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Tony Jones

Girls AAA Rankings-
Week #9
(State recap)


Week #7 Rankings (Final Regular Season Rankings)
1. Geneva
2. Palatine
3. Hinsdale Central
4. Naperville North
5. Lisle (Benet Academy)
6. Orland Park (Sandburg)
7. Elmhurst (York)
8. Hoffman Estates
9. Buffalo Grove
10. LaGrange (Lyons Twp)
11. St. Charles East
12. Chicago Whitney Young
13. Lockport
14. Wheaton-Warrenville South
15. Roselle (Lake Park)
16. Bartlett
17. Downers Grove South
18. Schaumburg
19. Frankfort (Lincoln-Way East)
20. New Lenox (Lincoln-Way Central)
21. Woodstock
22. Naperville (Neuqua Valley)
23. Naperville Central
24. Huntley
25. Arlington Heights (Hersey)

Girls AAA Top 25 recap
11/8 (state recap)

1. Geneva: 2,3,10,12,24, (50), (74)= 51.  The US#4/Nike Cross National Midwest #1 squad turned in the most dominating state meet performance ever by perhaps the best team to ever grace and lace them up at the historic Detweiller Park.  There, of course, was a strong Wheeling team back in 1984 led by the great Dana Miroballi.  Those Wildcats ran wild on their competition with four all-staters, including three in the top ten.  This Geneva team is better because they matched the same intensity for three miles not 2.1.  This state championship was especially sweet because it seems like it is much harder for girls to repeat as champions because of the physical factor.  Last year, the Geneva crew blitzed the competition with a mostly freshman posse.  This time the girls were a year older and some have grown and matured but… jump forward and take a look at coach Bob Thomsen.  He is an unassuming coach who coaches both genders with different approaches- and it has to be that way.  There has been some give and take over the course of a long campaign that begins after track season ends.  Some of the girls play basketball- like superstar Kelly Whitley.  “It hasn’t been the easiest thing to keep them all happy.  We ran an inter-squad meet at the beginning of the season and that brought tears to some [of the girls] who thought they might lose their spots [from last year’s championship]”, said Thomsen.  But isn’t the mark of a great team is competition right no matter how good right?  “But at the beginning of the year we said there were no guarantee from one year to the next on what’s going to happen” added Thomsen.  So, it appears every spot is up for grabs.  Ultimately, it’s about the top seven, but with the Vikings it’s about the top 12.

2. Hinsdale Central: 6,26,39,47,48, (80), (101)= 166.  Last week a sort of challenge was issued to the leadership of this team.  This is a very talented team that fell out of the trophy picture last year after winning it all in 2006.  Well, coach Mark McCabe’s upperclassmen did not disappoint.  Elaine Kuckertz stepped it up and produced her third straight all-state performance- all top ten finishes.  There were no finishes as big as this one.  She finished 6th in 17:17- a personal best effort as she overtook St. Charles East’s Lizzy Hynes in the final 50 meters for good measure.  The other characters include Graylin Harrison, Rosemary “Roey” Hines, Katie Kummerer, and Heather Stevens.  They all finished less than a minute behind Kuckertz in the upper pack.  In fact, the 2-5 split was an amazing 16 seconds!  Once again the Red Devils got the job done when it most mattered.
3. St. Charles East:
7,29,51,54,56, (109), (112)= 197.  Every team has a story to tell whether the outcome is good or bad.  For the Saints to be in this position after being on life support in recent years is simply amazing.  The far western Chicago suburb located on the Fox River had just one top 10 finish in the new millennium.  Second year coach and esteem alum Denise Hefferin explains it best: “We’ve known for a while the girls had what it took to “steal” a trophy down in Peoria.  [The young women] put in the training this summer and fall, they took all the necessary precautions to protect themselves from injury, but most importantly they believed in themselves and each other and refused to settle for anything less than they knew they were capable of.  They didn’t mind being underrated all year because it gave them the “no-pressure” situation to go in and “surprise the field.”  Starting at [the UEC meet] our 3-7 really began clumping together- near the FRONT and that was the turning point between us going down state to compete for top 5 [status] and us competing to be on stage.  You can never expect to take home a trophy- even Geneva had to go out and execute their race [plan] in order to be re-crowned champions. And on the line, I told the girls that I knew what it felt to be nervously awaiting the sound of the gun.  I knew what it was like to go and compete among the state’s elite, [and] I knew what it took to come home with a trophy, and I KNEW they had it in them- all that was left was to let it happen, and they did! Once again, our 3,4,5 pack (Grace Gordon, Holly Robertson, Dayna White) were the difference makers for us.  I haven’t [seen the numbers yet], but I know we won third in the last mile, and it is because of the number of runners these three [young women] passed all the way through the finish [chute].  Team scores: they finished 51,54,56- you can’t ask for much tighter than that!  I think the 3-7 runners often get overlooked in XC, but not on our team.  Everyone knows they are why we took home that trophy yesterday!  I couldn’t be more happy for the girls or more proud to be a SAINT!”  Very well said.

