Girls X/C team finishes 27th at State


Photo Courtesy of: Normal Community Athletics Twitter

The 2022 girls cross country team finished 27th as a team at the 3A IHSA State meet, the team’s first appearance in eight seasons.

The girls cross country team placed 27th at the IHSA 3A State meet on Saturday, Nov. 5 at Peoria’s Detweiller Park.

While the race conditions were unlike any the girls had experienced all season — a muddy, rainy, windy day — junior Abigail Ziemer and her six teammates were mentally prepared for the harsh conditions.

“We knew it wasn’t going to be the greatest– the night before, it rained about an inch,” Ziemer said.  

Another half inch of rain fell on the course Saturday morning. 

The day of the race “was pretty windy,” Ziemer said — with 25 mph winds at race time. 

“A few races ran before us,” Ziemer said, making “the course… a little rough.”

“It was all right,” the junior runner said. “It kind of just made it more interesting.”

Ali Ince, who ran at State as an individual last year, was the first to cross the finish line for the Ironmen, placing 87th with a time of 19:10.63.

Last season, Ince finished the 3-mile race with a time of 17:30, placing 32nd.

“For a person who enjoys sprinting on hard surfaces, [the weather] definitely made it more of a strength race,” Ince said. 

Lily Cavanaugh trailed Ince by less than half a second, finishing in 89th at 19:10.99.

Ziemer’s time of 20:10.40 earned her a 176th-place finish. 

Annika Luthe crossed the finish line in 204th (20:44.26), with Megan Metz finishing 10 places behind her at 214th (21:11.95).

After Community’s fifth runner, Metz, crossed the finish, Community was tied with the Wheaton North Falcons with 605 points.

Senior Rachel Brozenec’s finish would serve as the tie-breaker between Wheaton and Community. 

Wheaton’s sixth finisher would best Rachel Brozenec’s time of 21:56.39, securing 26th place for the Falcon’s.

Community finished 25th as a team in 2014, the last season the Lady Iron qualified for the State race.  

Amber Hitchins (23:18.63) finished 234th overall but did not contribute to the Iron’s team score. 

The State meet marked the final race for seniors Hitchins, Brozenec, Metz and Luthe.

For the final race of her career, Hitchins said she wasn’t trying to set a personal record, “I just went out… and had fun.