If you were a girls cross country and track & field fan during the 2015-16 school season, you undoubtedly witnessed masterpieces weekend and weekout. The source of such fine racing was courtesy of Judy Pendergast of Naperville North. The Huskies superstar burned the cross country courses across the state and national landscape. At the state championship, Pendergast became the first Illinois girl to break 16:00 with a sizzling 15:53.8 on the legendary Detweiller Park course. Pendergast would go on to set the Leverne-Gibson course record in Terre Haute, Indiana at Midwest Nike Cross Regional meet. Eventually, Pendergast would finish 8th at NXN and 4th at Footlocker Nationals.
The track was just as nice for Pendergast who ran state all-time indoor best 10:11.56 and 4:49.30 at the time. She also clocked 10:07.56 outdoors in April before bowing out of the state series with an ankle injury.
Pendergast moved on to Harvard University where she competed in the NCAA Cross Country championships as a freshman (176th). Indoors she would run one of the fastest marks for a freshman in the 5k (15:52.64).
According to Judy's father Sean Pendergast, the transfer from Harvard to Oregon will be seen as a great strategic move:
"The coaching change at Harvard was the impetus for her looking at her options. I'm really proud of how Judy handled the whole process. Very diligent, very organized, very focused. In the end, Oregon gives her the best opportunity to achieve her goals. It's the gold standard for running. She loved Harvard, still loves it, and thrived there athletically and academically. However, we are all excited to become part of the Duck family, and can't wait to watch Judy chase her dreams."