4. Naperville North: 19,31,45,53,61, (64), (78)= 209.  After last week’s squeaker to get into the big dance at the St. Charles East sectional, the venerable coach Dan Iverson appeared disappointed in the effort, but revealed they would be ready for the state championship.  They indeed were ready as the Huskies finished a strong 4th overall and challenged for a trophy before a determined St. Charles East team overtook them in the last mile.  Still, the Lady Huskies produced a smile on their coach’s face on a gloomy, cold day.  Michelle Stratton led the charges with all-state performance in 23rd.  The bigger story was the 1-7 squad effort, which had the second best overall composite of any team in the field.  The 1-5 split was 40 seconds (which is great) and the 2-5 split was 18 seconds.  It was easy to see why coach Iverson was very proud of his team.

5. Mt. Prospect (Prospect):
11,30,44,68,72, (107), (129)= 225.  This writer received a forecast from Mr. Jack White (father of Annette White) and he simply stated the following: “Prospect High School in Mt. Prospect finished third in the tough Schaumburg Sectional… [plus] Annette White has led this team in a tough conference and has run right up with top ranked girls like [Sarah] McIntosh (Palatine), [Olivia] Jones (Buffalo Grove), and [Christina] Gastfield (Rolling Meadows).”  I stand corrected on overlooking the Knights and White.  It was noted, though, that they had some outstanding performances during the season such as the Peoria Invite, but no so good in other meets during the crucial point in the season.  The state championship is the most important meet of the season, and for Prospect that meant all the harriers needed to have an outstanding performance.  For starters, Annette White placed 13th overall in 17:28 for her team.  The 59 second scoring split ended with Laura Maibeucher in 18:27.  In between 1 and 5 were outstanding efforts from Emily Salzman, Savannah Snead, and Kasey Krum.  The Prospect pack had been mostly known for their exploits on the track in the 4x800 relay.  They ran a blazing 9:11 to place second at state- with Salzman on the anchor.  Now, they placed among the elite of distance runners in the three-mile run arena.

6. Orland Park (Sandburg): 9,25,28,84,87, (93), (170)= 233.  The Eagles lived up their billing as the 6th best team on paper.  However, their late season charges suggested they wanted much more.  The southwestern Chicago suburban team fell just 36 pts short of that order.  The first three Eaglettes ran as well as expected with an all-state performance from Kim Christensen’s 11th place finish.  Elise Prieto and Sarah Czuprynski ran together throughout the race in 17:51 and 18:00.  Sandburg was ticketed for at least second until… 3-5 legs.  There isn’t a prudent answer as to what occurred but untimely performances from Erin Czuprynski and Nikki Gleisner.  Sandburg graduate just one runner and will be a force for 2009.

