Class A Girls State Preview: New Names Aim To Take Over

Date: 11/9/2019
Location: Detweiller Park; Peoria, IL
Course: 3.0 miles
Race Time: 9a
Awards ceremony: 11a at the Detweiller Park venue
Weather forecast: The climes are expected to be 38F and mostly sunny with the wind SSW 12 MPH. It should be a pleasant feel for the runners once they are off and rolling.
Media coverage: Live updates all meet day long beginning at 8a. Follow us on twitter at Milesplit Illinois, @milesplitil, Instagram ---> shout us out using hashtag #ihsaxc19
MileSplit IL 50 Rankings: Read Here
Opening act: 20 of the 26 teams are ranked in the final poll and there were three others that were in the Milesplit IL rankings at some during the season. This ultimately means that a great exhibition of talent will be on display.

This could be one of the best championships ever-
New classification changes prior to the start of the school year have landed some top-notch talent and teams from 2A into this league. Before we dive headfirst and discuss the newcomers, let's open with the establishment.

Last year's state champion is Eureka and hardly anyone is talking about them. The Hornets return key runner junior Alexi Fogo who placed 14th in last year's final. Fogo is running well again but she had to make way to sophomore Anna Perry who has taken over the pole position. They are in the top five discussion for sure.

Pre-season #1 Rock Falls dropped from the perch mid-season but they are still a dangerous team. Senior Bailee Fortney will give it her all in keeping her team in the mix. The issue of late is the ability to close out races. A two-minute plus scoring split is rough and it will certain keep the team out of a position to win a state title.

Winnebago were world-beaters at one point this season, winning some big-time invites but slow a bit down the stretch. The 'Bagos appear to have gained some momentum down the stretch and when they took apart Rock Falls at the Oregon Sectional with 35 points, the arrow is once again pointing in the right direction. The team scoring margin was a sensational 1:31 in the big win.

Normal U High and Rosary seemed to be big party spoilers when they were placed here from 2A. On Saturday, they will challenge for a top-five spot but unless something drastic occurs, they will have a difficult time getting inside a top trophy position.

The team to beat in many people's eyes in Monticello. The Sages were supposed to be the team to beat in 2020. But why wait until then? Rachel Koon (So.) wants it all now and as their leader, she will attempt to lead the charge upfront. This great team in the making dropped a 1:14 split to beat a tough Unity squad 53-66 at the St. Anthony Sectional. It goes to show you if a state contending team such as the Rockets cannot slow down Monticello, then no one can.

There are two choices for the individual race that you need to be concerned with: Lianna Surtz (So., Rosary) and Lydia Roller (Jr., Staunton). They are both great individual runners with different paths to success up to this point. Surtz was a middle-school superstar who came on the scene and exceeded expectations right away. She competed at the national level with an appearance in Portland, Oregon at the Nike Cross Nationals last year. Surtz has also beaten Roller in one meeting this season- at the Roy Griak Invite in Minnesota in September. Roller is certainly not intimidated by Surtz or success as she dropped a string of victories and a personal best 16:37 this season. She will need to have a consistent game plan and the ability to execute it against Surtz for the victory.

Others to consider for depth in the race include Fortney, Koon, Perry; Amelia Mclain (Sr., Benton)- has been a premium running a good portion of the season and could possibly take second place.