The Highland girls cross country team ventured to Detwiler Park in Peoria on Saturday with plans for placing in the Top 10, but a fast and talented field of Chicago, Normal and other upstate schools pushed the Bulldogs into 21st place in the Class 2A state meet.
“I think we were a bit disappointed we ran what we’re capable of running but we wanted to go faster and we weren’t quite where we wanted to be,” Highland coach Doug Bradley said. “We were nervous and only three of the girls had run there before on state Saturday. It’s just a faster day and everybody there is good.”
Highland finished ahead of River Forest (Trinity), Chicago (University), Carbondale, and Chicago Solorio Academy with 496 points in the meet.
Still, the Bulldogs top five runners did give the team some positive to build on with each achieving personal bests.
“We put five girls in under 20 minutes and that’s a big deal,” Bradley said. “That’s only the third time in school history we’ve done that in a race and five of the girls got their personal season-best.”
Senior Kate Martri ended her Highland career on an up note as she had the best performance of the day, running at 19:13.62 to finish in 99th place. Martri’s time was a career and season personal best.
“She wrote down before the meet that she wanted to go out with a good meet, go out strong and she did that,” Bradley said.”She wanted to go out strong today and I thought that was perfect. She went out as our number one runner.”
Jessica Borror finished at 108th with a time of 19:24.20 and Julia Loeh was 119th with a time of 19:28.21. Samantha Hengehold at 135th (19:36.53) and Grace Meyer at 157th (19:56.79) followed with season personal best times.
Only Britin Machuca (20:19.96) and Danielle Little (22.13.42) finished out of the 19-minute range for Highland.
In the end, the meet proved to be a positive learning experience for the Bulldogs, who made their first trip to state since 2015, and expect to have another run at the state meet next fall.
“I think with another year of experience for those girls, that we should be back (next year),” Bradley said. “It’s been a really terrific season and it’s nice to get back to where we felt we should be all along.”