Cross country continues to leave their mark
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Both the Girls and Boys Cross Country teams left their mark on VHHS this season. The teams had quite a successful season, making it all the way to state finals.
The boys continued to show off their talent with some strong finishes. They were able to place 4th overall at the First to the Finish meet, one of the biggest 2A cross country meets. Shane Williamson (11) placed second overall at this meet as well. The team struggled with some injuries, but that didn’t stop them from winning the prairie division. With only losing a few seniors in the upcoming year, the Cougars have a great outlook for next season.
If it wasn’t for the support, motivation, and dedication from their coaches, family, and friends, the boys wouldn’t have been able to have had the success they did. Motivation was a big key in the success for Shane Williamson.
“I use to have some older teammates to push me. This year I really had to focus on the mental aspect and push myself.”
Williamson plans to improve as much as he can on his off-season and during track as well.
“I’m going to work this track season on increasing my basic speed. The faster I can run 400 meters, the faster I can run 3 miles. The speed will help me make up for the height difference between me and some of my toughest competitors (I’m pretty short),” said Williamson.
The boys team placed 6th at their Sectional Meet, just missing the cut to send the the whole team down state. With an strong performance by Williamson, who took 2nd overall at the sectional meet earning All-sectional, he continued his journey down state. Williamson finished in 8th place with a time of 14:45 earning All-state.
Not only did the boys have a successful season, the girls team came out with a bang. The girls varsity team consisted of 7 freshman, 2 sophomores, and 3 seniors. With a very young team, the girls were still able to compete at every meet. Each practice the girls continued to push each other and work hard. “It’s impressive that the freshman were really able to step up and work hard at each practice. I am so proud of all of them and can’t wait to see what they can accomplish in the future,” said Vivian Overbeck (12).
Motivation was key for the girls cross country team season. It was the drive from fellow teammates that kept them going.
“ I couldn’t be more thankful to have such awesome teammates, and a special thanks to Viv for pushing me during every workout. I wouldn’t be the runner I am today without her,” said Lauren Katz (10).
With a very competitive schedule, the girls finished with an overall record of 5-1 in the conference, placing second. The girls also won the last ever prairie division title for Vernon Hills. Personal records came almost every meet from someone on the team.
“ I am so proud of each and every girl on the team. It isn’t easy getting up every day and working this hard, but everyone showed their dedication at each practice,” said Vivian Overbeck (12).
One of their biggest accomplishments took place at the First to the Finish meet at Detweiller. This is the biggest class 2A cross country meet and the Cougars were able to bring home second place, Overbeck placing second overall and Katz took seventh.
The girls finished first in the sectional meet, being the first ever Vernon Hills cross country team to earn this title. This allowed for the team to move on to the state finals. They took 3rd place overall at the state meet. Overbeck beat her personal record, finishing fifth place with a time of 17:11. Katz was not far behind her, finishing in 8th place with a time of 17:29 and both of these girls earning All-state honors. Another accomplishment goes to freshman Payton Makowskyj who ran the fastest time for a freshman in program history with an 18:08 allowing her to finish 34th. Hannah Ray (9) placing 62nd with an 18:30 and Shannon Skeoch (12) placing 77th with her lifetime PR of 18:39.
The girls would like to give a huge thank you to their coaches and parents who were key supporters and motivators in this year’s success.
Overbeck will continue her career at Northern Illinois University running both cross country and track. She hopes to make a positive impact on the team as well as help the team win their conference.
“ I am very confident that the team will continue to have much success in the years to come, and I am so excited to see what they can do,” said Overbeck.
As for Katz, who has two more years with the Cougars, she is very excited to continue work in the post-season. “I am very excited to see what we can do in the years to come. I hope to become a leader for the team and continue to push the girls to their fullest potential,” said Katz.
With only three members of the varsity team graduating, the girls still have high hopes for the future. They are very excited for the challenge of a new conference, and are thrilled to see what they can do.