Peoria has been a special destination for the Yorkville girls cross country team over the last four years.
The Foxes, who reversed their regional runner-up finish to Glenbard South last weekend at the Class 2A Wheaton Academy Sectional, have placed no worse than second the last four years at the state finals.
Yorkville seeks its third consecutive state championship this weekend at Detweiller Park in the girls middle-tier class.
Kelsey Leedy is the only senior among the Foxes’ top-seven runners, the rest of whom are all underclassmen.
Erin Reynolds led the squad at Kress Creek Farms last week, but Skyler Bollinger has the highest state pedigree among the returnees. The sophomore was uncharacteristically seventh at the sectional.
“(Bollinger) still had a solid day for having an off-week,” Yorkville coach Chris Muth said. “My expectation for (Bollinger at the state finals) is for her to run the best race she can on race day.”
Yorkville has been the top-ranked girls team the entire regular season.
“The last couple years’ accomplishments don’t mean anything for this year,” Muth said.
“Our team looks at this year as a new journey. I am fully confident this will be our best meet of the season. Wherever that puts us in the standings will make me happy.”
Geneva has also captured back-to-back state titles in the last half-dozen years, and Vikings coach Bob Thomson has his team headed back to the state finals for the sixth time in the last seven years.
“We had some early season injuries to overcome,” Thomson said. “Our goal is to finish higher than what (the final regular-season) polls (ninth) say we should be. There are some teams (in 3A) who will be happy and content to be there. We want more than that.”
McKenzie Atlmayer and Kathryn Adelman have been Geneva’s leaders all season.
Kaneland and Rosary advanced out of Belvidere and Wheaton Academy, respectively, in Class 2A.
The Knights’ Victoria Clinton is the defending state champion in Class 2A. Brianna Bower also has all-state aspirations for Kaneland.
Rosary, on the other hand, is entering uncharted territory. The Royals will compete as a team at the state tournament for the first time in program history.
Longtime Rosary rival Aurora Central Catholic, with all-state track runner Karina Liz as its linchpin, made the state cut at 1A.
“Coming into the season, (being reclassified to 1A) kind of boosted the motivation of the girls,” ACC coach Troy Kerber said.
“We’re all back next year. If (Liz) is feeling it, I think she is capable of being All-State.”