a great job handling the conditions, as we would leave the course with a twenty point win and our 21st IHSA Regional title in our program history. After a narrow win over Barrington at the MSL meet last weekend we knew we needed to run better if we intend to be where we want to be at the end of the season, so this meet was a chance to try some new things and make sure we start executing much better. I thought we did a great job in doing this.
After a disappointing finish at conference Tess led us by running a much more controlled and poised effort early, doing a better job of keeping herself in striking distance midrace, and would close with one of her best finishes I've seen her have in a cross country race. After falling back about 15m mid-to-late race, she would charge over the last 1200m, taking the lead with about 600m to go and would not look back in winning her second consecutive Regional, only the third girl in school history to win more than one . She looked so much stronger; so much more relaxed, and really took control at the end in using her speed. Jessica would give another great controlled effort as well, moving up the field very strongly, passing a Cary-Grove girl over the last mile to finish 4th overall, her second time medaling at Regional. Cassidy was our third runner, just missing a medal in 6th overall. She ran a really strong and smart race after battling through the effects of the flu last weekend at the MSL meet and showed she is getting back to form very quickly. Liz was our #4, with Amy not far back as our #5, as both ran strong races at 11th and 13th places overall. Liz was out well, faded a bit in the middle, but kicked very well at the end to hold off Barrington's #4 in Batliner. Amy was out much better in this meet and didn't have to move as much as she had to at the MSL meet. Sabina and Kara would each have their troubles on the day. Freshman Sabina was out too slow and never could work with the others, getting lost midrace and really losing focus in struggling home well off her capabilities. Kara on the other hand was out well and seemed to be keying off Liz and Amy, but in waiting for her to finish I knew something was up. I thought at one point I missed her, but it was not to be. Her day ended with a stumbling attempt to finish, halted by coaches, and a trip to the hospital for observation and IV's. Not something any coach or parent likes to see. However, good news was she was released shortly with a diagnosis of dehydration.
While winning the Regional is always a great accomplishment our main focus was to work on improving. I think we came away Saturday as a much better team than when we went in. If we can keep improving on what we accomplished Saturday we will be ready to roll in two weeks. First things first...do our job this weekend at Busse Woods. Great job!
(L) The team gathers around Coach Guthrie after her big announcement. (R) The whole Distance Crew at awards
Oct 16, 2012 - 2nd ANNUAL GATORADE JV INVITE
Our second Gatorade JV Invite is in the books. While the strong winds seemed to hamper overall times, we did a good job as a team. We won the freshman level for the second year in a row and were just beat in the other two levels by #1 ranked in state Naperville North. Thanks to all those who showed up to help.
Oct. 13, 2012 - Lady Pirates capture MSL Triple Crown
2012 MSL XC "Triple Crown" Champion Lady Pirates all smiles after a great day a Busse Woods
It was good day to a be a Pirate this past Saturday morning at Busse Woods for the 2012 edition of the MSL Conference Championships. Calls for thunder storms and ominous forecasts throughout the morning couldn't halt what turned out to be a great day for our program. After picking up wins in two of the last three years at both the JV and Frosh-Soph levels we had been shut out at the varsity level, finishing runner-ups each year by a combined total of 19 point (that's about six points each year if you do the math). One thing stayed the same...the close margin (only six points once again), but this time we would come out on the good side, edging a tough and ready Barrington team 52 to 58. Sandwiching the varsity win was two displays of dominance in both the Frosh-Soph and JV races. We came in confident we could take all three races, but didn't anticipate the fashion in which it was done, with the Frosh-Soph crew scoring 22 points (to Hoffman's 67) and the JV scoring a 1-5 sweep with 15 points (to Barrington's 63). We are the only girls program to win the MSL "Triple Crown" since they went to the three race format back in 1996, this being our third time doing so. We also had some really great individual performances in all three races, with the Lady Pirates taking home almost a quarter of all the medals (24 of the 75).
Frosh-Soph Race - Morgan, Ana Maria, Megan, & Kelly O'Brien taking charge mid-race.
The Frosh-Soph girls kicked the morning off in style. After a lone Prospect girl took an early lead our pack started to take charge. Ana Maria, Morgan, Megan, and Kelly O'Brien promptly closed the gap and would end up working together much of the way. Not far back and also running well was Kelly Ocock, Sam, Carley, Bridget, and the Rebecca's (Das & Duran), as they were all well in the medal hunt. Morgan did a really good job pushing the pace for the group about midrace, as it looked as if she was trying to break it open, but couldn't quite get it done in her first race back after missing a couple weeks. Our other three, along with the Prospect girl and a Barrington girl, were all still hanging tough. After Morgan's move she started to struggle a bit as Ana Maria would take over just after two miles. Kelly and Megan both responded, and Morgan did a great job gathering herself and reconnecting with the pack, while the six other were still hanging around top 10 to 15. Through the last mile not a lot would change until the end. The last time around the large bunch of tree's with about 400m to go the Prospect girl had made a move for the win. I fet Ana, Kelly, and Morgan all had legitimate shots to rally and reel her back, but she too much.
Ana would finish runner-up (after finishing 27th in this race last year), Kelly O'Brien would be third, Morgan was fourth, and Megan would end up fifth. Just a bit back we would have some good finishes as Sam would be our 5th scorer in 8th overall, Kelly Ocock (9th), and Rebecca Duran (10th). That gave us seven in the top 10 and a point total of 22, to well surpass Hoffman's 67 and Prospect's 80. Our other medalists were Carley Lynch in 14th, Bridget in 16th, and Rebecca Das in 19th. Natalie was our next finisher in 31st, just missing a medal by about fifteen seconds. Awesome job ladies. We could not have been more proud of this effort.
Varsity Race is off and running in what turned out to be a team MSL title.
The varsity race was the most stressful race to watch of the day. After near misses the past three years I knew too well just how well you needed to run to win the MSL and we entered with some real questions marks to make things more interesting. Cassidy went home Thursday afternoon and missed all day Friday with flu-like symptoms so I knew she'd be a real wild card for us, but she didn't make any excuses and came ready to run, so I didn't even question her, but knew also not to expect too much. Along with Cass being less than 100%, we had Amy K back in the line-up running her first race since the Barrington dual, the week of Peoria Notre Dame, and in only her second ever big time varsity race (the only other being Hinsdale way back in week one). To add more drama and tension we had freshman Sabina shaking in her booties, in her second serious varsity race, after running varsity at Metamora last weekend. Not to mention, on a personal note conference meets have seemed to be my Achilles heel, as in my four years as a head coach (three as Palatine girls and one as St. Charles North boys) I've been fortunate enough to win three state trophies, but no varsity conference team titles. That's right...none! So I was feeling the heat.
