Senior Arriana Arroyo rode the emotion from Fenwick’s Senior Night celebration Friday and her girls cross country teammates.
Arroyo responded with a lifetime best for 3.0 miles by nearly 32 seconds Saturday at the Friars’ first Girls Catholic Conference Meet at Lewis University in Romeoville.
“Honestly, the vibes from my teammates is so, so strong. Overall, the love I was feeling was in my head the whole race,” Arroyo said. “I didn’t feel the pain until the second mile because I was thinking all about the team. It made the race something bigger than myself.”
Even with two regulars out of the lineup, the Friars finished fourth (109 points), 18 points from a third-place trophy.
Freshman Laura Durkin (17th, 18:51.1), sophomore Margaret O’Brien (18th, 18:54.7) and junior Nicole Finn (19th, 18:55.5) earned all-conference honors for top-20 finishes.
Freshman Mary Bridget Donahue (25th, 19:17.6) and Arroyo (30th, 19:37.3) were among the top 30, followed by seniors Clare Durkin (35th, 19:49.3) and Mary Grace Babbo (44th, 20:07.1).
In 2014, the Fenwick won their final East Suburban Catholic Conference Meet. O’Brien and Finn were All-ESCC and Finn also in 2013.
Sophomore Annie Mannion, fourth at the 2014 All-ESCC Meet, did not compete Saturday but is expected back for the postseason.
“If we had Annie, we were looking for top three (as a team),” Fenwick coach Kevin Roche said. “The fact we got fourth was pretty awesome. Our back runners ran so well, they made a huge difference.”
Arroyo shattered her previous best of 20:09.06 Oct. 3 in Peoria. Had she run that time Saturday, the Friars would dropped to sixth behind Trinity and Mother McAuley (113 each).
“I felt really, really good because of all of the team synergy and was able to finally reach that goal (of sub-20:00),” Arroyo said.
During a turn halfway through the course, Finn counted her place and realized the possibility for another all-conference finish.
“It just gave me confidence going into regionals and sectionals that my season could turn around for me,” Finn said. “I was extremely grateful. (Laura Durkin and O’Brien) helped and pushed me through the whole entire time.”
Fenwick boys cross country
Last year, juniors Alex Marks and Jack Darrow and sophomore Emmett McEnery helped Fenwick win the Chicago Catholic League title on the sophomore level.
Now varsity regulars, their top-10 finishes Saturday led the Friars to third at the CCL Meet at Lewis.
Marks (15:06.9) and Darrow (15.11.0) were fifth and sixth and McEnery (15:27.1) 10th. Senior Riley Mullen was 21st (15:56.3), one place and 2.8 seconds from the last all-conference spot, followed by junior Patrick Bennett (32nd, 16:14.7) and seniors Joe Cozzi (37th, 16:25.1) and Guy Hirsh (39th, 16:30.3).
“It was kind of like a new experience (this year),” Marks said. “Last year, we were underclassmen and building confidence. We finally got to run against the big boys and really push ourselves and see how we compete against everyone else without limitations.”
Fenwick (74) only was beaten by Marmion (42) and Loyola (54). Moving from Class 3A to 2A this season, the Friars should contend for their first team state berth since 2008.
“I thought we ran pretty well. Everybody looked really good. We were excited about the day,” Fenwick coach Dave Rill said.