STERLING – Redemption. Many seek it. Few achieve it.
Katie Pitman was Dixon’s top runner until last week at the Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference Meet, where the senior finished fourth on the team and 27th overall, missing out on all-conference recognition.
Saturday, Pitman finished eighth at the Class 2A Sterling Regional at Hoover Park.
“It’s kind of like I was coming back for blood, because I did so bad last week,” said Pitman, whose time was 19:00.3. “I was really tight [last week]. I was taking antibiotics, and it was kind of like a blood thinner, but it was just a bad race overall.”
Pitman led the Duchesses to third place. Dixon scored 91 points, team champ Marengo 51, and runner-up Belvidere North 71.
Sterling grabbed the sixth and final team sectional-qualifying spot with 123 points, besting Freeport by 11.
Freshman Maggie McPherson led the way for the Warriors, finishing 10th in 19:07.3.
“My first mile was really fast. My second mile wasn’t bad, but I got really tired,” McPherson said. “It hit me the last 800. I was so dead. I tried to kick it in, but it wouldn’t work.
“This is the most nervous I’ve ever been.”
Dixon freshman Mekenzie Harden, who was 11th at the conference meet, was again strong, finishing 12th in 19:17.1.
“Today was much better than I’ve done before at this course,” Harden said. “I’ve been running here for 4 years, and I’ve never liked this course. I didn’t have much energy at the finish, which is kind of good, because I ran my all.”
Another freshman, Sterling’s Megan Barnhart (19:32.6) finished 16th, followed closely by teammate Mercedes Sanchez (18th, 19:35.2).
“I was really nervous. I was, like, numb,” Sanchez said. “My place, I’m happy about, because I started behind that and kept moving up.”
Dixon freshmen Courtney Seagren (19:42.6) and Ally Stanchfield (20:06.7) finished 20th and 22nd, respectively.
Dixon sophomore Clara Thorpe (29th, 20:30.8) returned, but was obviously still bothered by a nagging foot problem.
Sterling sophomore Bryana Johnson gave her all, earning the Warriors’ final scoring spot at 40th in 21:43.4. Unfortunately, Johnson was taken away on a stretcher after the race. Her condition was unknown.
Top 3 teams
1. Marengo 51
2. Belvidere North 71
3. Dixon 91
Top 3 individuals
1. Kelsey Schrader, DeKalb, 17:51.7
2. Ellie Willging, Freeport, 18:02
3. Kitty Allen, Marengo, 18:04.6