The girls helped ease the nerves as the race settled in, but Barrington quickly showed they came to play. They were all over us pretty early and didn't plan to make the day easy for us. Up front Tess was in a four girl race early and attempted a move around mile one, but didn't do enough to shake anyone for too long. Fairly early it was obvious Cassidy was feeling the effects of her sickness and a too aggressive start likely didn't add any ease to her situation. Someone would need to step up. Jessica and Liz both had good starts, but were getting beat in their man-to-man matchups with the Fillies. Amy K. started well and was moving up throughout, while Kara had a good start, but looked too comfortable falling back with an ill Cassidy. Sabina was back a bit further than I would have liked early and she too looked as if she was going to settle to run in a three person pack with Kara and Cassidy. With a mile or less to go, Tess was tightening under the pressure of the youngsters, with two freshmen and a sophomore moving around her. Jessica had moved very well midrace and was into 5th, Liz (who had fallen earlier in the race) and Amy were close together, but had two Fillies (their 3&4) not far back. With about 800m to go, Sabina started to make up some ground on the group ahead. She first passed Kara and Cassidy, then turned her sights on others, however Barrington's #5 was making her own move us behind.
Down the final hill we weren't helping our situation early. Tess lost her composure and didn't finish like she could, getting outkicked to end up 4th. Jessica really helped us by putting enough of a gap on the second pack to hold off some hard closers, in getting 5th, to spots in front of Barrington's #2, but we were still down. Liz and Amy would go 11th & 12th, really finishing well to hold off Barrington's #3 & #4, to give us a slight lead. Sabina would move up just enough to end up 20th and hold off Barrington's 5th in 23rd. Cassidy would rally and show enough in the end to earn the final All-MSL spot with her well-deserved 25th place finish. Kara would struggle on the day, as she ended up 31st.
In the end it was just enough for the win. I was thrilled we picked up the win, but after the race initially I was really disappointed in what I thought was a subpar effort by some. Often it's really easy to focus on the negative and that I did. While we have some things we can definitely work on (and we will...trust me), there were some great things we can take from this meet. Six All-MSL medalists. Getting Amy K back in the mix is huge. She missed a full month of racing and came out a hero in earning her first All-MSL honors, holding off two Barrington girls in the process. Jessica ran like she did all of last year, smart early and very strong mid-race, looking like she might catch Tess midway. Having Liz's consistency and leadership back with this team after missing most of last year is a huge key for us, rebounding from an early fall to earn her first MSL honors (her first healthy MSL XC meet). Sabina is growing quickly as she's come up big late race in both varsity races over the past two weekends to be our #5.
Obviously with a 100% Cassidy scoring for us it likely would have made things look a bit better for us and we likely put our top five in the top thirteen places (a feat only duplicated by three other Pirates teams, who all went on to be State Champions). This is what gives me the confidence we have a great opportunity ahead of us if we are willing to work on getting better over the next few weeks. Very proud of you girls for rising to the occasion. We can be great!
After a nail biter in the varsity race, the JV crew made it clear early we would be a force to reckon with. Madi, Jacqui, Abril, Kirsten, Allison, and Silvia asserted themselves from the gun and were looking to make it a Pirate sweep. Also hanging in the top 20 mix were Taylor and Noemi. As the race passed the one mile mark we were still bunched tight before Madi finally made a push to get the pack moving. She quickly gapped the group and would put about 20 meters over them over the next mile. Behind her the pack stayed tight and Silvia would move up to put us in the first six positions and clearly in control of the team standings. Behind the pack Noemi was making her bid to get into the fun as she had moved from about 20th into the top 10. Taylor was still sitting back around the low 20's and our next group was Dee, Lorena, and Lei Ann, out of the medals, but sitting in the low 40's.
Over the last mile it was a battle from within, as our top group fought it out, jockeying for position. Silvia was struggling to hang onto the top group, while Kirsten was making her bid for runner-up status, however, it was close. Down the stretch Madi would hang on to win in time of 19:19 on the mud-ridden course, to become Palatine's 14th MSL JV Champion. Jacqui and Abril would rally to pass Kirsten down the stretch to go 2-3, while Kirsten would finish 4th in what was likely one of her finest days as a Pirate, going out like a senior should at her final MSL meet. Allison would come in next for 5th and complete the 1-5 sweep. Not far back was Silvia (8th) and Noemi (10th) to match the Frosh-Soph with seven of first ten finishers. Taylor would be our next finisher and final medalist as she ran down a number of girls over the last quarter mile to finish in 15th. Dee would move up late in a solid run for the senior, but would miss out on a medal, finishing in 36th place.
Overall, as I said, it was a great day for this program and to be a Pirate. We accomplished what we set out to do and should be very proud. For some girls this was their last MSL meet and bitter sweet for us as coaches as we will lose some great girls, although most will race Tuesday at the JV Invite and some may be on the postseason roster. Very proud to have coached you seniors in your final MSL meet. Al Fal, Kirsten, Dee, Tess, Jacqui, Taylor, Preet, Lisa, and Caitlyn you have meant a lot to this program through your hard efforts and outstanding dedication. Your contributions over the past few years have been very valuable to the success of our program in capturing the "Triple Crown" this weekend and you can leave Palatine XC knowing you have made a big difference.
So onward we go. Gatorade JV Invite will finalize our postseason line-up and roster, then it's time to move onto our next goal as a team. Find your role, whatever it may end up, and do what you can to help this team be great over the next few weeks.
Oct. 11, 2012 - Girls ready for MSL after fine 1600m trial tune-up
The girls hit the track last night for our annual MSL week 1600m time trial. The cool temps and strong winds were no match for the girls as they lit up the track for what was one of our all-time best team efforts for this trial.
The girls were out fast....I mean really fast! When I heard 74-75-76 through 400m and that was after about 10 girls had passed I wasn't sure what to expect, but they hung on very well overall. Tess simply rolled on to the second sub-5:00 clocking of her career, her 4:59 easily making her the fastest ever for this time trial. The previous best was her 5:07 from last fall, just ahead of Amy Laskowske, Jenny Monaco (Mrs. Parks), and Diana Ainsley at 5:09.
Behind Tess we put 20 girls under 6:00 for only the second time in team history, matching the mark set by the 1995 state champion squad. Across the board we had some tremendous improvements and can see that many of our new additions have come a long way. Overall it was a great effort by all and should only add to our confidence going into the conference meet this weekend.
Oct. 6, 2012 - Pirates pick up wins at Metamora's Runnin' Red Invite
Tess runs to an All-time Pirate best 17:05 at Black Partridge Park to win the Metamora Runnin' Red Invite
This past Saturday we took our annual pre-conference pilgrimage to Metamora's beautiful Black Partridge Park for the Runnin' Red Invite. This is a fun meet, as we get to see some new faces and hit the trails for a great post-race cool-down, however the early 5:00am bus ride always adds to the challenge. Overall we had a great meet. The Frosh-Soph were led by Ana Maria Quiroga and Kelly O'Brien's 2-3 finish in securing the win with 33 points over Class A defending state champs Decatur St. Teresa, while the varsity was led by Tess' great run in scoring 45 points over Class AA and Class A state favorites Normal University (71) and Decatur St. Teresa (73).
This year's team ran well better than any Palatine team prior at Metamora. Last year we left this meet with only four runners breaking 19:05, this year we had a total of twelve girls under. The previous best year for Palatine girls breaking 19:00 was nine total two years ago in 2010. (FYI - Coach Jones of Metamora always says that what you run on their course is pretty equivalent to what you should run at Detweiller). Our 1-5 average of 17:46, our 1-10 average of 18:12, and our 1-15 average of 18:33 were better than any previous Palatine team at this meet. Tess's 17:05 topped Amy Laskowske's All-time Pirate best of 17:08 and made her the third fastest ever on this course, behind only former state champs Katelyn Bastert and Caitlyn Comfort. Even with Tess' great run we still kept a 1-5 split of 1:19 and a 1-6 split of 1:22.
