What coach said...

This week in girls cross country

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James Kay

Sports Editor

In order to create balanced coverage in high school sports around the area, we're running a recurring section called, "What coach said." Every week, we'll cover a different sport and talk to each coach at the varsity level. This week, we're highlighting girls cross country. The season is young, but every competition and invitational is preparation for the ultimate goal: qualifying for state. Here's what Trinity's, Fenwick's, and OPRF's varsity coaches had to say this week.


Oak Park River Forest HS participated in the Royal Cadet Cross Country Invitational this past weekend at Marmion Academy. After placing in first place last year, the varsity team followed that performance with a second-place finish (Benet Academy finished first). This is what head coach Ashley Raymond had to say:

On her top runners' performance:

"Our first pack in Josephine Walin, Nora Wollen, and Parker Hullen all ran well together today. We always encourage pack running, and they separated at the end, but we really liked what we saw from them today. We were very impressed with our second pack, Audrey Lewis, Maggie Rose Baron, and Avery Minnis. Audrey is a freshman so it was nice seeing her in our top-six."

On finishing second and moving forward this season:

"The competition was just a little bit faster today. Overall, everyone is way ahead of where they were last year. Compared to last week, our second runner through our seventh runner were either about the same or faster so that really excites us for the rest of the season. I think there's a lot of movement we can make each week. We know the finish line is in November." 


Fenwick High School made its way to Joliet last Saturday to take part in the Joliet Steelwoman Invitational. They finished seventh out of 20 teams. Here's what head coach Kevin Roche had to say:

On how ACT impacted the team:

"We had a very funny day today because the ACT [exam] was today, and we were missing about half a dozen kids. They weren't all on the varsity side, but a few of them might have cracked the top 7; two of them definitely would have. But the other kids stepped up in a wonderful way. It was great seeing sophomore Jane Oberlies take advantage of being put up in varsity with some kids being absent. She surprised herself and you can't ask for something better as a coach."

On his vision for the team after impressive results:

"We had two visions for this team going in: one that was hopeful, all blue skies where we hope our runners can get to by the end of the season. The other is a more real-world expectation from everyone as the season progresses. We are still at the stage where we want to see the blue-sky vision come to fruition. We are seeing them follow the trajectory that we see them being at by the end of the season and we can't get caught up in the day-to-day." 


Trinity High School traveled all the way to Peoria for their First to the Finish meet against Peoria High School. It was the first time they got to run their varsity team together. Here is what head coach Johann Gonzalez said after the meet:

On how this team is progressing after two meets:

"We really ran well as a team, and we really considered today as the first-meet meet of the season. We needed to see where we are going to be in three to four weeks. I thought the girls kept their composure out there on a competitive field. The talent is all there."

On how his runners adapt each week:

"We ask our runners to note two things they did well with each week but also take note of one thing they can improve on. Instead of going up to them after the race and ask them how they did and have them say, 'My time was down so I did bad," we want them to dig deeper and have them analyze how they approached the race, how they felt during it and what they can do better. We liked what we saw from them in that regard."

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