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The Evanston Girls Cross Country varsity team traveled to Orlando, Fla., to compete in the Walt Disney World Cross Country Classic this past weekend. The prior day’s early morning flight meant they were short on sleep, but they were certainly not short on energy. The team gave a very impressive performance in the 5K race, placing 6th out of 32 4A schools from around the nation.  In fact, the top five finishers clocked in at the 11th-fastest average time among the 105 varsity teams who competed across the four divisions this past weekend.

The race attracted a much more competitive field this year. According to Coach Zachary Herrmann, only six girls ran sub-20 minutes for the 5K course last year. This year, there were 17, including Evanston’s Kyla Steman.

 The weekend activities were a clear departure from those of the typical teenager, and the weather was quite different from what we typically experience in October in the Midwest.  The girls were up to the challenge, though. “They adjusted very well to the humidity and the temperature, proving that they can run well and race tough regardless of the conditions,” coach Herrmann commented.

The excitement of hanging out with Mickey Mouse at a pasta party and visiting the Magic Kingdom might have contributed to the Wildkits’ energy, but in the end their success was a result of their hard work. “We’ve certainly built an ethic on the team this year that doesn’t allow us to make excuses,” the coach said. “We show up ready to run hard. We show up ready to race.”

Coach Herrmann hopes their Disney World success will give the girls confidence moving into the conference meet next weekend.

Other top performers:

Emma Dzwierzynski, Cami Zecker, Hunter Wortmann, Sophie Hawkins, Gabby Dinsmore

and Caitlin Westerfield.