Hinsdale Central’s Hardies hurting as she heads to state
Western Springs, 10/20/12--Lyons Township's Randie Speir was the third runner to finish for her team. Lyons Township High School hosted a girls and boys cross country regional meet on Saturday afternoon. | Jon Langham~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 2, 2012 6:47AM
MARKHAM — Coming off three consecutive all-state performances, Hinsdale Central senior Jill Hardies had put her sights on capping a remarkable career with an IHSA individual championship this season.
Injuries are making attaining that much more difficult.
“I’ve had to kind of accept that I’m going to have to set different goals for myself,” Hardies said. “I want to do as well as I can for the team. I’m devastated, but I can’t dwell on that. I just have to move forward. It’s very competitive at state this year, so I’m not going to (predict) a place.”
Hardies has been competing with a stress fracture in her left ankle and tendinitis, but still managed to take second individually Saturday at the Class 3A Marist sectional at Midlothian Meadows and help the Red Devils earn their 10th state berth in the last 11 years.
Hardies, who will be attempting to become the program’s first four-time all-state runner Saturday at the state meet in Peoria, finished in 17 minutes, 27.6 seconds to trail just Sandburg junior Carly Krull (17:05.3).
“It’s a terrible time to have (the injury),” an emotional Hardies said after the race. “I just have to tough my way through it. I really don’t have any other option. I want to do it for my team.”
Hinsdale Central coach Mark McCabe is not putting anything past his star runner.
“Jill is a warrior,” McCabe said. “She’s in pain, but fitness-wise she’s where she needs to be and we just want to get her to feel as good as we can for her last meet. We talked about her doing the best she can on that day and if she does that, she’ll be right in the mix in front.”
Hinsdale Central (119 points), which finished third behind Downers Grove South (64) and Sandburg (100), also received gutsy efforts from junior Becca Marcotte and sophomore Sophie May, both who have been dealing with illnesses. Marcotte placed 15th (18:16) and May took 28th (18:40).
Marcotte qualified for state as a freshman, but missed last season with a hamstring injury.
“It was hard, but it was good being there with my team during the regional and sectional,” Marcotte said. “It will be nice to get back there and race again at state. My expectations were high for myself this season because I trained so hard after recovering from my injury.”
Marcotte’s return is a big reason the Red Devils are back at state after staying home for the first time in 10 years last season.
“We obviously missed her in terms of performance, but we also missed having Becca around,” said McCabe, who hopes his team can finish in the top 10 in Peoria. “She’s been a steadying influence on the team and is always so consistent. She’s been a huge asset this year.”
Freshman Emma Sullivan (32nd, 18:42) and senior Becky Ventura (42nd, 18:56) also contributed points for the Red Devils.
Lyons senior Randie Speir doesn’t have to look far for inspiration.
Her twin brother, Ryan, is a standout runner for the LT boys team.
“We’re always supporting each other,” Randie Speir said. “It’s awesome to have him at these meets. He doesn’t get real emotional about these things, but watching him and his transformation from freshman year to now, is great. He used to count places from the back and now he’s counting places from the front. It just makes me so proud. It gives me heart because watching him; I know I can do anything that I put my mind to.”
Randie and Ryan, both captains, will see each other at state Saturday as well.
Randie Speir placed 21st in 18:29 to help the Lions grab fifth Saturday at the Class 3A Marist sectional and earn the final team berth. Ryan Speir aided the boys in capturing the sectional title.
“It’s a nice experience to know someone close is going through the same thing,” Ryan Speir said of his sister. “I’m close with all my teammates, but it’s kind of different having a sibling around.”
Senior Haley Prokaski took 10th (18:07) to lead the LT girls, while junior Lexy Rudofski was 20th (18:28).
“I just wanted to make it to state as a team and we did,” Rudofski said. “We just all clicked. It was fantastic. It was definitely our best race of the year.”
Speir will be making her fourth state appearance.
“Randie as a senior has gone above and beyond any expectations I had for her,” LT coach Stetson Steele said. “She’s been a very good runner for four years, but she became a great competitor and great racer this year. It’s been a great last year for her.”
Hinsdale South sophomore Sarah Leganski will not give up on her goal.
After falling short of a state berth for the second year in a row, Leganski will try to make it happen her final two seasons.
“My goal all season was to try and get to state,” Leganski said. “I was crushed last year because I was about six seconds short, so it’s disappointing again, but making state is always going to be a goal for me.”
Leganski finished 23rd in 18:34.1 to pace the Hornets to 15th place Saturday at the Class 3A Marist Sectional. Marist senior Moira McDermott finished in 18:23.9 to claim the final at-large berth.