Girls XC prepares for successful season


Varsity girls warming up prior to a race in Peoria (Photo courtesy of Maddie Ohm ’21).

Liz Gremer, Reporter

After finishing third at state last year, the girls’ cross-country team is training and preparing for another successful season. The team’s goal is to take each meet one at a time and focus on the overall team dynamic, varsity-runner Maddie Cranny ’20 said.

“Third at state was very exciting last year, but our team isn’t obsessing over state finishes this year,” Cranny said. “We are focused on building a strong team dynamic with good connections between all the girls.”

Instead of focusing on statistics, the team strives to follow team pillars, such as acceptance, vulnerability and empathy, to unite the entire team, varsity coach Alex Lyons said.

“We make team pillars about values and cultural elements that are important to us,” Lyons said. “We ask the athletes to think about these ideas every couple weeks, just as a reminder that this team is not about a key runner. Every single person is a key kid.”

The team’s approach this year is take it one meet at a time, and making changes following meets, on an individual and team basis, varsity-runner, Ally Sarussi ’20 said.

“After every meet, our coach asks us to think about how we ran overall, and to evaluate what changes we can make to improve, and actually implementing the changes,” Sarussi said.

Despite losing three runners, Cara Paliakas ’18, Kirsten Meyer ’18, and Lily Kedzuch ’18, from last year’s varsity lineup, the upperclassmen have stepped into new leadership roles, Cranny said.

“The new seniors are stepping up as amazing leaders by teaching the younger girls about the sport and being great role models for us all,” Cranny said. “As an upperclassman myself, I am working on being a good role model to the younger girls.”

Runners on the team have strengthened bonds and expect to have just as good of a season as last year.

“I am excited to race side by side with my best friends and see what we can do,” Cranny said.

The next race is the Palatine-Deer Grove East meet tomorrow, Sept. 22.