Saturday was a great day to be a cross country runner and fan if you were at Deer Grove East Forest Preserve. The first official day of fall was greeted with temperatures in the upper 50s and lower 60s. It was certainly a welcomed relief for all of those who experienced the 80s and 90s just a few days prior.
The team race coming in pitted several teams ranked inside the top 10 who were ready to battle. #7 Lyons, #9 Oswego, and #10 Barrington have things in common. The first is a front-runner leading the charge as a low stick performer. Lyons' has sophomore Kate Dickman, Oswego has senior Isabelle Christiansen, and Barrington is ready to deploy super sophomore Molly Fitzpatrick into action. The second is all three squads have solid packs and a closing #5 runner.
It took about a mile to witness that something serious was unfolding. Dickman had situated herself among the top girls and scoring mates were in the lead chasing pack in about 5:55. While on paper that does not seem to be anything special, it did position them in a striking spot for the next two miles. Oswego, on the other hand, was spread out too much and that is dangerous in a big invite field. The same happened with Barrington with only #2 girl junior Alyssa Norris
intact. The Lion's scoring pack put together a solid 1:00 finish on the strength of Dickman's third-place finish. But the 2-5 scorers Marta Kogucki, Maggie Abbs, Sarah Barcelona, and Claire Williams hung together for most of the race and ran level-headed. The outcome saw the score lopsided 87 points in Lyons' favor. Barrington beat out rival #12 Palatine 151-163 for second place.
Fitzpatrick initially thought she would battle Alice Abbott of St. Charles East. But Abbott and her team were at a new meet instead. Fitzgerald immediately went to work leading the first mile in a comfortable 5:35. She would soon take off and run solo the remainder of the race and coast home in 16:52- just a few ticks off of the all-time record and 32 seconds ahead of sophomore Anne Marie Jordan of Palatine.