After Yorkville’s 2017 graduation ceremonies, senior girls cross country runner Alyssa Edwards reached a realization.
“I was like, ‘Wow. I’m old,’ ” Edwards said laughing. “We still had our girls running with us (in summer training) so they could train for college. Once they started leaving, it was, ‘Oh my goodness. It’s me now. I’m next.’ ”
With Edwards as their lone senior Saturday, the Foxes again succeeded at Peoria’s Detweiller Park, site of the state meet.
The defending Class 3A state runners-up finished a strong second to defending 3A champion Naperville North 83-109 at a powerful First to the Finish Invitational with eight of the state’s top 10 ranked teams.
Junior Emily Eberhardt was 12th (17:45.4 for 3.0 miles) with Edwards (18:00.5), junior Olivia Borowiak (18:01.1) and freshman Helena Kleronomos (18:04.6) 17th, 18th and 19th and junior Nicole Greyer (18:42.2) 43rd.
“We didn’t necessarily have all of our best races but to still come in second and be such a pack, we’re really excited,” Edwards said.
Edwards already has competed at state three times, beginning with Class 2A title teams in 2014 and 2015, when she was an all-state 13th. Three seniors competed at 2016 state.
Edwards and fellow captains Eberhardt and senior Emily Berge want to help a younger lineup excel.
“I used to look up to all of my upperclassmen. Still to this day,” Edwards said. “(I’ve learned) you’ve just got to work together. You’ve got to believe in the team. You need to want the team to do well for yourself to do well.”
“(Edwards’) leadership has come on strong but we’re also relying on the underclassmen filling those voids,” Yorkville coach Chris Muth said. “They’ve been filling the bill, especially (Kleronomos). She’s definitely come in and fit exactly where we had anticipated.”
Greyer and Borowiak have competed at state twice. An all-state 13th in 2016, Greyer is recovering from injury.
“We didn’t know who our fifth runner was going to be. We didn’t know how (Greyer) was going to feel,” Muth said. “Seeing her there, and the other girls moving up and giving their all, even across the finish line, was a good surprise.”
In the 3A boys race, Oswego East junior Matt Blanco was seventh and the highest finishing non-senior in a personal-record 14:55.4.
“I was more happy with breaking 15:00 because place is always a goal, but a time goal is better,” Blanco said. “I like the course because I think it’s fast. I’m usually not the first up front so (top 10) was a new experience but I liked it. I liked racing up there.”
Oswego East (407) and Yorkville (492) were 12th and 17th. Yorkville senior Zach Price was 58th (15:45.1).