Entering the frosh-soph race I knew we would need a very solid team race, as we were sitting Amy, Kelly Ocock, Megan, and Morgan in order for them to be ready for conference. The girls stepped up and ran great. St. Teresa was out fast and packed well early, but we did a good job of keeping our composure and moving up the field. After a quick start by a St. Teresa and Mahomet girl, Ana Maria bided her time well and continued to close the gap on the leaders throughout the race. Kelly was also in the top ten and looking good, while Carley and Sam were not too far back off of her. Rebecca was holding her own as well, bunched with a large pack much of the way. Most of the girls seemed to move up well and finish strong, although some did misgauge their kick to the finish. Ana would continue to close the gap on the leader, but couldn't seal the deal, finishing runner-up in 18:40. (Last year Ana finished 26th in 20:25.) Kelly would close very well late and end up 3rd in a great time of 18:56, fifth best ever for a Pirate freshman (until Sabina's varsity race bumped her back one more spot). Sam would catch and pass Carley through the last mile, finishing in 7th in a time of 19:22, twelfth best for a Pirate freshman. Carley would be close behind in 19:23 (10th), a great run for her first attempt over 2.5 miles since breaking her foot last fall at Peoria Notre Dame. Rebecca Duran was next in 19:50 (16th overall) to top her time from Peoria three weeks back in scoring as our 5th runner.
Behind our top five were Bridget, fighting iron issues, in 20:31 to finish 29th. Natalie and Marissa keep improving as they went 21:00 and 21:58 respectively. To put that into perspective, as freshmen, Madi Berg ran 21:34, Lei Ann Watanuki ran 21:31, Allison Falduto ran 20:30, and Jacqui Paneral ran 20:28.
The varsity race pitted us against IHSA Class A state champ Bulldogs of Decatur St. Teresa. Not often can a Class A school compete with a top Class AAA team, but St. Teresa is a very good team that would have placed top six in big class meet in 2011. Tess took control early in the individual race and Jessica was right behind through 800m. Not far back was Cassidy and Liz, then came Sabina and Kara, then a group of Jacqui, Madi, and Allison. Through mile one we looked very good, Tess was well ahead and would be the rest of the way, while Cassidy, Jess, and Liz would shuffle spots along the way amongst the top 10 or so. Sabina would trail Kara by a bit, with Jacqui, Madi, and Allison keeping them in their sights. By the end Tess was a clear first in a her All-time Pirate time of 17:05; Cassidy was 5th in 17:36, making her the 5th fastest Pirate ever; Jessica (9th in 17:50) would not match her great performance from last year, but still managed the 5th best time for a junior in team history; Liz was 12th in 17:59 (7th best PHS junior and only 10th ever under 18:00); and Sabina would close and pass Kara late for 19th in running 18:24 (fastest ever for a PHS freshman at BPP). That top five averaged 17:46 with a 1-5 split of 1:19 to smash the previous best 1-5 average of 17:56 from 2009's state championship team.
Some of our non-scorers had great days as well and dropped tons of time from their previous best at Metamora. See below.
Cynthia Siddiqui - Jr.
Silvia Catalan - Jr.
Abril Malagon - Jr.
Jacqui Paneral - Sr.
Kara Burton - So.
Madi Berg - Jr.
Kirsten Slora - Sr.
Harpreet Singh - Sr.
Overall we should be very proud of how we ran and very confident about what we can accomplish this weekend at the conference meet. Let's support each other to the best of our abilities all week as we work toward some great team performances.
Sept. 28, 2012 - Girls take home 6th straight MSL Division Title
For the sixth straight year the Lady Pirates have run the table in dual meets (7-0, 6-0 in MSL) to add yet another MSL Divisional title to our long list of program achievements with lopsided wins over tough programs in Hoffman Estates and Schaumburg. While winning the division is far from our ultimate goal this year it is always a great step in the right direction for our season, especially to win the West division. No offense to our counterparts on the East side, but the West Division (us, Barrington, Conant, Fremd, Hoffman, & Schaumburg) have combined for seven state trophies since 2003, including three state titles and three state runner-ups. The last trophy won on the East side was Wheeling in 2001. So you can say winning the West has definitely been a tougher battle over the past ten years. Yesterday marked the sixth straight year we have gone undefeated in dual meets. The last time our varsity crew was defeated in a dual was in 2006 against state runner-up Barrington. We have now won 41 straight dual meets dating back to the Barrington loss (our seniors would have been in 6th grade). Quite an accomplishment.
The JV started the night off on the right foot as well with wins over both Hoffman and Schaumburg to close out an undefeated season (7-0) on the under-level as well. With a number of girls bumped up to the varsity race and a few girls nursing injuries we were a bit low in JV numbers. To make our task even tougher, Noemi and Taylor were last minute scratches, so we had to have some ladies step up. And just that they did.
Silvia Catalan would take home her first career win in an excellent time of 15:50, after running 16:16 just this past weekend at the Palatine Invite. A good start and middle of the race gave her a clear 20-second victory. Next in was Kirsten, running another fine race in 3rd with a great kick at the end to nab a Hoffman girl. Her time of 16:14 was just off her great race at the Palatine Invite. I always say, "Consistency equals good things to come." Closing out our scoring was Carly (7th), Bridget S. (6th), and Harpreet (10th). "Preet" broke 17:00 for the first time this season. Also, having fine races were Cynthia (17:09, compared to 17:36 at Invite), Natalie (17:47, compared to 18:10 at Invite), and Dilrose (21:20, compared to 21:55 at Invite). This JV group ran tough and focused race. You could see the focus in their eyes that they were determined to get the job done. Us coaches are very proud of you girls.
The varsity had the task of taking care of two teams fresh off Invite victories. We knew they would both be coming in with the idea of seeing how well they match up, not only with us, but with one another. The girls were focused and ran really inspired races as a whole. Most importantly we improved as a team and are heading in the right direction, with girls improving and girls getting healthy.
Tess, while not feeling 100% (you couldn't tell), took control early and dismantled the field early. Running fast early, she was able to control her effort out front, but went on to run a great time of 17:39, right near her prior best before running 17:30 in the Invite on Saturday. Not far back was Jessica, running a much better race then Saturday, finishing in 2nd in 17:55 after going 18:07 on Saturday. Also running much better was Cassidy, she ran a much more controlled effort early and was much tougher midrace. She ended up in 4th, just behind a great run by Saxon soph Erin Falsey, running 18:11. Liz and Kara would be our fourth and fifth scorers in 7th and 9th overall. Kara definitely had the breakout run of the night. The sort of run she (and we) has been waiting for. She ran with great poise, eyeing Liz throughout, going through one mile (5:46 to 5:57) and two mile (12:09 to 12:27) faster than she did in Saturday's Frosh-Soph Invite victory on her way to a big PR of 18:35. Her previous Deer Grove best was 19:37. This was a big, big breakthrough and I could not have been prouder of her effort. Making big strides KB!
