Cross country was new to Carly Krull and Grace Foley in 2012. Krull had been a swimmer her first two years at Sandburg while Foley still was at Jerling Junior High in Orland Park.
When the diminutive duo met in Sandburg cross country gear, Krull was a junior with a change of heart about her sport and Foley was a freshman with a change in distance to run from two miles to three.
Krull’s take on a new sport: “I just didn’t love swimming as much anymore. When I was little I really loved the sport, and I was really good at it.’’
Foley’s take on a new distance: “It was hard at the beginning because you would run your two-mile pace and think, ‘Shouldn’t I be done now?’ ’’
Starting their final season together, not only are the two runners standouts for a traditional cross country power, they’re the Southland’s top returnees from the 2012 Class 3A state meet.
Krull and Foley both earned All-State status at Detweiller Park in Peoria. A dehydrated Krull finished 15th in 16 minutes, 58 seconds and Foley was right behind her in 17th (17:01).
“I told myself that I felt fine, but I didn’t feel right,’’ Krull said. “Through the race my legs got heavy and they don’t feel like that normally.’’
Preventing rather than having to deal with dehydration is part of the learning process for Krull in her new sport.
“She’s got the aerobic capacity. It’s getting used to the running and learning when to rest and how to take care of herself,’’ Sandburg coach Jenn Genslinger said. “It’s a slightly different beast than swimming.’’
The 5-3 Krull already has the 2012 SouthWest Suburban Blue and Marist Sectional titles to her credit. More of those kind of performances are likely this season.
“I need to learn to back off and go easy when I need to, but keep my hard days hard,’’ Krull said. “I’m learning.’’
So is Foley.
“In junior high, workouts were like, ‘Run to that tree and back,’ ’’ she said. “The Sandburg coaches were a big help, and just the training in general made the transition easier than I was expecting.’’
Foley was conference runner-up in 2012 and took fifth in the sectional meet at Midlothian Meadows, where Sandburg was second to Downers South.
“Freshman year it was take it as it comes,’’ she said. “Now I’m setting goals for myself, to break 17 minutes because that’s what I was at state. Just little goals to work toward over the course of the season.’’
Having graduated just one runner from the team that finished 13th at the 2012 state meet, Sandburg has the foundation to move up.
“I feel we’ll definitely be a better team this year,’’ Foley said.