By Scott Taylor
PEORIA — Plainfield North’s Rachael Lau cemented her legacy as the top District 202 cross-country runner of all-time Saturday at the Class 3A state meet at Detweiller Park.
Two years ago Lau became the first female to make All-State in cross country and Saturday she duplicated the feat with a 12th-place finish with a time of 16:54.
“Last year I didn’t have the best race, so this year, I really wanted to go out with a bang,” Lau said. “I knew my mistakes from last year. Last year, I went out too fast, so I really wanted to stay calm and not get really squirrely during the race.
“My main focus was the last mile because I’ve been in the position of going out too fast and I knew others would do it too.”
Overall, Lau liked the way she ran her final race.
“It is all about progress. That is typically what I live by in running,” she said. “I was happy with how I ran. I just wanted to have a strong race. I would have liked to be under 10, but it was nice to come back from last year.”
Freshman Julianna Stogsdill finished in 52nd place with a time of 17:42 and sophomore Megan Patton was 116th with a time of 18:20.
“It was a lot harder than I would have expected, but I PR’ed from my earlier race here,” Stogsdill said. “Megan and Rachael ran really well, so it was really good. There were a lot more people here and a lot more competition that I haven’t seen before. It was good to have been here before.”
“There were a lot more people here than I expected, but overall I thought I did pretty well,” Patton said. “The weather was just about perfect. It was a lot better than last week. I knew the course already, so that helped. It was fun to be down here. Hopefully I can be back here.”
Plainfield South junior Alexis Grigg placed 109th with a time of 18:17, while teammate and fellow junior Greta Carlberg was 129th in 18:27.
“It wasn’t my best, but it was my best this season, so I’m happy,” Grigg said. “It was a tough race and it was a fast race. I was flying in the start and it felt good. The second mile was tough but the third mile felt pretty good. The pace really helped me at the end with my kick. I think it helped overall. I’m very happy and was excited to be here for my third time. Hopefully I can be back for the fourth time next year.”
“I think I did well,” Carlberg said. “I PR’ed so that was cool. This was my first year qualifying for state and it was so much fun. The weather was nice and the environment was great. There was so many people here it was such a good time.”
Both are excited for next year as Grigg is used to the course and looking for her fourth trip, while Carlberg looks to make her second.
“Every time I run it I think I like it more and more,” Grigg said. “I know where to kick it in and where I die and where I need to push myself. It is definitely my favorite course.”
“I’m excited,” Carlberg said. “I hope to be here again next year. Hopefully with more of my teammates.”