Two freshmen on Hinsdale Central’s girls cross country team are being counted on to help boost the Red Devils into state trophy contention Nov. 8 in Peoria.
Rookie runners Reilly Revord and Grace McCabe are two reasons why Hinsdale Central is the favorite to win the Class 3A Marist Sectional at 11 a.m. Saturday at Midlothian Meadows. The Red Devils are likely to advance and then challenge defending state champion Glenbard West at the state meet.
Revord, one year removed from running for Clarendon Hills Middle School, has helped the Devils by consistently finishing third or fourth on the team. Junior Annie Zaher, McCabe and Revord crossed 1-2-3 at Saturday’s Hinsdale Central Regional.
Revord didn’t know what to expect when she made the varsity team during the preseason. On the other hand, her classmate Grace McCabe had a long history of running in the offseason with the Devils, who are coached by her father Mark McCabe.
Another freshman, Claire Callahan, worked out with Revord in the offseason, and runs for the JV.
Revord competed in cross country, volleyball, basketball and track and field in middle school. Mark McCabe was familiar with her abilities entering the season.
“I knew of her after seeing her in [middle school] track and cross country,” Mark McCabe said. “She is not a surprise. It’s great to see how the two freshmen have meshed. They are outstanding runners and fit in like veterans in every way.”
Revord placed ninth as the fourth finisher for the Devils at Saturday’s Hinsdale Central Regional.
Seniors Sarah Folliard, who placed ninth at the regional, and Camilla Horowicz (11th) have watched their younger teammates lead the way at invitationals. They’ve offer tips to the freshmen during workouts.
“We all run together [in practice],” Folliard said. “In our pre-race [meeting], we talk about how to approach a race. The freshmen are not too nervous.”
Revord made an immediate impact during her season debut at the Hornet-Red Devil Invitational Sept. 6, placing 10th as the Devils’ third runner.
Her season highlight came in the second week when she placed fourth (17:18.7) in the First-to-the-Finish Invitational Sept. 13 at Detweiller Park, home of the state meet.
“We have a mind-set, a plan for all of us to come together,” Revord said. “In that second meet at Peoria, that was one of the best meets I’ve had yet.”
Revord placed seventh at the Westfield Invitational in Indiana Sept. 20, 11th at St. Charles North Oct. 4 and ninth at conference.
“I didn’t have much in the way of goals going into [the season],” Revord said. “I didn’t know what to expect. Now I look back and it’s greater than I could have imagined.”
Mark McCabe likes what his two freshmen have brought to the team one year after Alex Haff made a memorable runner-up debut at state as a freshman. The Devils are on pace to finish better than 14th place a year ago.
The Devils have won all but two invites they’ve entered, both times finishing second to Glenbard West. Hinsdale Cnetral won the regional championship with 26 points to runner-up Downers Grove North’s 21.
“We’ll find out at state, but they could be the two best freshmen in the state,” McCabe said.