WALNUT — Megan Grady has only been in high school for about a month, and she’s already making an impact.
The Amboy/LaMoille freshman was the highest local finisher at the 38-team Bureau Valley Storm Invitational, placing eighth and covering the 3-mile course in 19 minutes, 49.95 seconds at Bureau Valley North Junior High.
“It was hot in the woods,” Grady said. “Other than that, the only problem was I didn’t know where I needed to go, because I’ve never been here before. Rock Falls’ (Makaley Velazquez) was my competition. I had to beat her, because she beat me before.”
Another freshmen, Kirstie Ramsey, of Annawan-Wethersfield freshman, won the race in 19:14:53 and led her team to the title by a whopping 50 points, 86-136, over runner-up Eureka. She also won last week’s Princeton Invitational.
Princeton senior Zoe Mead finished 16th with a time off 20:17. Mead and teammate Lindsay York, a transfer from Putnam County, had their best runs of the year, and PHS coach Pat Hodge said many others were close, a group including Casey Schertz (214th, 27:22, Megan Hendrickson (223rd, 27:55, Alex Smallwood (224th, 27:57) and Kira Harp (233rd, 31:33).
“We’re still adapting physically and mentally to this new environment for our beginners. We’re starting to show a little consistency, which is good for us at this point,” Hodge said.
The race was without Bureau Valley’s Regan Weidner, last year’s Class 1A state runner-up. Storm coach Dale Donner said she’s out indefinitely with shin splints.
In her absence, Helena Amadottir led the 16th-place Storm (425) with a time of 21:54.73, good for 58th place. Behind her were 77th Katelin Johnson 22:15.84; 96th Corinne Wageknecht 22:58.73; 118th Heather Williams 23:23.42; 128th Kelly Sierens 23:35.71; 129th Riley Francis 23:37.48, and 162nd Lauren Peterson 24:23.71
Amboy/LaMoille placed 13th with 338 with contributions from Jennifer Popovich (51st, 21:38.81), Erin Hosto (62nd, 22:00.91), Kaitlin Boers (113th, 23:16.75), Sydney Langler (116th, 24:06.02), Brenna Rieker (167th, 24:41.75), Laura Rieker (215th, 27:29.53) and Emma Scully (230th, 29:56.81).
Hall placed 25th as a team, including the efforts of Kaylee Olivares (95th, 22:56), Linnea Lee-Brown (136th, 23:47), Amelia Moreno (154th, 24:16), Brittany Foster (166th, 24:37), Becca Herrmann (176th, 25.00), and Tanya Acamovic (205th, 27:00)