I thought the rest of the crew gave really good efforts as well, Jacqui (18:47 to 18:58) and Madi (19:02 to 19:04 - now her all-time best) both ran faster than they did at the Palatine Invite. Ana Maria (19:03) and Abril (19:11) both had all-time best three mile times and destroyed their Deer Grove marks 19:58 and 20:13 from a few weeks back. Allison had a great run going before taking a hard spill in the gravel after two miles. She would get back up in a valiant effort to run a solid 19:14, but was unable to really drop all the time she was on pace to.
Along with the varsity crew were two freshmen in Sabina and Kelly O'Brien. Kelly was running her first varsity race and did a really great job finishing in a PR of 19:20, topping her 19:23 from Peoria. This was a tremendous effort for a freshman in her first varsity race. Also looking to prove herself was Sabina, who was runner-up to Kara on Saturday. Unfortunately just over a half mile in she was our first gravel victim of the day. She was in decent position heading into the woods, but would seemingly disappear as the group reappeared. When I finally did spot her she was in a world of hurt, shock, and pain. She told me what happened, as she passed in tears. I gave her two choices, 1.) keep crying and quit (trust me, I did show some compassion) or 2.) simply deal with the circumstances and do the best with what you've been given. While I think it took a good half-mile to mile to shake off the shock and frustration of falling, I give her a ton of credit for plowing away and continuing to move up the field. Her time of 19:22 was well off what she is capable of but still topped her time of 19:33 the last time she ran this course.
Overall, I was very pleased leaving the meet last night. I feel we made a ton of progress and can accomplish some big things over the next month or so if we keep the right attitude and keep working diligently. Go Pirates!!
Sept 24, 2012 - Lady Pirates run well at Palatine Invite
I want to start off by thanking everyone who volunteered their time this weekend at the Palatine Invite. Orchestrating this meet is a huge ordeal and it would not be what it is without all your assistance. I was able to coach without concern of the work being done. Thank you. You all did a great job. Special thanks to Mark Smith in helping coordinate the parent and alum workers.
THE SCENE I MISSED - KB pulls ahead for the FS win (15;18), while Sabina eyes her runner-up spot (15:21).
On Saturday morning we were greeted with cool crisp wind and a bit of rain to start the 2012 edition of the Palatine Invite. With strong winds, temps in the upper 40's to low 50's, and dark clouds looming above when we arrived, it looked as if we could be in for a brutal day at Deer Grove East. Fortunately the cross country gods cooperated, as the sky cleared just as the racing was to begin and the weather got only better as the meet continued. The Lady Pirates had a very successful day in capturing team titles in the Frosh-Soph and JV races, while finishing 3rd behind two very good teams in the varsity race. Overall I was very impressed with our performances. I thought we competed very well and fought really hard in all three races.
The Frosh-Soph started the day off for us and they were looking to continue their winning ways after taking down a huge field at Peoria Notre Dame last weekend. The girls went out well and attacked early. By one mile we had around nine girls in the top 25 and were looking good. Also in the mix was Carley Lynch, running her first serious cross country race in over a year, after a broken foot at Peoria last fall ended her 2011 freshman campaign and a bout with anemia has kept her sidelined for the start of this season. Midway it looked to be a three team race with us, Wheaton South, and Assumption of Louisville, Ky. Kara and Sabina took the lead just after the one mile mark and pressed on, but had two Assumption girls sitting right behind who seemed happy to have them do the work. Not far back was Morgan and then we had a nice group of three in the two Kelly O's (Ocock & O'Brien) and Ana Maria. Just a few more spots back were Bridget, Carley, and Sam. We looked really good heading back out for lap two (the last mile) and I thought we were in good shape if we could hold our spots. Coming through after two miles Kara and Sabina were still towing along the two Assumptions girls, the Kelly's and Ana were closing in on Morgan, and Sam had closed in, catching Carley and nearing Bridget.
I sprinted my way through the airplane field to catch a glimpse of Kara and Sabina finishing and saw what looked like one Assumption girl breaking away for the win and the other pulling from Sabina for 3rd. My thoughts were we went 2/4, while Assumption went 1/3. Well I was wrong. What I couldn't see was Kara and Sabina putting up great closing kicks to take lead back from both girls to go 1-2. Awesome! Kara's time of 15:18 topped her 15:35 PR from last years Palatine Invite, tying her for 5th best All-time, and 2nd best for a Pirate (Liz Cox is #1 at 15:14). Sabina nipped the Assumption girl by less than one second in running 15:21, third fastest ever for a freshman at Deer Grove. After these two we stormed home with four more in the top 10. Ana Maria had another great finish for the second straight week running 15:41 for 5th, right behind was Kelly Ocock (7th in 15:42), then Morgan (9th in 15:42), and Kelly O'Brien (10th in 15:43). Sam would be our other medalist (top 25) in a great time of 16:12 for 21st, as Bridget (27th - 16;19) would just miss out. Carley Lynch (37th in 16:31) faded a bit, but ran an extremely tough race. This was a PR for Deer Grove (last year she ran 16:51 a week before getting hurt) and this was her first race of the season.
Team scores put us at 23, followed by Wheaton South (60), Assumption (86), Lyons (109), and Prospect (178). What really impressed me was how much improvement we showed as a team over last year and the individual improvements we had from our returnee's. Last year we had only two girls under 15:48, this year we had six.
2012 Frosh-Soph Top 7
2011 Frosh-Soph Top 7
Ana Maria Quiroga
Lei Ann Watanuki
The Varsity race slated us against defending champs Assumption, who are currently ranked top-10 nationally after finishing last fall with an 18th place finish at NXN; Lake Park, who edged us at Peoria; and Wheaton South, who have brought home state trophies the past three years. Our top four were established themselves well near the front pack, while Jacqui and Madi were back a bit, but I felt they were in a good spot.
Through the first mile Tess was running second, well behind Lake Park's Kaylee Flanagan, who once again was off to course record pace. Cassidy was not too far back, while Jessica and Liz were working well just back of Cassidy. However, it was clear that the other teams were ready to battle, as Assumption, Lake Park, and Wheaton South had each asserted themselves into the mix as well. Assumption's top three were working well and moving into the top 10, Lake Park was matching us man-for-man, and Wheaton had four strong. By mile two Tess was still hanging strong, with AA state champ Sami Staples (CLC) on her heels, Cassidy was starting to drop from Liz and Jess, and Jacqui and Madi had split, with Jacqui looking to move up. It was clear we had some work to do. Unfortunately we just couldn't hang onto or move up enough spots to get the job done on this day. Although Tess was passed by a few girls late I thought she ran a very poised and controlled race only to get nipped late by a trio of very good girls for 5th, in running her PR 17:30 for Deer Grove. Liz continues to impress as she broke 18:00 for the second straight week in 17:57 for 17th. Jessica and Cassidy had OK runs, but both seemed off. Jess was 23rd in 18:07, while Cassidy held on valiantly to run 18:22 for 35th. Both are in way better shape than they showed and will need to run better for us to be as good as we can be. Along with Cassidy's and Jessica's off day, Jacqui and Madi were just too far back to help make up the difference. Jacqui (18:54) was 57th and Madi (19:04) was 70th. However, both performances were well above what they ran last year for our Deer Grove course. Last year at the Palatine Invite Jacqui could only manage a 19:28, while Madi's best last year was 19:38.
