Impactful seniors lead girl’s cross country team back to state


By Anthony Santangelo, sports editor 
This past weekend on Nov. 4th, the girl’s cross country team ran in front of thousands of people and finished in 18th place at the state meet in Peoria. In the lead for Prospect, senior Mikayla Olsen placed 47th while junior Marissa Valentini finished only 10 seconds behind her.
If the team was told that they would place 18th at the state meet before the season started, they would have been happy with this result according to head coach Pete Wintermute. With the program in a rebuilding phase, the team has had many girls step up for the program and demonstrate what it means to be a contributor all season long.
“I think the best [senior Kaitlyn Rouse] has ever done at a conference meet was ninth in a JV race,” Wintermute said. “As a sophomore she was 12th in a frosh-soph race. She ended up being 24th in the conference meet this year as a senior. She moved to a whole different level of difficulty then performed better than probably a lot of people would have expected. And then down at the state meet she ends up being our fourth runner.”
Multiple girls in the program have had monumental improvement according to Wintermute, especially the many devoted seniors such as seniors Faith Dircks and Mary Paczko who have been in charge of team goals.
Along with this consistent effort shown by the team, Wintermute believes that the team performed particularly well at ‘the triangle.’ The triangle is a back loop that is a little after the halfway mark within the state course.
“[The triangle is] a place that really is the determing factor from the winners and losers that day,” Wintermute said. Those that come out on top that run a [personal record] and those that don’t. It’s the place that you have to be looking to push and put yourself to be in a position where you are successful later.”
The program will be graduating 11 seniors this year which is a lot. Each runner is unique in their own different ways according to Wintermute. Many of the girls next year will need to step up to fill these vacant spots.
“[The team next year] is going to have to create their own identity,” Wintermute said. “We had just an unbelievable number of athletes that made huge improvements and huge strides [this past season] from where they were last year,” Wintermute said.