Nazareth freshman Claire Ramsey will run at state meet

SHARE Nazareth freshman Claire Ramsey will run at state meet
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Freshman Claire Ramsey had a chat with Nazareth coach Joe Wejman before the season began.

The conversation laid the foundation for Ramsey’s quest to run in Peoria.

“He pulled me aside and told me we can make it to state,” Ramsey said. “It was a great confidence boost for me.”

The Clarendon Hills resident’s self-assurance is now at an all-time high after her success at Saturday’s 2A Wheaton Academy Sectional. She finished 22nd with a time of 19 minutes, 35 seconds on the 3.06-mile course to secure the seventh individual qualifying berth. The top five teams and top seven individual finishers advanced to the state meet Saturday at Detweiller Park.

“I just wanted to try my best and see what would happen,” Ramsey said. “It’s a great experience to get down there and see what it’s all about. I’m disappointed that we couldn’t go as a whole team. We knew we were close, but things happen. We’ll get them next year.”

The Roadrunners (144 points) finished sixth behind Riverside-Brookfield (140), while Yorkville (50), Glenbard South (60), Montini (114) and Rosary (129) also moved on.

“We knew it was going to be close,” Wejman said. “There was a small margin for us to make it. As the race was going on, I had a pessimistic outlook based on what I was seeing, so I was surprised by how close we were. In some ways it was a pleasant surprise, but in some ways it was frustrating to know we were so close. Our main goal every year is to go as a team, but our (other) goal is to (have a runner) go to Peoria.

“It’s always special to qualify,” Wejman said. “(Claire) has come a long way and it’s nice for her to be able to make it. It’s good to get rewarded for working hard. Hopefully she can build on this for next year and lead our whole team back to the finals.”

It’s the second season in a row that Nazareth will be sending a freshman to the state meet.

Sophomore Gianna Levato, who is a running partner with Ramsey, placed 78th downstate as a freshman last year, but just missed a return trip.

“It was very disappointing that she didn’t make it,” Ramsey said. “She told me to go out and have fun. I have no expectations. I’m just glad I will get the experience as a freshman.”

Bareis falls shortof state berth

Nazareth junior Johnny Bareis was determined to make state this season.

But his knees just wouldn’t cooperate.

After missing 2 1/2 weeks of the season due to iliotibial band injury, the inflammation on the outside of his knee acted up again during the 2A Wheaton Academy Sectional Saturday.

“From all indications it was a wear-and-tear kind of thing,” Nazareth co-coach Sean Banasiak said. “He ran hard over the summer to get himself in great shape. He would’ve been in the mix to be a state qualifier. His running peaked earlier in the season before his injury. It would’ve been close.”

Bareis finished in 17:40 to pace the Roadrunners. His season-best time of 16:27 on a different course would’ve been good enough to earn a state berth.

Junior Ruben Gonzalez was Nazareth’s second finisher for the first time this season with a time of 18:02.

“I was pleased with all our times,” Banasiak said. “We had a lot of guys battling through injuries. It was our best sectional finish we’ve had in recent years.”

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