Girls Cross Country: Waters turns it on for Lincoln-Way West
By Tim Tierney For Sun-Times Media August 20, 2012 10:22PM
Lincoln-Way West’s Natalie Waters races to a first-place finish Monday. | Tim Tierney~For Sun-Times Media
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Updated: September 22, 2012 6:40AM
Natalie Waters was runner-up at the Lincoln-Way Quad last year by less than a second, but the Lincoln-Way West sophomore didn’t leave any doubt who would be first in the chute this year.
The diminutive and determined Waters led from start to finish Monday at Mokena Main Park, sprinting ahead of the pack through the middle of the park and holding the lead to the end to take first place in 19 minutes, 16 seconds.
“I heard people behind me halfway through the course and I just knew I had to keep on going,’’ said Waters, who won the race by 31 seconds. “I got tired at the end, but it was definitely worth it and a fun race.’’
Lincoln-Way Central’s J.J. Robinson was second (19:47) and Lincoln-Way East’s Kaley McLawhorn finished third (20:28).
“I could see the shadows of some girls,’’ Waters said of an early part of the race. “I knew I had 10 to 15 meters, but you can never feel too safe. You never know what kind of kick a girl has.’’
Lincoln-Way Central won team bragging rights in the district for the third straight year, scoring 32 points to finish ahead of Lincoln-Way East (40), Lincoln-Way West (67) and Lincoln-Way North (98).
Waters ran the course a year ago in 20:38.83, less than a stride behind Central’s Alena Pacheco (20:38.38), whom Waters expected to see at the end this time, too.
“I thought she would be,’’ Waters said. “I didn’t see her at all. I thought I was going to have to battle her out again. I didn’t have to this time.’’
Central’s top five runners were Robinson, Mallory Johnson (fourth, 20:38), Pacheco (seventh, 21:03), Liz Venezio (ninth, 21:28) and Taylor Martinez (10th, 21:42).
“It’s always our goal to start off the season strong by winning this meet and competing hard,’’ Central coach Matt Bowden said. “We take it with a grain of salt — it’s the first meet of the year. The goal is to win this one but also continue improving throughout the season.’’
East’s top five runners were McLawhorn, Kendall Nepote (fifth, 20:44), Sammi Ostmann (sixth, 20:57), Anna Conboy (11th, 21:45) and Bre Cap (15th, 22:30).
Caitlin Broderick was North’s top finisher again in this year’s meet, moving up to eighth (21:09) after placing 10th a year ago.