7. Palatine: 4,21,41,67,111, (133), (145)= 244.  The outgoing legend Steve Currins did expect another top 10 finish, but perhaps he expected at the very least a top 5 finish.  For leadoffs, Sarah McIntosh bounced back and ran extremely well placed 4th in a personal best effort of 17:10.  She was able to live up to the expectation and hype that others set for her.  It is most assumed that she lived up to her own expectations as well.  Ruth Allen grabbed the last all-state spot- 25th and her best performance of the season.  Unfortunately, things did not all come together.  Courtney Brown has been running as the team’s #2 runner most of the season.  On Saturday she finished as the #6 runner.  The 2-5 split was 1:18 and that was the underlying reason why the Pirates    stayed out of the trophy position.

8. LaGrange (Lyons Twp):
13,27,46,59,100, (121), (130)= 245.  Katherin Rehn earned her first all-state honor with a 16th place finish.  Kelsey Kilrea also contributed a solid mark.   Despite losing some firepower with the graduations of Keegan Kilrea and the ever dependable Jane Simpson, the Lions were still formable and nabbed another top 10 finish.

9. Elmhurst (York): 17,42,52,63,77, (90), (135)= 251.   The team 1-5 split of 57 seconds was started by Meghan Frigo’s 21st place- an all star performance and was closed by her freshman sister Michelle.  In between, the Lady Dukes ran extremely well and received top notch performances from Shari Lund, Shreya Singh, and Kayla Spencer.

10. Palos Hills (Stagg):
34,40,43,75,76, (174), (175)= 268.  Solid pack running contributed to the Chargers running well.  The Moylan sisters Krista and Kara along with Theresa Kurth took control of the top pack and Ashley Shares and Theresa Coverick closed out the scoring sheet.  The 1-5 split of was 32 seconds and the difference between top ten and finishing 11th like last year.

11. Wheaton-Warrenville South:
37,38,57,58, 115, (123), (126)= 305.  Lauren Mordini and Colleen Gibbon ran together throughout the race and nearly broke into the top 50 with 50th and 51st finishes.  Every team is usually defined by something.  The Tigers are known for pack running and eating away on other’s team scores.  The 1-4 split was 11 seconds!  But it takes a fifth runner to complete the scoring.  Uh Oh!  The fifth runner Katheryn Skibbons completed a great 45 second gap.  This was better than expected and tops the sectional mark that was just under 1:00.  Unfortunately, at the state meet, a ton of runners can fleece up a team score from #4 to #5.  This is what happened here as 78 runners passed through by before checking out.  Might have the Tigerettes placed in the top 10? Perhaps.

12. Hoffman Estates:
14,16,71,91,124, (153), (167)= 316.  The Hawks got two fine performances from Melissa Schmidt and Hanna Worman.  They goosed stepped together through mile splits of 5:34 and 5:35 and remained locked together before Schmidt pulled away seconds from the finish chute in 18th and Worman in 20th overall.  Senior Kathy Kenley ended her career with a personal best time of 18:25.  Some others such as Gaby Duenas didn’t feel well down the stretch of the race.  She got perfectly through the first mile in 5:40 and coming out of the triangle, she was in position to place will but slid to a 120th finish.  Coach Kirk Macnider had higher aspirations for his team in the program’s first state appearance in some time.  But he also realizes that this is just step one of what could be a nice run for the Hawks.

13. Schaumburg:
8,22,65,85,139, (140), (159)= 319.  The Saxons season was salvaged with the return of Karen Lesiewicz and several others.   Schaumburg utilized it's strength in the name of Collette Falsey and Britten Petrey.  Falsey garnered all-state honors  with a great 9th place finish while MSL foe Ruth Allen of Palatine stopped Petrey from getting the last honors spot.  Petrey was 26th.  The rest of the unit contributed well to the benefit of a team that will be super in 2009.

14. Roselle (Lake Park):
1,32,83,103,105, (122), (127)= 324.  Lindsay Flanagan’s first place finish went a long way in providing the Lancers a spot in the top 15.  Juliet Vogel helped the cause with a 41st place finish.    Overall, the unit performed fairly well.

