1A Girls Story: Winnebago and Lianna Surtz Win Big

The championship scene was very serious from beginning to end on Saturday at Detweiller Park



Peoria, IL-

The first race of the day always appears to be a testing ground for fans and media personnel alike. However, on this occasion, it was a must-see affair. The amount of attention that came into the meet was massive in terms of star power. Winnebago has been a powerhouse team since week three- beating some quality 2A and 3A teams along the way. Despite all of that, the Indians who were going for their 13th state title was not sitting in the #1 spot. Lianna Surtz (So., Aurora Rosary), Lydia Roller (Jr., Staunton), and Amelia Mclain (Sr., Benton) are as good as any set of runners in the state. So let the games begin!

Things did not sit well with Winnebago during the aftermath of the biggest race of the season for this historically great program. "When Monticello beat us at Amboy, we didn't even have Natalia [Martino]," said freshman standout Grace Erb referring to the minor setback. On Saturday, It did not take long for Winnebago to assert their will against the so-called favorite Monticello and put them away almost immediately. The group of  Martino, Erb, Kaylee Woolery (Fr.), Katie Erb (So.), and Marissa Roggensack (Fr.) stay glued together throughout the race which ultimately resulted in three girls earning all-state honors. Who would have known that the Indians would produce the most lopsided victory since the three-class system came into play in 2007? So good was this vastly underrated team that had all seven runners in before Monticello could complete their scoring.

1Winnebago High School635+7+16+17+18 (59+62)0:24 1-5 Split | 17:55 Avg
2Monticello High School14410+12+23+31+68 (83+89)1:28 1-5 Split | 18:21 Avg
3Tolono Unity High School14714+25+29+39+40 (70+98)0:55 1-5 Split | 18:29 Avg
4Normal University High School15419+24+28+32+51 (65+82)0:52 1-5 Split | 18:31 Avg
5Rock Falls High School1864+21+34+63+64 (73+125)1:48 1-5 Split | 18:34 Avg
6Eureka High School2253+8+50+55+109 (134+149)3:04 1-5 Split | 18:39 Avg
7St. Joseph-Ogden High School26730+52+54+56+75 (77+95)0:53 1-5 Split | 19:03 Avg
8Immaculate Conception2779+35+44+86+103 (150+161)2:22 1-5 Split | 19:06 Avg
9Rosary High School2861+41+60+78+106 (115+145)3:30 1-5 Split | 18:53 Avg
10Urbana University High School31420+67+69+71+87 (96+100)1:36 1-5 Split | 19:12 Avg


There has always been mutual respect between the favorites Surtz and Roller even before their matchup at the Roy Griak in which Surtz placed significantly ahead of Roller in the superstar sweepstakes. When asked about getting a lead and applying pressure to Roller right away, Surtz indicated that she did not want to take any chances against Roller because of her tremendous closing leg speed. "I wanted to go out fast and then push it hard in the backstretch," Surtz asserted in assuring that any resistance plans that Roller had would be for not. 

Surtz and Roller both ran their races solo- Surtz pushing the pace upfront with an opening mile around 5:22 and Roller by herself maintaining a safe distance from Mclain. 

Surtz came home for her first title in 16:41. She acknowledged her initial disappointment in competing in 1A but got over it and embraced the experience of being a state champion with pride. Surtz will compete get the opportunity during track season to compete against Tatum David (Fr., Richland County) and Ava Parekh (So., Chicago Latin).

1Lianna Surtz10Rosary High School16:41.001
2Lydia Roller11Staunton High School16:58.900
3Amelia Mclain12Benton High School17:05.402
4Anna Perry10Eureka High School17:09.503
5Bailee Fortney12Rock Falls High School17:24.304
6Natalia Martino11Winnebago High School17:41.405
7Julia Wolke10Christian Liberty Academy17:45.700
8Savanah Beavers11Stanford Olympia High School17:45.706
9Breena Shreeves12Knoxville Senior High School17:46.600
10Kaylee Woolery9Winnebago High School17:46.607