Fenwick’s Briana Daley, Olivia Ryan in running for state medals

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Fenwick coach Mickey Collins believes senior cross country runner Briana Daley is the perfect representative of a student-athlete at Fenwick.

“From Day 1 with our team, we always say if you can’t make it in the classroom than we can’t expect you to do well on Saturday,” Collins said. “We always put academics first. Briana comes from a hard-working family and she’s able to translate working hard in the classroom to her running. She has a good work ethic. She fires on all cylinders and doesn’t take any days off, whether it’s a nice easy 30-minute run on Sunday or hitting the books hard. Every kid on the team is close to 4.0 grade-point average and she’s right there. She’s way above what we expect from our runners.”

Daley’s hard work was rewarded with a state trip for the third year in a row.

She placed 12th at the Class 3A Lake Park Sectional Saturday with a time of 17 minutes, 59 seconds to earn an individual berth to the state meet Saturday at Detweiller Park in Peoria.

Junior Olivia Ryan of Western Springs placed third with a time of 17:11 and will also be headed back to state for the third time after placing fifth a year ago.

Fenwick finished seventh as a team to fall two spots shy of a team berth.

“We ran the best we could and that’s all you can ask,” Collins said. “Unfortunately our best was not good enough to get downstate. We wish we could’ve got down as a team but the good news is we did get two qualifiers. It was the closest we’ve come (to state as a team) that we’ve had.”

Ryan and Daley have been running with the Fenwick boys team the past month to prepare for state.

“I think it really helped Briana a lot,” Collins said. “It kind of pushes them both a little more.”

Daley, who lives in Oak Park, placed 49th at state a year ago.

Defending state champion Maddie Perez of Glenbard West is the favorite to repeat, but Ryan is the only other top-five finisher returning from a year ago.

Collins has high hopes for Daley and Ryan at state.

“We’re hoping (Briana) can finish in the top 25,” Collins said. “It would be great to see her end her high school career as an all-state runner. I think she’s capable of doing that.

“I think Olivia can finish in the top two or three. On any given Saturday she has a chance to win state. That thought has been on my mind since last year at state. Who knows, maybe something will go her way and she can win it.”

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