15. Lisle (Benet Academy):
15,60,70,92,113, (131), (154)= 350.  It was revealed pre-meet that the Red Wings had the potential to place in the top 10 and perhaps even slightly higher if a number of factors took place.  McKinzie Schulz needed to be all-stater or better.  She met the individual and team goal by positioning herself well among the top 10 during the first mile and continued to maintain herself among the top 20 throughout the race.  Her teammates for the most part ran fairly well.  The 2-5 runners Jenny Bohac, Meghan Murphy, Liz Schreiber, and Nini Marchese were in tow, seven seconds apart of one another through the first mile- good middle of the pack positioning.  Excluded was #2 runner Katie Porada, she was leading the group through 1.5 miles before fading badly down the stretch for the second week in a row.  She was taken away by EMT as a precaution just shortly after her race.  The existing 2-5 team split was a very good 41 seconds.  The “X” factor Molly Allen finished a disappointing 20 seconds behind the group despite running with the unit for a portion of the race.  Porada’s drop back was worth an estimated 70 point swing.  That perhaps would have meant 10th or 11th overall in the final standings.

16. Bartlett:
5,35,108,110,120, (141), (155)= 378.  All season long the Hawks were treading on thin ice for a team that was vying for elite status.  They were tremendous and perhaps the deepest at the 1,2,3 spots in the state with Alyssa Schneider, Sam Salinas, and Kristen Schneider.  All three had beat any all comer set, and they even challenged the likes of the vaulted Geneva team at sectionals.  Usually the formula was to finish within one minute 1-3 to offset the awful 1-5 split that sometimes ran 3:00, but had dropped down to slightly over 2:00 in the post-season- still too high for a team seeking to place in the top 10.  A. Schneider lived up to her top billing and earned elite status in finishing 5th overall and even splitting her race for a tremendous time: 17:11.  Salinas ran reasonably well in 48th overall.  Here is where things turned for the worst for the Hawks: K. Schneider got out well with Salinas through the first mile and on pace to place around the usual spot with her teammate.  Instead, she slowed somewhere in the “Bermuda Triangle” and never fully recovered.  The remaining scoring pack are freshman who ran together through the first mile in 6:00.  The Hawks will return 4 of their top 7 in 2009 and hopefully the experience gained in their first state championship will go a long way in achieving more.

17. Buffalo Grove:
33,73,79,89,118, (147), (169)= 392.  It’s not for known for certain whether or not the Bisons got the chills or were overwhelmed in their first state championship.  They were expected to finish in perhaps the top 5-10 slots.  The team 1-4 split was a solid 41 seconds with freshman Olivia Jones leading in 44th overall.  Although the 1-5 split was just under one minute, the scoring pack got out way too conservative in the 5:50’s.  It’s too hard to make up ground in a field as strong as the state championship.

18. Chicago (St. Ignatius):
18,49,62,146,151, (156), (160)= 426.  It’s not how you start but how you finish.  The Wolfpack flew totally under everyone’s radar despite having a tremendous year.  Their lowest finish of the year was the season opener at Fenton Early Bird Invite in 6th.  They ran a tremendous race at the Niles West Sectional finishing 4th and qualifying for the state championship for the first time since 1991.  Alec Brumfield is the team’s #1 runner.  She set a school record in the sectional.  At state, Brumfield exceeded expectations that others outside of the St. Ignatius clan.  Brumfield ran the first mile in 5:40 enroute to all state honors in 21st place.  Her teammates ran well with two others placing in the top 90: Jennifer White- 66th and Colleen McNulty at 82nd. 

