Girls’ Cross-country Team Places 4th in State of Illinois

A true team effort, the Friars’ Class 2A finish is best in Fenwick running history!

The racers after the race — but before the results came out.

The Girls’ Cross Country Team placed 4th in State this past weekend! “On a beautiful fall day at Detweiler Park in Peoria, the girls raced against the other 25 best teams,” reports Head Coach Kevin Roche ’05. “They raced wonderfully, starting in a strong position (6th place as a team at the mile) and moved up from there to get 4th. They took full advantage of this earned opportunity to race among the best and brought their best on this historic day for Fenwick.”

As predicted, each one of the racers mattered in a tight race — with teams placed four through 11 only 40 points apart, Coach Roche continues. Junior runner Maggie O’Malley (Western Springs) was the lead finisher for the Friars with an 18:11 – the 7th best time in the program’s nearly three-decade history. “Maggie ran a great time, and our tight pack really made a huge difference,” Roche told the Chicago Tribune, which cited Fenwick’s performance among the “standouts” in Class 2A.

Fellow junior Maria Quinn (also of Western Springs) finished with an 18:14, making her the 8th-fastest runner in Fenwick history. “Quinn stepped up in a big way at this race as her performance was a big difference-maker,” notes Roche. Senior Marie O’Brien (Oak Park), a perennial leader for the team, raced her season-best and nearly beat her own personal record (PR). She scored a low 43 points for the Friars and led freshman and fellow Oak Parker Bella Daley to 45 points and a PR herself, according to Roche. Junior Katie Cahill (River Forest) broke 19 with an 18:55 as the final scorer for the Friars at 57 points.

Captain Marie O’Brien was elated when the news of 4th
 came out!

“The 199 points the Friars scored was a testament to the 44-second one though five-team split (the best at State),” praises Roche. Sophomore Mikaela Burns (Riverside) was the sixth runner for the Friars dropping 50 seconds from her season time to bump racers from other teams back. “Other than the State champions, Burns was the best 6th runner,” her coach says.

“Junior Delaney Seligmann (Hinsdale) showed the same toughness as she has shown all summer and fall,” Roche continues. “She committed to the race and the team doing her best on the day.” Sophomore Mia Scharpf (Berwyn), as the team’s eighth, “deserves honors as well as she was in the mindset ready to race up until the gun, being an incredible teammate for the Friars.”

Last weekend marked the girls program’s third trip to state. Their 4th-place finish is the best in Fenwick cross-country history and would not have been possible without the “stellar leadership” of senior captains O’Brien, Olivia Rill (Chicago) and Ewa Szeszko (Park Ridge), concludes Roche. “Congratulations on such a fun and fast finish on an already proud season!”

The captains (from left): Olivia Rill, Marie O’Brien and Ewa Szeszko.

History at a Glance

How the female Friars raced and placed on Saturday:

Maggie O’Malley – 25th (7th best time in Fenwick history)
Maria Quinn – 28th (8th best time in Fenwick history)
Marie O’Brien – 43rd
Bella Daley – 46th
Katie Cahill – 57th
Mikaela Burns – 68th
Delaney Seligmann – 145th
Mia Scharpf (did not race but played a big role as team player)

State Results in Illinois

Observes John Quinn ’76, Maria’s proud father/fan and a history teacher at Fenwick: “The girls’ pace was pulsating,” says Mr. Quinn, who witnessed his first state cross-country meet. “Our girls showed true grit in carving out fourth place in the last quarter of the race.”

Note: The Fenwick boys’ cross-country team also made it to state this fall, adding to the program’s historical season.  

The whole State crew stopped at Starved Rock en route to Peoria.


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