In the end we were 3rd as a team. Assumption is as advertised "very good", as they clearly took the team title with 50 points. Lake Park was 2nd with 112 pts., we ended up with 133 pts., and Wheaton South was in contention with 151 for 4th.
The JV race ended the meet for us on a very high note, with our second team title of the day. This looked to be a good team battle early with us and Lyons before we took control midrace, eventually pulling away for a 24 point win (47 to LT's 71 points). Abril Malagon led the charge as two Assumption girls broke away early. Abril would fight to close on the runner-up only to come us a little short in running a PR 15:46 for 3rd. Allison would not be far back in 5th (15:50) for a PR. Noemi (11th in 16:07), Kirsten (13th on 16:12), Taylor (15th in 16:16), and Silvia (16th in 16:17) would all PR as well to give a potent top six in each earning medals. I was really proud of this group, as we had some seniors really giving it their all in their final Palatine Invite.
2012 JV Open Top 7
2011 JV Open Top 7
As I said, we had a great day overall. Two team titles, lots of PR's, and some young girls really coming on. Below are some of the girl's improvements from last year's meet. You can see we had a number of girls drop a tremendous amount of time.
Palatine Invite 2012 vs. 2011
Ana Maria Quiroga
This was a really fun meet to watch. After a lot of behind the scenes work, missing spending the whole practice with the team, and stress that the meet runs smoothly it was awesome to see us run well and to see so much improvement. Keep up your hard work. Conference is in three weeks, keep making good choices, keep supporting one another, and push one another to get better. Go Pirates!
Frosh-Soph crew all smiles after their first place team victory at the Peoria Notre Dame Invite.
In what turned out to be another monster of a meet at Peoria's Detweiller Park we ended the day behind only two of the combined 77 teams we faced in the frosh-soph and varsity races. Of the two teams ahead of us in the varsity race we tied runner-up & #2 state-ranked Lake Park through the five scoring runners, having to go to sixth runners to break the tie. We pulled off the team victory in the frosh-soph race with a score of 61 points to outdistance runner-up Lyons Township who had 79. The varsity race was won by state ranked #1 Glenbard West with 115 points. While we were third in this race we put four runners in front of both GW and LP's #3 runners, which helps our odds of running with them come seasons end.
The frosh-soph girls kicked off the morning at 9:00am with the first race of the morning. All week I was looking forward to seeing how well this group could run and felt we had a strong core that could pull our team to victory. They did just that. The girls established themselves in the front pack of 300 competitors early on and didn't look back. Kara and Sabina were running right around top five most of the way with Ana, Kelly Ocock, Megan, and Morgan not far back. Just a bit further back were Kelly O'Brien and Bridget, who were hovering in the high 20's. The girls all hung tough mid-race and pushed well at the finish. Sabina would go on to finish an impressive 3rd overall in only her second ever 3 mile race, clocking 18:41. Her time ranks behind only Tess (18:11), Liz (18:27), multi-time All-Stater and state champ Amy Laskowske (18:40) for freshman Peoria ND Invite performances (Jessica and Cassidy went 18:42 & 18:47 their freshman year at PND). Behind Sabina was Ana (19:12), and Kelly (19:13) in 11th and 12th. Big PR's for these girls and continue to show great improvements, as their previous best 3 mile times were in the 19:40's. Freshman Morgan Balog also ran a great race for 15th in 19:19 in only her 2nd ever 3.0 mile race, her previous best was 20:14 last week against Fremd. Just out of the medals (top 20) and great runs were freshman Kelly O'Brien (19:33) in her first ever 3.0 mile race and Megan Beach (19:34), as they went 21st and 22nd overall. Oh so close! Bridget would end up 29th in 19:46, well under her 20:28 from a week ago. Kara had a rough day and she got sick before the race was running tough with Sabina through 2-2.5 miles before going down before the finish. She would get up to finish (32nd in 19:47) but likely over a minute back of where she would have been. Rebecca got out a bit too slow early and had to work her way up the field, she did a good job to finish in the top 50 (47th in 20:08) in her first attempt at the 3 mile distance. Overall I was very, very proud of this group. Five freshman, only one of the eight had ran this meet/course before, and two girls were running their first ever 3.0m cross country race. Great job ladies. You should all be very proud.
The varsity race was set to be a tough one and didn't disappoint. As we came in ranked #5 in Illinois, with #1 Glenbard West, #2 Lake Park, Iowa's Pleasant Valley (who had defeated Illnois #3 Naperville North two weeks back), and other ranked teams lined up with us, we knew we had our hands full. To add to our challenge we chose to pull sophomore Amy Kieliszewski from the race minutes before with an aggravated calf strain. She desperately wanted to give it a go, but my better judgment told me to giver her a rest.
Early on Tess was out really well (maybe too good) as she was on the heels of GW's Perez through 800m (2:30ish), while Cassidy, Jessica, and Liz had good starts as well. Jacqui was a bit back, but looked OK, while the others were well in the abyss of the herd (this would come back to bite us in the end). The mile mark was much of the same, although Tess was coming back to the field, as Lake Park's Kaylee Flanagan and Perez were clearly the class of the field. (Flanagan would go on to break the All-time course record in 16:21, while Perez was not far back in 16:29). Around the north loop I spotted LP packed up tight looking real good, GW had two well up front and a group not far off our girls, and Iowa's PV was hanging tough. As the race continued Tess would get caught before leaving the North loop and would have to fight to hold ground, Jess was moving up very well, Cassidy was holding a good spot, but had a large contingent of girls just behind, and Liz was keep close. Jacqui looked good halfway, as she could spot a group of three GW girls maybe 25-30m ahead. Madi was moving well, but still had a lot of girls to pass if she was to help us out.
As the girls passed behind the start area one last time we looked good if we could push well late. Tess was holding strong around 6th or so, but GW's Lucsak had moved ahead to put two in front our our #1. Jessica was looking strong, but would have to fight to hold off a crew with her, Liz and Cassidy had hooked up late, as Cass was starting to struggle late. They did a good job working together. Jacqui was holding well, but had lost a few spots over the last mile. In the end Tess was 7th (17:20), Jess 18th (17:44), Liz had a great run again with her first sub-18 (22nd in 17:56), Cass hung tough for 31st (18:02), and Jacqui had a much improved (18:40 for 68th) over last year's (18:58 for 110th) performance. Madi (19:09), Allison (19:13), Noemi (19:28), and Abril & Silvia (19:33 each) all had PR's for 3 miles even after slow starts.
Overall I would say we ran very well, but not great. What I mean by that is I believe we are better than we showed on Saturday. We made some tactical errors and didn't do everything as well as we could have. What I thought we did do well is we ran tough and fought hard. Let's get back to work, keep challenging and supporting each other, keep ourselves healthy, and simply get tougher than everyone else. Go Pirates!!
Sept 13, 2012 - Pirates battle elements in MSL dual wins at Barrington
Last Thursday we battled the Fillies of Barrington on what turned out to be a cold and wet evening at Beese Park. In preparation for our race over the weekend at Peoria we were just hoping to get through the day healthy and pick up some wins. However, in knowing Barrington has been a traditionally strong MSL team and their course is a tough run no matter how easy you go we didn't expect the day to be easy. Add in some low 50's temperatures, and some rain and mud, it made for a pretty tough day all around.
