All the success Katie Adams has had in her first three years of high school running pale in comparison to what she has accomplished this season.
The Marengo senior has dominated the competition. She is, in fact, undefeated.
Adams knows she will be the favorite in the Class 2A girls race Saturday at the IHSA Cross Country State Meet at Peoria’s Detweiller Park.
Adams beat Kaneland’s Victoria Clinton and Crystal Lake Central’s Sami Staples, the defending 2A state champion, at last week’s Belvidere Sectional. She beat Yorkville’s Skyler Bollinger earlier in the year at an invitational at Detweiller. Galesburg senior Stephanie Saey is another contender, but Marengo coach R.J. Meyer thinks Adams is the one to beat.
“This is definitely different than anything I’ve experienced before,” Adams said. “I haven’t had the type of season where everything came together like this.”
Adams finished in the top 10 each of the past two years and won the Class 2A 1,600 meters in state track last spring. But this fall she has benefited from a summer of strong training and good health.
“I’m running against myself and running for time,” Adams said. “I’ll focus on my goals and what I want to accomplish. If they want to stay with me, fine. I’m more looking at what I want to do.”
Meyer said Adams is the best runner Marengo has ever had and may ever see.
“She’s had a real special season,” Meyer said. “If she continues to run the way she’s running, she’ll be very successful and very happy. I don’t know anybody in Class 2A running better.”
Marengo’s team also has a realistic shot at a top-three finish and a trophy. The Indians were disappointed at not qualifying for state last year, but won the Belvidere Sectional last week.
Richmond-Burton’s boys team also has a shot at bringing home a trophy in its first appearance in the Class 1A race. Crystal Lake Central’s Alex Baker, who was fifth in Class 2A last year, should contend for the individual title.
“We’re really excited. This is something we’ve been talking about since last year when we fell short,” Meyer said. “We set goals and things became more realistic with the more success we’ve had. Our focus all year has not been [what team] is in the race, but what we have to do to get better.”
Adams is thrilled at being able to run for herself and for her team.
“I’m proud to be a part of this team, they deserve it,” Adams said. “There’s something special about this team and I’m excited to see what can come together Saturday.”