19. Chicago Whitney Young:
23,66,96,116,137, (143), (162)= 438.  The Dolphins had dreams of finishing as high as the top five on the onset of the season after running well for 14th in the 2007 state edition.  The CPS’ finest came off of a tremendous track season and were rearing to go after a strong summer of training.  It is always a plus to have solid credentials to boot: juniors Lavinia Jurkiewicz and Devyn Thompson were all state runners last year.  WY’s strong schedule led them to Detweiller, but something wasn’t quite right. It appeared as if all cylinders were not working at the same time.  When the race was under way, it looked as if what was drawn up on paper did not go according to plan.  The scorers were not together.  Jurkiewicz was a solid 5:40 for the first mile, Thompson was a respectable 5:47, Maisie Vachuska ran 5:57, Rachel Joravsky came through the first checkpoint in 5:53, and Veronica Roznyek was 5:57.  That’s 17 seconds and way in the back of the pack and looking up at a tremendous amount of runners.  Jurkiewicz was able to move well of traffic upon exiting the backwoods, but Thompson seemed to have trouble getting around crowds of runners, thus tiring a lot sooner than expected.  Joravsky had some trouble staying with 2-4, perhaps she was still feeling the effects of a sinus infection from earlier in the season.  The team 1-5 split of 1:37 was not important as the middle mile where the group lost contact with each other and the race.

20. Park Ridge (Maine South):
20,81,117,119,134, (148), (149)= 471.  Kristen Zillmer and Colleen Gavin led their team respectfully with 24th and 109th overall placings.  Zillmer earned all-state honors for the second year in a row, streaking from a four-week momentum ride. The Hawks achieved a top 20 finish and that should be news worthy for a team that no one pegged to even advance to state.

21. Frankfort (Lincoln-Way East):
82,86,98,106,114, (128), (138)= 486.  The good news is the Griffins put together a great 1-5 split of 19 seconds, the best of any team in the field.  The bad news is they were too far away from any contenders to make a difference.  Maggie Sutor led her team in 110th place.

22. New Lenox (Lincoln-Way Central):
88,94,97,125,136, (157), 163)= 540.   The Knights are probably pretty pleased the season is over after losing to their county rivals for the 5th time this year.  Monica Hahn is one of the state’s elite runners and she had an opportunity to place in the top 10 or even better, and possibly put a stop to the bleeding.  For the first time in her high school career she fell outside of being the team’s top finisher.  She had been battling an awful cold that struck at the absolute wrong time.  Unfortunately, it won out over the heart of a champion and reduced her to 124th place.  Otherwise, coach Matt Bowden was pleased with his 2-5 runners.  Three of them ran seasonal bests.

23. O’Fallon:
69,99,102,142,144, (161), (164)= 556.  Chelsea Hendrix led her team with a 92nd overall finish in 18:25.  The effort was very respectable in a fine field.  The Tigers as a whole did appear to be overmatched as their 1-5 split was 59 seconds- not bad but the pack was near the very back most of the race.  O’Fallon is a team that can compete with the top 15 in the state, but some internal issues and sicknesses caused what was supposed to be a breakout performance somewhat of a disappointment.

24. Minooka: 36,95,132,152,158, (166), (168)= 573.  Rachel Williams ran fairly well to keep the Indians clear of the final spot.  She placed 49th in 18:05.

25. Normal Community:
55,104,150,165,171, (172), (173)= 646.  Marie O’Leary was expected to content for an all-state medal but she may had a recurrence of an illness.  The fairly young NC team gained valuable state meet experience for the future.  It also should be noted that Normal C. is one of the smallest teams population wise in the field.

2008 Class AAA Girls State Individual Recap

1. Lindsay Flanagan Sr. Roselle (Lake Park)-
[pre-season rank: #1]- STATE CHAMPION 16:54 {5:19, 8:10- 1.5m, 11:08, 14:00- 2.5m}- just after the first half mile, it was over. Flanagan never appeared to get the challenge that she needed to break the course record of 16:36. Plus, the weather conditions would not allow it considering wind gusts of 25 to 30 mph much of the day. Flanagan is a champion because she respects her competition and she likes competing. She indicated afterwards that winning the state championship was a dream come true. She also glowed about running on the national stage. She will surely get all the competition that she needs in the next few weeks.