The JV girls took to the stage first and did a great job getting out well and ended up cruising in with the top nine finishers in sweeping Barrington with a max low score of 15 points, all while holding out Kelly Ocock and Noemi Portillo. (Barrington messed up the results, so I am in the process of attempting to sort them out....hope to have more info soon.)
In the varsity race we knew we could get tested so we made a concerted effort to start quick and see what we were up against, with plans to make adjustments as the race progressed. Tess went right to front, followed by Barrington's super-frosh Lauren Conroy. Cassidy, Kara, and Jess were not too far back, just trying to feel out the race a bit with Barrington's Caroline Reynolds keeping pace. Half way through it was clear we were separating ourselves in the team race so instructions were to keep your place and stay relaxed. Tess would roll onto victory in a fine 17:57 in wet and muddy conditions, Cass and Jess would pack it up together for 3rd & 4th, while Amy would sprint to hold off Barrington's #2 in finishing 5th. Madi, Jacqui, and Kara would finish close together 8-9-10. We did exactly what we needed to do and hopefully gained a little toughness in the process. Onto Peoria!!
MSL Dual Meet at Barrington - Sept 13 - Overall / Team Splits
Sept 7, 2012 - Girls take both levels over Fremd at Deer Grove East
On Thursday evening we hosted Fremd in our first MSL East Division dual meet, which will count towards the division crown at the end of the season. We did a great job in both levels with lopsided victories. On the varsity level we scored 17 points, in having ten of the top twelve finishers and placing twelve runners ahead of Fremd's number four runner. On the JV side we scored 19 points with seven in the top ten finishers and eleven in the top fifteen. Individually Kara Burton and Jessica Lincoln picked up victories in their respective level.
The JV girls kicked the night off for us with some solid running up front. Kara, Jacqui, and Madi got a reprieve from the 3.0 mile varsity race for the day and took advantage. Each went out well together, staying nder control most of the way, with Kara (15:57) pulling away late for the win, followed by Jacqui (16:09), then Madi (16:16) with a comfortable :30 gap over 4th place. (Madi ran 16:43 this same week last year....great job!) Freshman Kelly O'Brien would have a great run, ending up 6th with PR time of 16:51. Last week she ran 17:08 against Hersey. Her 3k time/split has progressed nicely as well....from 13:13 at the 3k TT, to 12:31 last week, to 12:11 last night. This is great improvement in a very short time. Following close behind Kelly was Silvia in 16:53, who missed last week with a sore foot. Taylor and Allison would close out our top 10 finishers.
We had a number of girls besides Kelly to show great improvements over last week. Natalie Antonik dropped from 20:42 to 19:34, Cynthia from 18:23 to 18:00, Marissa from 21:51 to 21:19, Jurate from 23:25 to 22:51, Shayna from 23:32 to 22:54, Raeanne from 20:59 to 20:22, Dee from 19:11 to 18:40, and Daisy from 21:23 to 21:07. Great job ladies!
The varsity girls were not quite sure what we would be dealing with, as the Viking squad has some talent up with All-stater Kelly Breen and a strong Katie Filosa (Filosa did not race), along with some experienced seniors that add depth to their team. Our primary goals were to work on improving as a team, by trying to strengthen our individual weaknesses and learning to run with some poise. As well, had a number of girls looking to earn some varsity 3.0 mile experience, including five girls in only their second career varsity race and three freshman being bumped up for the first time.
Our normal top three of Tess, Jessica, and Cassidy were out well and up near the front, while Liz, along with Fremd's Breen and Higuchi took tow as well. By the mile Higuchi was dropping back a bit and it was down to five up front, four being Pirates, so the team race looked well in hand fairly early on. Amy K. was caught in no-man's land by herself, while back just a bit were the "young and the restless" earning their stripes. Through the first half mile there seemed to be a lot of tentativeness amongst the group. Someone needed to take charge. Freshman Morgan Balog was the first to move and seemed to jumpstart some of the crew. A bit later her freshman cohort Sabina would start to assert herself a bit making up ground around the mile. By midrace the group had started to put a stranglehold on Fremd's 3/4 runners and some were closing on their #2 Higuchi.
Up front Jess, Cassidy, and Liz were taking charge, as Tess was having on off day and struggled to hold tight to the pack. Jess (18:23) would pull just ahead at the end, followed closely by Cassidy (18:27), and Liz (18:35), in making it a Pirate junior class sweep up front. Tess would recollect herself late race, just missing Breen at the end to finish 5th. Amy (19:17) finished in a solo effort for 6th, looking poised along the way. Behind her was freshman Sabina Yosif (19:33), running a great race in her first ever varsity 3.0 mile attempt. We had a :54 second 1-5 split and a 1:10 1-6 runner split. Not far back was a group of three (Kelly, Megan, & Noemi) under 19:50 and Ana Maria at 19:58.
In the end we had a very good all around team effort. We had some season best performances and had girls stepping up to help the team. We took care of business, saw some improvement and continue to gain experiences that will help us come seasons end. Let's just keep getting stronger, tougher, and better prepared. Go Pirates!
Sept 2, 2012 - Solid running at Hinsdale puts Pirates in contention
AND THEYRE OFF!!!! Varsity girls out fast at the Hornet-Red Devil Invite. They ended up in a close 3rd place.
This weekend in Hinsdale we opened up our Invite racing with what might end up being perhaps the most competitive race we will see in regards to top tier teams until the state meet. Entering the meet defending state champs New Trier were ranked #1 (#4 in the nation), Wheaton-Warrenville South #2, and Glenbard West #5. This had all the makings of a tough battle and it ended up being just that. In the end it was a close one with GW taking the top spot with 51 points, NT 2nd with 55 pts, and the Lady Pirates of Palatine just behind in 3rd with 60 points. I had told the girls at the line it would likely be close, but I don't think anyone would have predicted this. Unfortunately we came out on the short end of this one, but we had little to be upset about. This was a great start for us and should give us plenty of confidence going forward that we can be a contender come November if we continue to grow as a team.
The varsity race kicked the morning off for us, as we bypassed entering anyone in the earlier 3.0 mile Frosh-Soph race in favor keeping all others in the 2.0 mile JV race. Going in I, much like most of the coaches, was not 100% how we'd do in our first competitive race, but felt confident by the work we've put in this summer and early season. By turn one we were well established and packed well. I had a slight concern we may be too aggressive, but preferred that over being buried. Tess was about 3rd through mile one, Jess and Cass were near top 10, and Liz, Amy, Kara, and Jacqui were bunched nicely just under 6:00, as we had hoped. So far so good. As the race continued I thought the whole group did a good job battling. We did lose a place or two mid-to-late race that cost us a few points, but overall I thought we gave a valiant effort in our first big time race. Liz and Amy had great races. Amy came into the race with a one mile PR of 5:56...she went through one mile on Saturday in 5:52! Liz is running her first healthy XC race since pre-MSL of her freshman year and she ran like a champ, looking smooth and confident as ever. I thought Tess, Jess and Cass had very solid races, but I felt each were not at their very best today. Kara, Jacqui, and Madi were each looking strong early as well, but would fade a bit just after two miles. Solid starts, not their best, but should not be too discouraged. Last year Ellen Smith was our 4th runner at 19:55 and went onto earn All-MSL honors and would finish top-10 at the Sectional meet. Saturday Madi was our #8 runner at 19:55.
