Kelsey Schrader couldn't complain about the way she finished her high school country career on Saturday in Peoria.
Schrader, who took fourth place in the Class 2A race in 17:22, didn't run her best time at the Detweiller Park state course or record her best finish, was able to look at the bigger picture.
"Finishing in the top five for my senior year and walking away with three all-state honors," Schrader said, "I can't really be disappointed with that."
Schrader said the first mile of the race was faster than she has usually run this season, but she adjusted to it and felt good throughout the three-mile race.
"I was fighting back some tears because that's the last state meet and everything," Schrader said. "Especially with my family, we've been running with DeKalb cross country for like 10 years and this was the last race. I was just so proud to actually be able to run well at the state meet and show off DeKalb one last time."
Sycamore senior Maggie Lalowski finished eighth in the race, 20 seconds behind Schrader at 17:42, setting a new personal record.
After finishing 10th at the regional and ninth at sectional, Lalowski kept improving as the competition got better.
"Going into it my coach had told me, 'I see you around 30th place,' Lalowski said. "Going into it I wanted to get all-state. I was looking to beating out six or seven girls.
"At the second mile I had counted the girls that had passed me and I was sitting there and waiting for more to pass me, but I thought maybe I can keep the spot."
Lalowski also competed at state as a sophomore and finished 52nd in 2011.
"I went into the race thinking this was going to be my last cross country race, I better make it count," Lalowski said. "I went with it and ran."
Following a trend that's been the norm over the past few state series, the Knights turned in a strong performance at Saturday's Class 2A state meet at Detweiller Park, finishing fifth as a team in Class 2A.
"They seem to do that on a yearly basis now – they save their best races for their last," Kaneland coach Doug Ecker said.
Kaneland totaled a 246 team score to tie Chatham Glenwood, but defeated the Titans by virtue of a faster sixth runner. It's the program's highest finish since the three-class system began in 2007. The 1989 team took fourth in Class A.
Yorkville captured the team title with a 104.
The Knights' Brianna Bower capped a consistent sophomore season to lead the Knights with a 37th-place run in 18:33. The effort earned 24 points in the team score. Aislinn Lodwig, who has only been training for the past five weeks due to injury, was 54th in 18:59. Defending 2A individual champ Victoria Clinton was 76th in 19:12.
Kaneland finished eighth as a team in 2011 and sixth last season. Asked what has fueled the program's progression, Ecker was succinct.
"Better kids, more dedicated kids," he said.
BOYS CROSS COUNTRY
Millburg places 34th: Sycamore junior Adam Millburg finished 34th, crossing the finish line in 15:37. Senior Mark Stice placed 86th in 16:01.
Kaneland finished 22nd as a team and the Knights were led by a 67th-place finish from Nathaniel Kucera. Andrew Lesak, Sean Spaetzel, Ryan Bower and Kyle Carter also scored for the Knights.
Kevin Druley contributed to this report