Madeline Perez’s second place finish leads #1 Glenbard West to team title.
Peoria, Ill— In her first two races this fall, Kaylee Flanagan of Lake Park has crossed the finish line to set a course record. Last week, fans started talking about whether Flanagan could eclipse the Detweiller Park course record at the Richard Spring Invitational. After all, her home course has been compared to Detweiller time wise. If she could run 16:27 at Lake Park, could she eclipse Kayla Beattie’s 16:22 that she ran at the 2010 IHSA 2A State Meet?
Boy did she ever!
Flanagan crossed the line in 16:20.3, almost more than a second faster than Beattie’s old record. Considering this is the middle of September and Beattie set her record in November, it is expected that Flanagan has the capability of taking this time even lower. But for the time being after the race, she wanted to savor the moment.
“I just went out there and ran my own race. That is my goal for everything,” she said after her record run. “I wanted to break 16:40 (her goal before the season began).”
Flanagan took the pace out in break neck style. It is something that on lookers have expected from this talented senior. She dares her competitors to try to stay with her. At the half, she was at an incredible 2:29 a half mile into the race and already a four second lead on Madeline Perez of Glenbard West and Tess Wasowicz of Palatine. The rest of the pack came through in 2:37.
The mile she was by herself as she passed in 5:07. She was in a zone at that point only concerned about the pace she was running and how she was feeling. “We know the course is fast at the beginning,” Flanagan explained. “There was no clock there so I just zoned everyone else out.”
Back about 5 seconds was Madeline Perez. She held back for the first portion of the race. She knew she could not stay close with Flanagan earlier on. She found out the hard way last week at Lake Park where she finished 21 seconds behind the Lake Park runner.
“We thought she went out a little hard for herself last week so we decided for her to back off and run her race,” said Glenbard West Girls Coach Paul Haas. “Kaylee Flanagan is amazing. She can go out in 5:09. We did not want to try the same thing twice. We wanted her to work hard in the second and third mile and see what she can do.”
The strategy worked. In last week’s race, Flanagan opened up close to a 15 second lead by the two mile. This week, the story was different. Perez was able to maintain the gap that she had the mile in the back triangle. Part of it had to do that Flanagan was unsure about the course. The other part was Perez was not letting up.
As the two made their way through the zigzag going into the home straight approaching the two mile, Flanagan went to the left side of the course. Perez stayed on the closest tangent and on the right side. It looked like the two were side by side as they crossed the two mile mark. In fact, Flanagan went through in 10:45, Perez in 10:49.
“I kind of went to the outside and then all the way to the inside but I was just kind of like oh this is where my body is going to take me so just follow the course at that point.”
The last mile the two kept the same gap for most of that final lap around the course. “She came out and pushed the third mile,” her coach Lauren May said. “She had a kick today. Her philosophy is that the finish here is not even an incline. It’s flat. She goes and visualizes that. It doesn’t feel like a hill and try to finish strong.”
The gap between her and Perez was a little over 8 seconds at the finish.
Glenbard West last week lost to Lake Park by 8 points. Today’s finish was a different story for the Hilltoppers. Powered by the upfront finishes by Perez and Lisa Luczak along with a strong 3-7 pack, Glenbard West avenged last week by scoring 115 to win the team championship. Lake Park and Palatine both scored 142 points, but Lake Park was given second place on the basis that their sixth runner finished ahead of Palatine’s.
It was just another meet for the Glenbard West coach. But you could see in the expression on his face that they made a breakthrough at this meet.
“This was just basically a temperature check of where we are this season. I was happy the way our girls preformed,” Haas said as he analyzed the results. Glenbard had added into their lineup Caitlyn Reick, who missed the meet last week at Lake Park, and Cynthia Mote who had not even raced this season. The move paid off.
“They ended up as our third and fourth runner,” added Haas. “I was really happy to see our pack from 3 to 7. We have runners there that could be in our top 5 any time. We have a deep team. We are no Naperville North. Our 3-5 had a 13 second split and our 3-7 had a 27 second split. With that our chances of success are pretty good.”
“Our team had a perfect start,” Lauren May said about Lake Park’s race. “They went through the mile, worked the second mile. We had a strong performance. We had things that we can work on.
Palatine’s performance was pleasing to their Coach Joe Parks. The Lady Pirates did not have normal 5th runner Ann Kieliszewski who was held out of the race by Parks.
“I told Tess that those two girls are little off the charts right now. She needed to run her race. But I did like the aggression from her that she was ready to go and not passive,” Parks said about her lead runner. Wasowicz finished 7th to lead Palatine. “We did not have a strict plan of what we (the team) were doing. It was just focus on ourselves and run our race. I think we are improving each week and hopefully that will fall into place at the end of the year.”
Pleasant Valley IA finished 4th only four points behind Lake Park and Palatine. Kaley Ciluffo finished 6th and McKenzie Yanek finished 12th to lead the Blue Line.