Chelsea won a lot of cross country and track races in junior high, but did not know how she would perform against older girls at longer distances. Perhaps the best indicator of what she can do came when she took 10th at the Palatine Invitational, a meet that draws many of the state’s top teams.
“I didn’t expect this,” she said. “I thought it would taper off. I’ve been getting stronger each race and haven’t been in much pain, which is really good. The way practices have gone, with my cross training with soccer, I’ve become stronger, so it’s been way better than I expected.”
That’s another thing. Chelsea is still playing travel soccer with the Crystal Lake Force through her cross country season, so she is not putting in the same mileage as some runners, but it has hardly held her back.
“It’s been so much fun to watch her,” Wolves coach Kelly MacDonald said. “They’re in a family that’s all about running. They have that innate ability with running, they’ve picked it up over the years with their mom and dad. When she runs, you can just see a smoothness in her form. She’s very efficient. She’s not all over the place. That’s part of why she’s so good.”
Christine, like Sean, is not that surprised at Chelsea’s success.
“In my heart, I knew she had a really good chance,” Christine said. “She’s got that little something. You’ll never hear her say it, but she’s got that little something extra. There’s something special about that girl.”
With two races remaining, Chelsea Gale is poised to close out her freshman season in a big way.
“It’s really exciting,” she said. “It’s definitely a new experience I did not think would happen at all, and I really love this whole season so far. I’m hoping for the best to continue on to sectionals and state.”