2. Kelly Whitley So. Geneva-
[7] 17:07 {5:27, 8:17, 11:20, 14:16}- another great second place effort. Her father, James, said, “never bet against her” after she lost her first race of the season at West Aurora in October. He was right. Kelly got back to her winning ways and won the remaining races of the season except the state championship. She competed a wonderful Illinois campaign and will look to compete against some of the best talent in the Midwest at the Nike Cross Nationals in Terre Haute, Indiana.

3. Sarah Heuer Sr. Geneva
[No Rank] 17:08 {5:27, 8:17, 11:20, 14:16}- ran step for step with her teammate Whitley until getting outkicked. In fact, Heuer ran stride for stride with Whitley the last few races of the season. The Minnesota transfer/all-state runner lived up to her top billing.

4. Sarah McIntosh So. Palatine [11] 17:10- last week’s sub-par finish was indeed an aberration. McIntosh got out well with the lead pack and stayed glued the entire way. She separated herself from finishers 5-7 with just a half mile to go. She closed the gap slightly on Whitley and Heuer and was comfortably settled into the four spot.

5. Alyssa Schneider So. Bartlett [NR] 17:12- the track star blazed way into the long distance cross country arena. Schneider is an accomplished miler (5:00) but had a terrific season. She finished things in great style by holding off a slew of great talent.

6. Elaine Kuckertz Sr. Hinsdale Central
[5] 17:17- completed her senior cross career by passing Hynes on the final straight and securing three straight top 10 finishes.

7. Elizabeth “Lizzy” Hynes Sr. St. Charles East
[2] 17:20- the senior completes four straight all state honors. The fact that she helped her team earn a third place team trophy makes the individual effort more sweeter.

8. Christina Gastfield So. Rolling Meadows [NR] 17:23- the last time she visited Detweiller Park was at the Peoria Central Invite in October. She came away with a victory. That experience afforded the confidence she could run with anyone. Coach James Voyles also felt running against some of the best competition week end and week out was a significant reason for being among the top 10 runners at state.

9. Colette Falsey So. Schaumburg-
[NR] 17:24- another great effort from an MSL harrier. Falsey produced one of the best efforts from a Saxon runner in a long time.

10. Kristina Aubert Jr. Crystal Lake South
[8] 17:25- finished two places lower than last year but was two seconds faster. This was definitely Aubert’s best state meet effort considering she had to battle some health issues during much of the season.

11. Kimberly Christensen Jr. Orland Park (Sandburg) [NR] 17:26- not quite a top 10 finish but a significant improvement from last year’s 38th place effort.

12. Meghan Heuer Jr. Geneva
[NR] 17:28- became the third all star runner for the Vikings. Heuer also her older sister in getting on the medal stand. She did it with the help of teammate Tess Ehrhardt. They ran together the same way Whitley and S. Heuer.

13. Annette White Jr. Mt. Prospect
(Prospect) [23] 17:28- ran an awesome race and split up the Geneva duo of Ehrhardt and M. Heuer.

14. Tess Ehrhardt So. Geneva
[NR]- 17:28- became the fourth Geneva all-state athlete.

15. Megan O’Brien Fr. Lockport
[NR] 17:30- finished a great first year campaign after the departure of former teammate Janna Mitsos.

16. Katherine Rehn Jr. LaGrange
(Lyons Twp) [NR] 17:31- 41st last year to all state this year. Earlier in the season, Rehn revealed she had an issue iron levels. She did a tremendous job in overcoming that set back.

17. Elise Beattie Jr. Woodstock
[NR] 17:33- overshadowed by her younger sister Kayla last year to finishing very strong in the last mile finish among top 20.

18. Melissa Schmidt Jr. Hoffman Estates
[NR] 17:35- ends her first high school high school season very successfully. She and teammate Worman ran together the entire race.

