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The Sweet Six(team)

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The 2012 All-BCR Girls Cross Country Team can be known as the Straight Shooters. All six of them qualified for sectionals, perhaps the first time in the history of the BCR’s postseason award.

Here’s a look at our Sweet Six(team).

Katie Hoffert (Hall): There were big shoes to fill as the No. 1 runner for the Lady Devils with the graduation of All-Stater Liz Mosbach, but Hoffert slipped into them well. Hall coach Tom Keegan said Hoffert showed some mental toughness at the end of the year after being taken out of Amboy’s Shady Oaks Golf Course in an ambulance because of an asthma attack.

“She bounced right back in the next race at Peoria Heights, and that showed a lot about how she is wired,” he said.

The Hall senior led the Lady Devils to a team berth to sectional with a ninth-place finish (20:44) at the St. Bede Regional.

Katelin Johnson (Bureau Valley): The junior Storm harrier carried the family torch well for the Storm this season with brother Derrick now running for Eastern Illinois University. She earned her first trip to sectionals by placing 27th at the Rock Falls Regionals, the fifth individual qualifier with a time of 21:22.

“Katelin had a strong campaign this year and looks to continue to improve for next year. She ran her best race at regionals and sectionals ... and that is where you need to run your best,” Donner said

Kathryn Krieger (Princeton): One runner with a special place in the heart of PHS coach Pat Hodge is Kathryn Krieger, and not only because she is his niece. She’s overcome an assortment of ailments and injuries throughout the years and was able to finish out the season for the first time. She left on a high note after years of lows by placing individually for sectionals.

“Her right knee was really starting to bother her in the last couple of weeks, so I thought she did a tremendous job being able to come up with her two best races at regional and sectional. I was very proud of her as both her coach and her uncle,” Hodge said.

Velinda Lopez (DePue): With cross country being resurrected at DePue in 2011, the DePue senior put the Lady Little Giants on the regional map with a 13th-place time of 21:12 at the St. Bede Regional to qualify individually for sectionals. Lopez made a marked improvement on time, starting out at 25:42 and finishing with a personal best 20:43 at sectional.

“She had an outstanding season. I just wished I would had her the past three years. She had huge gains throughout the season; I was extremely pleased with her effort and progress,” DePue coach Keith Garcia said, adding he believes Lopez has the talent to run in college.

Lopez placed fifth at the Tri-County Conference Meet.

Zoe Mead (Princeton): The PHS junior was able to overcome some injuries to have a solid season for the Tigresses, capped by a sectional berth by placing seventh at the St. Bede Regional with a time of 20:40 as the top individual qualifier. She also placed seventh in the Princeton Invite, 14th at Oregon and 21st at Bureau Valley, running a personal best at Sterling.

“She never popped a monster race but was very consistent throughout the season,” PHS coach Pat Hodge said.

Regan Weidner (Bureau Valley): The 2012 BCR Runner of the Year has raised the standard for area runners with a Class 1A State Runner-Up finish where she turned in a personal best time of 17:45. Just a sophomore, Weidner has two more seasons to reach the top. Along the way, she won her first regional championship and placed second at sectional.

“It was great to see Regan come in motivated and energetic about improving on last year’s results. She is very goal oriented, and it was very special to watch her achieve her goals this year,” Donner said. “We are excited to see how she will improve throughout the track this year and next cross country season.”

Honorable Mention

Amboy/LaMoille - Jennifer Popovich.

Bureau Valley - Riley Francis.

Hall - Paige Orlandi, Jacquie Wallaert.

St. Bede - Laura Sickley.

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