Girls Cross Country: Naperville Central’s Amanda Fox takes stateNaperville Central's Amanda Fox has no immediate followers before she even hits the halfway point in the 3A state girls finals. Patrick Gleason ~ For the Sun-Times
Updated: November 5, 2011 8:34PM
PEORIA – Amanda Fox learned her lesson well enough that she aced her biggest test of the season.
The Naperville Central senior lost just one race all fall, finishing behind Lake Park’s Kaylee Flanagan at Wheaton North. Fox made sure on Saturday that neither Flanagan, defending Class 3A champ Ariel Michalek of Oswego East nor anyone else would catch her.
Fox set a blistering early pace and had enough in the tank to make a serious run at the all-time state-meet record set last season by Woodstock’s Kayla Beattie. That bid fell just short, but Fox was a comfortable winner in the Class 3A final at Detweiller Park, running 16 minutes, 24 seconds for three miles. Michalek was the runner-up, 13 seconds behind, and Flanagan was third at 16:43.
“I knew I wanted to try to win it, but I didn’t know I’d be close to the [all-time record],” Fox said. “I definitely learned [from the earlier meeting with Flanagan], because I didn’t go out fast like that. I took myself out of the race and I didn’t have a chance.”
This time, everyone was chasing her.
“I heard people say, ‘They’re coming [at] you.’ I know people have great kicks. The last half-mile, I just wanted it.”
Michalek couldn’t fault her own performance after running five seconds slower than a year ago. “I ran the race I wanted to,” she said. “The mile [times] were where I wanted them to be. I raced against [Fox] once at the Woodruff Invitational and she did the same thing. She’s a great athlete.”
New Trier, which hadn’t won a state trophy, beat Wheaton Warrenville South 88-144 for the Class 3A title. Leading the way as usual for the Trevians were the junior Ackerman twins – Courtney (fourth) and Jessica (11th) – along with freshman Mimi Smith (10th).
“After Woodruff [Invitational], we thought it was a possibility to win state, but we didn’t want to get ahead of ourselves,” Courtney Ackerman said.
Naperville North and St. Charles East both scored 183 points, with the Huskies taking third on the sixth-runner tiebreaker. Some coaches questioned the ruling, noting this passage in the IHSA cross country terms and conditions: "If a tie occurs for first, second or third place [at state], both tied teams will receive the appropriate medallions and trophy." But IHSA administrator Matt Troha said that comes into play only if ties can't be broken by comparing the results of each team's respective sixth (and if necessary, seventh) runners.
In Class 2A, Crystal Lake Central freshman Sami Staples won in 17:07, four seconds ahead of runner-up Kelsey Schrader of DeKalb. Unlike Fox, Staples waited to make her move. “A lot of people go out fast and kill themselves,” she said. “I didn’t want to get passed or die out.”
Yorkville, the 2A runner-up last season, won its first state title 74-106 over Crystal Lake Central with Montini (165) finishing third. Westmont (174) took second in Class 1A behind St. Teresa (48).