Marist freshman Maryclare Leonard earns All-State recognition

SHARE Marist freshman Maryclare Leonard earns All-State recognition

PEORIA, Ill. — Marist freshman Maryclare Leonard was a little worried about the start of the Class 3A state meet Saturday at Detweiller Park.

“I had the last box. I was kind of nervous about that,’’ Leonard said. “But it actually helped. No one was next to me, so I got out pretty well.’’

And finished even better.

Leonard earned All-State recognition by finishing among the top 25 (20th, 17 minutes, 26 seconds) out of 207 runners. Leonard was the only Marist runner to qualify for the state meet.

“My goal was top 25,’’ Leonard said. “My sister (Annmarie) couldn’t run. I was kind of doing it for her. I really wanted to get All-State for her. I wore her favorite jersey.’’

Annmarie Leonard, a senior, missed qualifying for the state meet by four seconds at the Hinsdale Central Sectional.

“With 800 left I was just keeping pace, keeping moving,’’ Maryclare said. “Once I finished, I was exhausted. I just wanted to see my sister and give her a hug. I crossed the finish line and the first people I saw were my sister and my brother, Tom.’’

Maryclare acknowledged the challenge of running in the state meet for the first time against elite competition.

“It was nerve-racking. There was a lot of people,’’ Maryclare said. “I was really nervous beforehand, doing it without my team. I wanted to have my sister and Julie (Yaeger) and all the other girls. But once I started out, it was fine.’’

Lockport freshman Morgan Bollinger exceeded her goal by racing to an All-State eighth-place finish (17:14) to lead the Porters to fifth place in the 25-school field.

“I was really looking to be in the top 25,’’ Bollinger said, tearing up. “I just tried to go out with the leaders and see if I could stick with them and see what I could do at the end.

“There’s a lot more screaming and cheering than at the sectional. I was a bit nervous because there were so many older girls.’’

Lockport’s first five runners were Bollinger, Emmie Hahn (59th, 18:10), Taylor Latta (68th, 18:14), Haley Beaumont (77th, 18:19) and Karlee Stortz (102nd, 18:32), who recovered from an ankle injury at the sectional.

Many of the Lockport faithful, including longtime coach Evon Marie Schlotter, wore T-shirts that read: “No rest for the wicked. Prepare to be Schlottered.’’

Sandburg sophomore Grace Foley, running as an individual this year after the Eagles qualified as a team in 2012, finished 83rd (18:21).

Lincoln-Way Central (586) placed 24th and Lincoln-Way East (719) was 25th. Central’s top runner was Madison Smith (126th) and East’s No. 1 finisher was Kristy Dertz (117th).

In Class 2A, Illiana Christian’s Alexa Beezhold also ran as an individual after the Vikings qualified as a team last season. Beezhold finished 48th (18:51).

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