We should be very encouraged by this start for a few reasons. #1. Scores would have likely been even closer in a state meet setting. Our #4 runner was :12 ahead of GW's #4 runner and our #5 runner was :09 seconds ahead of GW's #5. This only cost GW less than 5 points, but would likely cost much more in state meet with more depth. This was a similar story with NT, as their #4 was :15 back of our #4 and their #5 was :20 back of our #5. #2. Our 1-5 split of :33 was one of the best I've seen from us in a very long time, granted Tess could have been faster and spread this more. But even if she had run :20 faster were still under 1:00. Last year at this meet we had a 1-5 split of 1:56 and 1:46 at last year's state meet. This weekend our 1-8 split was better than our 1-4 split last year. #3. We've never had a #5 run as fast at Amy did in this meet. Our last two state trophy team's (2009 and 2010) had #5 runners go 19:25 and 19:03 as Hinsdale. Good stuff.
The JV race ended up being another slaughter. While we do gain some advantage by holding our top freshman and sophomores out of the F-S race, we continued our dominance in this race. On Friday I told the girls we could win twenty of the 40 medals. Well...I was wrong, as we only got 19. Up front was a sea of Pirates. While last year's race came down to a tie breaker, this year was not close. We took had 13 of the first fifteen finishers. If not for WWS running one of their top varsity runners in this race, freshman Sabina Yosif would have picked up her first high school win. She led a slew of teammates in places 2 thru 12. Lots of good racing as we took control early and raced aggressively. Across the board were huge improvements from last year's race and high-ranking performances on our All-Time Katherine Legge Park list (see links below).
We had a number of girls run faster two mile times Saturday than they did for the 3k (1.86m) time trial and even had a few girls run faster through one mile than they did for the solo one mile time trial the first week of practice.
Great start ladies. Plenty of time to get better and we will need to get much better if we want to contend at the end. Time to get back to work, making good daily choices and strengthening our weaknesses. Let's grow closer each day supporting each other, holding each other accountable, and looking one another. We can have a lot of fun this year if we do these things. Go Pirates!
August 29, 2012 - Lady Pirates Impress in 2012 season opener
After weeks of training for many of the girls and a few months since their last serious race it was time to bust off some rust and get to work on what hopes to be an exciting season of racing. Our first meet of the season is always our annual crossover dual meet against a school from the MSL East Division, this year being Hersey. While our upcoming dual meets will pit us up against our West Division rivals for division bragging rights this first dual doesn't add anything to our season standings or awards, but is always a great early season gauge as to how we have grown through our summer training. So far....so good. While this first meet ended up not being as competitive as we would have liked we are showing after one meet (and a couple prior time trials) we have some great depth, with a good mix of experienced runners and youth on the rise.
The JV girls kicked off the racing for us with an impressive display of team pack running. With a number of girls slated for the varsity race we were counting on a group of newbie's to get the job done. We closed out the race with the top seven finishers, six of whom are first year members to our team. Freshman Bridget Silveira pulled away on the home stretch to win (16:39) in her first ever HS race, followed closely by freshman Sabina Yosif (16:44) and senior Taylor Tenca (16:53). Close behind was freshman Morgan Balog (16:54), Allison Falduto (17:01), freshman Kelly O'Brien (17:08), and freshman Rebecca Duran (17:10). Kirsten Slora and Lorena Sarabia went 9th and 10th to give us nine of the top 10 finishers.
This was a fun race to watch in seeing all the new additions racing for the first time in their Pirate uniforms. What was great was to look back at some really good improvements by many. Last Friday evening we were out at Deer Grove for a 3k time trial. The girls ran that same course last night, plus some. Unknowingly to the girls we recorded their 3k split last night for comparison. 18 of 20 girls were faster at 3k last night then they were last Friday.....but kept running. Just goes to show the power of the mind and how much better many of you are than you think.
The varsity race featured a number of girls on the rise for the Pirates. Amy K., Kelly O., Megan B., Ana Marie Q., and Noemi P. were little pups at this time last year, having yet to even run a HS race (Noemi wasn't even out for XC yet). Next week will mark the one year mark of their first race at Deer Grove where they went 17:30 (Megan), 17:38 (Kelly), and 17:46 (Ana) in the 2.5 mile JV race (all slower than the top 5 freshman this year and with nicer temps), while Amy was out with a concussion, and Noemi had no physical. This year they open up the season at the varsity level and were impressive (even after a 8.5 mile run the day before).
The goal up front was to control the race by getting out quick, in prep for this weekend. The thirteen girls entered dominated the race with all of them well in front of Hersey's top finisher. All girls broke the 20:00 mark and we had some solid pack running throughout the race. Tess, Jess, and Cass cruised out in the front; followed by Liz, Amy, Jacqui, and Kara; who were followed by Madi, Abril, Kelly, Noemi, Ana, and Megan.
Last year (outside of the Palatine Invite where Jacqui ran 19:28) we did not have a #5 runner break 19:44 in any other Deer Grove meet (wow..still hard to believe). Yesterday we had six at 19:20 or better and thirteen at 19:51 or better. Keep in mind...little competition yesterday and you all ran a 8.5 to 9.5 mile progression run the day before. I can only hope this bodes well for the rest of the season. If anything it should build your confidence that we are strong, we are fit, and we will get the job done this season.
Great job, but it's time to keep working. We've got a long road ahead and things get much, much tougher this weekend at Hinsdale. Start getting yourself ready. Go Pirates!
August 24, 2012 - Girls look good in 3k Team Time Trial at DG
This evening at Deer Grove East the girls completed our second time trial of this early season in preparations for next weeks season opener on Tuesday against Hersey. This time around it was our annual 3k time trial (1.86 miles converted). To add a little drama, and to simulate how cross country meets are scored, the girls were split into seeded teams.
Overall we had a very good team performance on what was a warm evening, with temps in the low 90's. To add the the challenge the girls had just finished up their second full day of school and it was a Friday. However it didn't appear to deter most of the girls as we put together, on paper, the finest team performance over the past eleven seasons. Both our top five average of 11:04 and our top ten average of 11:22 were better than any team going back to 2002. What's really impressive is our depth. The 11:22 top ten average tonight topped the previous best mark of 11:29 set by the 2010 state runner-up squad.
Individually Tess tied her mark from last season at 10:42 in overtaking the top mark ever by a senior. Jessica (10:59) and Cassidy (11:01) both moved into the top ten for all-time performers. After that we had a slew of girls that dropped huge PB's. Kara's 11:19 topped her 12:02 frosh time, while Amy K. (14:00 to 11:36), Madi B. (13:06 to 11:40), Abril M. (12:34 to 11:40), Kelly Ocock (15:40 to 11:42), and Megan B. (13:43 to 11:42) rounded out the top ten in impressive fashion.
While some of you new additions to the team struggled in your first attempt at this time trial, keep your heads up and stay positive. If you come every day and put the work in you will see vast improvement. Below are some examples of your team member's huge jumps in improvement.
Madi Berg - Jr
Kelly Ocock - So.
Amy Kieliszewski - So.
Lorena Sarabia - Jr.
Duduzile Ndhlovu - Sr.
