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Baker second, Franklin third but Kaneland tops Sycamore for I8 girls title

SYCAMORE - Lily Baker took second for Sycamore at the Interstate 8 girls cross country meet on Saturday to edge Kaneland's Olivia Franklin, but Franklin in the Knights held off the Spartans for the team title.

A year after finishing in 23rd place in 21:51.4 at conference in Morris, Joy Dudley made the long drive up to Sycamore and won the race in 20:24.

Baker took second in 20:33 and Franklin was third at 20:37.

“I was mainly trying to just stick with the girls that were in front of me because you don’t need to be in the front until the end,” she said.“I knew I was going to be in for some tough competition, but I also had the confidence that I had beaten all of these girls before so I could do it again.”

Franklin, the top returning conference performer, was hoping that some of her competition would help block the wind for her, but acknowledged that didn’t happen so she just went with it.

“I was expecting to be with the two Sycamore girls and Morris girls and stuck with them the best I could,” she said. “I was happy with it. I felt it was a good race. I was happy with it.”

Sophomores Rose Dallal (21:02) and Lindsey Andrae (21:24), senior Mackenzie Egert (21:30) and junior Caroline Nosek (22:02) joined Franklin in leading the Knights to victory.

“I was really happy with how we did and we’ve been a lot closer the past few meets,” Franklin said. “We’re starting to group-up and I’ve been really happy with that. It hasn’t been the best year, but we’re going to keep doing well if we keep sticking together.”

Baker, who placed fourth last year, said she knew what to expect coming in, although the conditions were tougher than she had hoped.

“It was super fun because we knew going in who was going to be with us and we knew it was going to be windy so we could all draft off of each other,” she said. “We started out in a pretty big pack but started to split up a mile-and-a-half into it. The wind took a toll on the long stretch, but overall it was still a pretty good outcome.”

Freshmen Haley King (20:47) and Stella Reidl (21:55) took fourth and 11th place respectively for the Spartans while junior Emma Doyle (22:06) and senior Regan Wesley (22:45) allowed the team to hang with the Knights.

“As a team we obviously wanted to win the whole meet, but getting second is good,” Baker said. “We just wanted to have a season and then one race and now we have conference and regional and sectionals so it’s been super nice and the girls have really stuck with it since the summer so it’s exciting to see.”

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