STERLING – Bailee Fortney was the leader of the pack, and it led to some more success for Rock Falls at the Twin Cities girls cross country race on Tuesday at Woodlawn School.
The Rockets had six of the first 10 finishers and defeated Sterling 20-36. Newman also competed, but did not field a full team.
Fortney crossed the finish line in 19 minutes, 41 seconds, ahead of teammate Alex Gomez, who had a time of 20:05.
Calin Gaulrapp (4th, 20:20), Bry Ganther (6th, 20:42) and Erin Porter (7th, 21:01) had the other counting places for the Rockets. Sydney Reyes was 10th in 21:55.
“We’re all trying to go out a lot harder, so we knew it was going to be a pack of Rock Falls at the front,” Fortney said. “Like in practice, it was a race between me and Alex, and me and all of my teammates. They’re a good guide of where I should be.”
It was the second Twin Cities win for Fortney, who also won it as a sophomore.
“Last year, a lot of us were still trying to get in shape, and I was struggling a lot at the beginning of the season,” Fortney said. “This year, we had a good summer of training, and this is the strongest I’ve been at the beginning of a season so far.”
Sterling was paced by Lilly Peavy, who took third with a time of 20:17. She was hoping to give Fortney and Gomez a bit more of a scare.
“It wasn’t the best race I’ve run, but it was pretty good,” Peavy said. “I feel like I could have pushed myself harder. I was trying to get as many of the Rock Falls girls as possible. I didn’t get them all, but I got most of them.”
Kylie Nicklaus (5th, 20:30), Madilyn Barnhart (8th, 21:12), Mika Martinez (9th, 21:26) and Madisyn Nicklaus (11th, 22:13) had the other counting places for Sterling.
Leading the way for Newman was Gianna Widolff, who was 16th in 23:10.
The Comets are still without their top runner, Karlie Hey, who is sidelined with an injury to her right foot and has been in a walking boot for the past 2 weeks. It was diagnosed as an overuse injury from summer training, and she was scheduled to return to the doctor today.
If all goes well, she hopes to return for a meet at Peoria Notre Dame on Friday, Sept. 27. If that doesn’t work out, the next meet would be the Three Rivers Conference race on Tuesday, Oct. 1 at Rockridge.
Girls cross country
Twin Cities Meet
1. Rock Falls 20, Sterling 36
Winner: Bailee Fortney (RF) 19:41