19. McKinzie Schulz Jr. Lisle (Benet Academy) [9] 17:36- Schulz gave a super effort that put her back into the spotlight. She missed out on the state meet sweepstakes last season, but she rebounded wonderfully. The cold weather is not Schulz’s best climate to compete in but she was able to give her a wonderful effort. She literally had nothing left at the end of the race, “I gave it my best” said Schulz as she was being held together by a teammate and friend.

20. Hanna Worman Jr. Hoffman Estates
[NR] 17:36- ran step for step with teammate Schmidt until the very end.

21. Meghan Frigo Jr. Elmhurst (York)
[24] 17:38- a top 10 runner most of the season was Frigo until she faded late in the season. Fortunately, the season was not lost from an individual standpoint.

22. Alec Brumfield Sr. Chicago (St. Ignatius)
[NR] 17:39- Brumfield may be the biggest surprise here. She was unranked all season until going into the state meet. She ran beautifully at the Niles West Sectional by capturing second place. At state she employed the same upfront running style that garnered all-state status.

23. Michelle Stratton Sr. Naperville North
[16] 17:39- although she was struck by some untimely bad luck in the middle of the season that caused her stock to drop. Fortunately, she was able to rebound and lead her team to another top 5 finish. The icing on the cake is all-state honors for the outgoing senior.

24. Kristen Zillmer Jr. Park Ridge (Maine South)
[19] 17:40- for much of the season Zillmer laid low and stayed under the radar until the right time. It was winning her conference meet that started it off in the right direction. Also, going victorious at the Loyola Academy Regional set up the Niles West Sectional. Zillmer “only” finished 8th but it was a tough field. The confidence there allowed her to believe she could achieve more at state. She was able to get out fast and avoid the traps that many of her peers could not avoid.

25. Ruth Allen Jr. Palatine-
[NR] 17:40- came to life the last three weeks grab the final all-state spot. It’s always an emotional time when one is notified of such. It was most appreciated by Allen. She ran her best and gave her team an opportunity to earn a team trophy, and to compliment teammate Sarah McIntosh.

Summary: the race got out very courtesy of Flanagan fast despite very cold and windy conditions. Down the 600 meter straight a stream of over 200 runners went past a flock of a few thousand fans that were lining the course. Flanagan already had a three to four second advantage as she passed the first half-mile. Soon after Geneva's Whitley and Heuer passed the first check point in 2:33, a herd of runners rumbled behind. The first mile was a solo effort by Flanagan in the fastest ever time opening by an Illinois girl (previously it was 5:25 by Caitlin Bastert of Carthage) in 5:19. The first chasers were Heuer and Whitley in 5:27. Another stream of runners that included Heather Olson (Gurnee Warren) in the upper 5:30's. As the race entered the back loop the gap between Flanagan and the Geneva duo widened to about seven seconds. Flanagan passed the halfway mark in 8:10 and she was on record pace. Coming out of the "Bermuda Triangle", Flanagan was met by a fleet of enduring fans that were cheering wildly, but at the same time the stiff winds were becoming a factor. The pace of the race did slow but not the lead. Flanagan crossed 2m in approximately 11:08 while stretching her lead to double digits. The Geneva duo checked in about 11:20 and a long line of runners coming through under 12:00. With just 800 meters to go, Flanagan was at 13:59-14:00. All she needed was 2:35 for the record. But with a 16 second lead and the weather conditions worsening, it appeared as though securing the win was more important. Several times in recent years leads have not been safe, so it was important to maintain stride and not over do it. Flanagan continued to run up the final 300 meter incline past several thousand clapping fans and into the finish chute for the victory. Whitley pulled away from Heuer to secure another second place finish. Afterwards, a gleeful Flanagan proclamed: " I waited all of my life for this." It's just the beginning of what is to come Flanagan who aspires to be on the national stage.

Questions can be sent to co-editor Tony Jones at [email protected]