Girls Cross Country: Sisters Courtney, Jessica Ackerman to go separate ways for college

Updated: October 26, 2012 8:44PM

Courtney and Jessica Ackerman didn’t come to New Trier with a long history of running. 

The twins entered New Trier known more for playing soccer than any other sport, but they will graduate as two of the best in program history. 

The seniors announced this week they both will continue running in college. Courtney verbally committed to Illinois, while Jessica pledged to run at Princeton. The Ackermans can sign their scholarship papers Nov. 14. 

Courtney said the sisters chose some time ago to go their separate ways after high school. 

“That was a big requirement of ours,” she said. “We are ready to split up and have our own experiences.”

Courtney and Jessica Ackerman lead New Trier into Saturday’s cross country sectional at Niles West. The state meet is next weekend at Detweiller Park in Peoria.

“I didn’t know right away how good they were,” New Trier coach John Burnside said of the four-year varsity athletes. “It didn’t take long to recognize they were elite runners, though, and they just keep getting better and better.”

Along the way, the Ackermans turned New Trier into one of the state’s top girls programs, highlighted by last season’s state championship in cross country. With the Ackermans, the Trevians also own their only two sectional titles in 2010 and 2011. 

“They added the expectation of achievement that wasn’t really present,” Burnside said. “It’s now contagious and endemic to our team.”

Courtney has finished in the top 10 at state twice, including a fourth-place finish last season. Jessica’s best state meet was last year when she took 11th. 

The two also star on the track team. 

Courtney was second in the 1,600 meters at the state meet as a junior and sixth in the 3,200 meters. Meanwhile, Jessica was fourth in the 3,200 and seventh in the 800 last season. 

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