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Madeline Qualifies for State

The Deerfield Warriors made the long trek to Woodstock to compete in the Sectional Meet at Emricson Park.  After a successful run at the Regional Meet, the reality of this meet was it would take our best effort plus a little but of luck to advance as a team.

We were placed in the toughest Sectional in the state and the course was incredibly challenging.  Hilly and technical, there is no point on the course where you're not going up, down, or navigating trecherous footing.  Given all that, we did our part and had our best team race of the year.  The emphasis was to try and hold back during the long and slightly downhill initial straightaway.  The course would demand a lot of energy and the girls wanted to convserve some of that for later.  It does not provide a good visual when you occupy the back of the pack early on, but the Warriors had the confidence they would be moving up and that's exactly what Deerfield did.  All of our girls were continually passing people as the race went on and each checkpoint painted an ever-improving picture.

In the end, Deerfield finished in 9th place.  Only 7 teams qualify for the State Championship, so this meant the end of the season for the team as a whole.  There were no hanging heads though as the efforts were something to be proud of.  We were seeded 10th heading into the meet, and improved upon that by one place including beating a team ranked 19th in the state.  As an aside, the 7 teams that qualified for State all finished in the top 11 at the Championship showing just how tough this Sectional was.

The best news of the day came hours after the race had compelted.  Technical difficulties led to a prolonged delay before results were posted.  When they finally were, the results showed Madeline claimed the 10th and final individual qualifying spot for State.  Madeline was heading to Peoria.  She ran a gutsy race at Emricson and followed through on exactly what she had to do.  We estimated a top 30 finish would give her a chance to qualify and with less than a mile left, she sat in 31st place.  Madeline hung tough through a technical descent and emerged still in 31st.  With 400 meters left, the runners disappear into the wooded trail and at that point Madeline still had work to do.  She reappeared with a 200 m uphill finish and let all her training come to a head with a kick that showed desire and tenacity.  Passing a group of 4, that last kick is what sealed her trip to State.

The following week at Detweiller Park, Madeline ended her high school cross country career in fine fashion.  She accomplised a 2-year goal by breaking 19 minutes.  Her time of 18:58 placed her 73rd in State and put her #9 on our all time top 10 list.