Lyons junior cross country runner Hannah Dutler rewarded for training

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Running cross country in high school takes a huge commitment and Hannah Dutler’s offseason dedication is paying off.

The junior from Countryside was the Lions’ No. 3 runner at last year’s regional and placed 10th overall. She didn’t run at last year’s Class 3A state meet as Lyons ended a 15-year streak of qualifying for state as a team. She was the Lions’ No. 3 runner at the regional and placed 10th overall.

Dutler (18:53.8) placed 46th in the Palatine Invitational Saturday for ninth-place Lyons (288), crossing ahead of junior teammate Vanessa Flaherty (48th) and senior Katie Hamor (60th), who took eighth at regional and is Lyons’ only returning state qualifier.

“I’m very excited. I think I’ve improved a lot over the past year,” Dutler said. “I’ve worked hard over the summer and it has paid off.”

Dutler’s summer workouts included waking up each day at 5:30 a.m. for breakfast before a 6:30 practice. The runs lasted an hour and were followed by strength and weight conditioning for another half hour at school.

But Dutler wanted to do more. She spent her afternoons at Lifetime Fitness in Burr Ridge taking a yoga class followed by more workouts in the weight room.

“Yoga has helped me run better,” Dutler said. “The next day, it prevents me from being sore.”

She attended two cross country running camps over the summer. She joined teammates Hamor, Flaherty, Diana Kafkes and Claudia Lundgren for the week-long camp at the Wisconsin-Madison and also attended camp at Princeton.

“The sky is the limit for Hannah — she has her goals set very high, and she is doing the workouts and working on racing strategies to help her achieve those goals,” Lyons coach Stetson Steele said. “Her main goal — along with the team’s main goal — is to make it back to the state meet as a full team.”

The Lions got an early preview of the state meet course.

Dutler (18:19.9) placed 40th and was Lyons’ top runner at the First to the Finish Invitational Sept. 13 at Peoria’s Detweiller Park.

“We’ve trained a lot together and worked hard,” Hamor said. “I think we’ve very talented. We worked hard over the summer. It’s been really fun. We’re all very different, but at the same time we enjoy everyone’s company. We joke around and spend a lot of time as a team.”

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