Girls Cross Country: Marist wants to play in Peoria
By Tim Tierney For Sun-Times Media August 14, 2012 9:00PM
Marist's girls cross country team practices Monday. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media
Cross Country 2012
Illiana Christian: Returns five runners — Alexa Beezhold, Emma Pawlowski, Kristen Brink, Alex Clausing and Monica Smits — from team that was 16th in the 2011 Class 2A state meet. Beezhold (37th, 18:21) is No. 2 returnee in the area from 2A meet.
Lincoln-Way Central: A lot of potential with Alena Pacheco back from an injury, J.J. Robinson from an illness and state meet scorers Taylor Martinez, Heidi Killinger, Elizabeth Venezio, Mallory Johnson and Bridget Sullivan also returning.
Lincoln-Way East: Along with state meet experience from Kaley McLawhorn, Samantha Ostmann, Anna Conboy and Kristy Dertz, freshman Alyssa Vogt, junior Kendall Nepote and sophomore Emily Karl give Griffins some depth.
Lockport: It will be interesting to see how the Porters do after the graduation of All-Staters Megan O’Brien (Northwestern) and Stephanie Sanders (Illinois-Chicago). Sophomore Haley Beaumont could emerge as the leader.
Sandburg: Will be strong again with returnees Jacquelyn Schirmacher, Amber Boyce, Maggie Sobolewski, Lauren Wayne, Caylin Alex, Victoria Small, Annie Lebert and Tina Demogerontas. Carly Krull joins squad from track team.
ONE TO WATCH
Lincoln-Way West’s Natalie Waters won SouthWest Suburban Red and regional titles last year as a freshman. Waters is the top returnee in the area from the 2011 Class 2A state meet (31st, 18:15).
Updated: September 16, 2012 6:15AM
As their cross country preparation began last week, Marist’s girls found themselves on the trails at Dellwood Park in Lockport.
They hope they don’t find themselves there as their season ends.
Dellwood Park is a sectional site that could be in Marist’s path to state — a path the RedHawks never have completed as a team.
“Our ultimate goal this year is to get downstate as a team,” senior team leader Maggie O’Laughlin said. “We’re hoping this would be the first year we finally could do it.”
If the RedHawks make it, O’Loughlin figures to be a large part of the reason. She’s the top returning placer from the Southland in Class 3A, her time of 17 minutes, 26 seconds good for 22nd at the 2011 state meet in Peoria. Teammate Moira McDermott also qualified as an individual (90th, 18:26) and is back for her senior year.
That duo set the tone at Dellwood, a tone that may have echoes in the October sectionals.
“I’m hoping if the sectional is here — it will make it easier,” O’Loughlin said. “My first year it was hard. Now it’s easier, going up the hills and learning to stay steady. The hills are the hardest thing in a course.”
The hardest thing for Marist cross country, though, may be team success. The RedHawks have managed a couple of regional titles, and Lauren Haberkorn was the Class AA individual state champion in 2005, but after watching the Marist softball team shock its way to the Class 4A title in June ...
“We want to be down in Peoria in November at the starting line,” coach Pat Quinn said. “That’s when you begin to get the recognition with the program.
“It’s almost like the girls softball team. Once you get to state, great things can happen.”
Besides O’Loughlin and McDermott, Quinn will be counting on sophomore Annmarie Leonard, junior Julie Yaeger and sophomore Maddie Kelly to likely fill out the top five. Jenna Borza, Katelyn van Buskirk, Catherine Czerpaniak and Catherine Viz will add depth for the RedHawks.
“I’d like them to be happy at the end of the year, to get the feeling they worked as hard as they could and their effort pays off,” Quinn said. “Hopefully, it carries over to the younger kids, new kids that come out — establish a tradition and solidify it.”
That’s a pleasing thought for O’Loughlin, who considers acting as a team leader her way of repaying a debt.
O’Loughlin played basketball and volleyball at St. Christina grammar school, but didn’t start running until before her freshman year. Her mom was a runner at Mother McAuley and encouraged Maggie to run at Marist.
“She says I have the same stride as her, which is kind of funny,” said Maggie, who has Marquette and Butler in mind for college choices.
As a freshman on Marist’s cross country team, O’Loughlin had inspirations all around her, senior examples of training hard and maximizing your potential.
“I remember looking up to them — Ashley Sellers, Jenny Caddicky and Dana Martin — and thinking ‘I want to be like that one day,’ ” O’Loughlin said. “Now I’ve realized I’m that person that people look up to.
“Every day the girls I looked up to were out there trying their best. We’re wanting to be like them, trying hard and not complaining.”