WALNUT – Megan Grady has only been in high school for about a month, and she’s already making an impact.
The Amboy freshman was the highest local finisher at the 38-team Bureau Valley Storm Invitational, placing eighth and covering the 3-mile course in 19 minutes, 49.95 seconds at Bureau Valley North Junior High.
“It was hot in the woods,” Grady said. “Other than that, the only problem was I didn’t know where I needed to go, because I’ve never been here before.
“Rock Falls’ [Makaley Velazquez] was my competition. I had to beat her, because she beat me before.”
Grady did just that, as Velazquez finished 11th in 20:02.07.
“I wasn’t happy,” Velazquez said. “Last year, I got 19:54 and got ninth place, but I still think I did good for the beginning of the season.”
Velazquez’s teammate, Katie Anderson, had the right music in her mind, but not the result she was looking for. Anderson finished 15th in 20:13.72.
“Coach T [Mark Truesdell] was telling me to put a song in my head, so I put that in my head and focused on the song and worked my way up,” Anderson said. “The other day I was listening to ‘Baby Got Back,’ so that’s the song I put in my head, because I did good at that practice.”
Rock Falls was the highest-finishing local team, placing seventh with 244 points. The Rockets won the meet a year ago.
“A lot of our girls are hurt right now,” Velazquez said. “I’m confident that our team will start doing way better than we’re doing right now.”
“We’re not the same team, and that’s fine. We’re going to get there,” Anderson said. “We have a lot of new people, and they’re not used to racing yet. By the end of the season, I’m pretty sure we’ll be back where we’re supposed to be.”
The race was without Bureau Valley’s Regan Weidner, last year’s Class 1A state runner-up. Storm coach Dale Donner said she’s out indefinitely with shin splints.
Erie-Prophetstown placed 10th with 290 points. Amboy was 13th with 338 and Bureau Valley was 16th with 425.
Annawan-Wethersfield freshman Kirstie Ramsey won the race in 19:14:53 and led her team to the title by a whopping 50 points, 86-136, over runner-up Eureka.
1. Annawan-Wethersfield 86
2. Eureka 136
3. Henry-Midland 143
1. Kirstie Ramsey (Annawan-Wethersfield) 19:14.53
2. Maggie Arndt (Westmont) 19:25.09
3. Lea Viano (Carlinville) 19:25.31