Lei Ann Watanuki - Jr.
DNR - inj
We had three freshman run Top-10 times for their class. Sabina (12:13), Morgan (12:20), and Bridget (12:38) rank 6th, 8th, and 10th on the freshman list.
The team battle was close with the Lime Green team pulling out the victory with 46 points to top the Blue team who had 51 points. The Lime Green team's scoring five consisted of Tess, Madi, Megan, Noemi, and Silvia.
Again, great job ladies. Keep up the effort. This is simply a small step forward. We still have lots of work to do. However you faired tonight you all need to look for ways to improve and grow, both mentally and physically. We can be great!!
1972 Olympic Marathon Champ Frank Shorter Learn a little about of our newest fans and one of America's Greatest Distance Runners FRANK SHORTER PROFILE
Some of our girls got the amazing opportunity to spend an hour at Mr. Shorter's home in Boulder, Co. this summer. Special thanks to Mrs. Lynch for setting up this meeting and to the Wasowicz family for their fantastic efforts in organizing the training trip to Keystone.
August 19, 2012 - Teams battle out in Annual Banana Split Relays
In what is now in its 11th year, members of the girls and boys squads were matched up (actually one of the most amusing parts of the morning) to do battle in the Banana Split Relays. For these Relays a boy and girl are paired up to complete 6 x 1 Mile workout, while trading off turns to each complete 3 x 1 Mile. Overall times are estimated by Coach Quick and myself and then seeded by overall time. Those teams that are fastest (paired varsity girls/boys) start at set intervals times and play catch-up the entire workout. Those teams that are seeded as the slower teams (JV/Frosh/Etc.) have a big head start and have to try to hang on to their lead. In the end you get a workout that takes a total of anywhere from 33:00 to 45:00, depending on the team, converging into most teams finishing within one minute of each other, with some girls hanging on and others passing all they can.
In the end the initial winners were not to be. Sophomore Tim Geary and junior Cynthia Siddiqui looked to steal the show. After being seeded as one of the slowest teams, they appeared to hang on, passing a few slower teams ahead of them and holding off the hard-charging varsity pairs. However it was discovered that Tim started one minute earlier than his set start interval and they would be DQ'd, a Banana Split first. Winners ended up being the second team across the line, in freshman Adam Smith and sophomore Carley Lynch with a total 6 x Mile time of 42:48. Taking the other award places were Dean Roehrborn & Dudzile Ndhlovu (42:52 for 2nd) and Argeni Bailon & Cassidy McPherson (42:58 for 3rd). Each team member was awarded the choice of either a Brooks stocking cap or a spike bag.
On the left teams are paired up for the Banana Split Relays...and future Homecoming dates ;-)
On the right are winners of the 2012 edition of the Banana Split Relays, Adam Smith and Carley Lynch
Overall this was another successful workout for the girls crew. Nice weather added to a great atmosphere and helped with very good performances by many. We had one our deepest performances ever (perhaps the best ever...I'll have to dig into the archives), but definitely the best of my four year tenure as head coach. (see chart below) You can see we will need to close the gap up top if we want to content with the state trophy teams of '09 & '10, but the promising thing is it looks like we may have the depth to just do that.
Our top five (Tess, Jessica, Cassidy, Liz, & Kara) averaged 17:51 as a quintet, which ranks them 3rd all-time (click for team rankings below) and four of those top five ran or tied their best for this workout, with Liz Cox just off her best from last year. After that we had a ton of girls with great drops on time led by sophomore Amy Kieliszewski, who had a breakout workout at 18:51. Below are the girls who had the best improvements of the team.
Other notables were the fact we had twelve girls run times that make them All-time Top 50 performers and seventeen girls ran times that rank them in the top 30 of their respective class. This group in included four freshman that ran very respectably. Morgan Balog (20:45), Kelly O'Brien (21:02), Rebecca Duran (21:16), and Bridget Silveira (21:19) ran times that now rank them as the 12th, 15th, 18th, and 19th best freshman performances ever. To put that into perspective Ruth Allen ('10), Courtney Brown ('11), Ellen Smith ('12), Jessica Lincoln, Colllen Standridge ('08), Becca Sund ('11), and Sarah McIntosh ('11) each ran 23:06, 22:26, 21:45 , 21:11, 21:25, 20:42, and 20:14 as freshman. Five of these girls went onto to run in the state meet as freshman, with all eventually doing so. These girls ended up totaling close to twenty XC & Track All-State medals amongst them. Meager beginnings can lead to greatness, these girls are great examples of what hard work can accomplish.
While we had some great performances, we did have some newbie's getting their first taste of this workout. Quite a daunting task for anyone, much less someone very new to high school running. You girls that struggled on your first attempt, keep your head up, keep working and you will see great gains. Current junior Madi Berg totaled 25:21 (8:27 mile pace) for the more manageable 6 x 800m as a freshman, totaled 21:05 for 3 x mile last year as a sophomore....and ran 19:43 for 3 x mile this year. This is possible for all of you, but requires commitment, dedication, and the desire to get better as a runner.
Proud of all of you on your efforts yesterday. Keep working to the best of your abilities each day, make good daily choices, and support one another. Go Pirates!!
August 16, 2012 - Girls complete Annual 1 Mile Time Trial
For what has now been a 20+ year tradition for the Lady Pirates XC squad, the girls completed our annual August time trial at Deer Grove this evening. We've found this to be a great way to start the season off and begin to see what kind of team we have in the making. It gives a chance for girls that have trained all summer to test their new found fitness, a chance for returning sophomores and second year girls to see just how much they've grown after being in our program for a whole year, and gives us a chance to get a glimpse of the newest Pirates in our program. However, most importantly tonight was a good starting point for all. It's been a long time since most have really exerted themselves and this was a start toward really getting ourselves ready to race.
Overall results were quite impressive. We have records that go back to 1993 and this was our deepest year on record for girls going under 6:00. Awesome!! I was actually shocked myself. In simply comparing tonight's performance to last year it was astounding. First off we still averaged a very comparable Top 5 average (5:30 last year to 5:31 tonight), but our depth is what was really the telling story. Last year we had only six girls run 6:00 or better....tonight we had 13 at 5:59 or better. Last year we only had eight girls at 6:11 or better....tonight we had 19 girls at 6:10 or better. Really really good stuff.
Individually we had some great efforts and big improvements over last year. Tess tied Amy Laskowske for the top time ever with her 5:18, while Kara, Kelly, Megan, Madi, Amy, Ana Maria, Silvia, Lisa, and Cynthia all had improvements of :30 or greater. Cynthia took top honors for most improved with a 1:37 improvement over her 2011 time.
We had some really solid performances from some of our freshman as well. Bridget (6:08), Morgan (6:10), and Rebecca (6:23) all ran times that rank them in the top-30 freshman performers all-time for this August time trial. They each rank 15th, 17th, and 28th respectively on that list. Full proof of the benefits of running our summer Early Bird program. Great job ladies.
Again, this is just a starting point. We all should be looking to get better and better. This will take much time and much hard work and perseverance. You all have the potential for great things this season. Support one another. Push one another. Be disciplined. Believe in yourself and your teammates. Make each and every day count. The season will go fast. Have no regrets. Your coaches believe in you all and believe we can do great things as a team this season.