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Girls cross country: Rock Falls places ninth at Sterling Invite

Postseason primer

Rock Falls' Paige Davis runs in the Sterling Invitational Saturday at Hoover Park. The Rockets placed ninth in the 24-team field.
Rock Falls' Paige Davis runs in the Sterling Invitational Saturday at Hoover Park. The Rockets placed ninth in the 24-team field.

STERLING – With senior Aubree Johnson letting an ailing hip heal, the Rock Falls Rockets girls cross country team was not at full strength against a Sterling Invitational field of larger schools. 

But the Rockets turned in a solid effort with a ninth-place finish at Hoover Park on Saturday. 

“I think we were 13th here last year, so we did a lot better than a year ago,” Rock Falls senior Paige Davis said. “With Aubree running, we may have been in the top five, but we’re still pretty happy with how things went today. The team ran really well.”  

Davis led Rock Falls with a 28th-place finish in 19 minutes, 5 seconds, followed by Sandra Gomez (44th, 19:28) and Makaley Velazquez (56th, 19:38).

“We want to see teams like this now,” Rock Falls coach Mark Truesdell said. “We run against better competition now, and then hit conference and regionals against smaller schools.”

Johnson is suffering from tendonitis. Truesdell said she would return for next week’s Big Nothern Meet at Centennial Park. 

“This is the meet that gets us ready for state,” Davis said. “The course is sort of similar, and the weather is more like what we’ll see in November.”

The temperatures were in the 40s Saturday morning. 

Dixon’s Brittany Schwarz was the top local finisher in 14th at 18:37. It was a positive step for the senior, an All-State runner in 2011.

“Brittany hasn’t had quite the season she had hoped for,” Dixon coach Evan Thorpe said. “She’s struggled with injuries and other things, but she had a good week of workouts and came out pretty strong today.”

Dixon did not field a full team in the varsity. 

Sterling placed 19th with 513 points. Mercedes Sanchez led the way in 55th place at 19:38. Alyana Wolfe was next across the line for Sterling at 87th in 20:34.

Top teams

1. Pleasant Valley33

2. Minooka90

3. Schaumburg132

Top individuals

1. McKenzie Yanek, Pleasant Valley17:34

2. Caroline Kurdej, Schaumberg17:35

3. Kelsey Schrader, DeKalb17:35 

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