With 207 girls in the Lyons Township cross-country program, the present and near future of LT's female runners appears in good shape. This year's varsity squad will be a direct beneficiary of the program's deep talent pool.
Junior Jane Simpson, a two-time All-state cross-country runner, leads a varsity team comprised of upperclassmen Keegan Jilrea, Mary Grace Nora, Sarah Wolz, Lisa Devereux, Wendy Wise and Danielle Zimmer. Along with these veteran runners, the Lions also boast an influx of young talent, notably sophomore Katie Flaherty as well as freshmen Katherin Rehn and Eliza Dudley.
"Our expectations are to win our conference title, qualify for state and try to win it," Lyons fifth-year head coach Julie Metz said. "Some teams are stronger than us initially, but as the season wears on, we usually make a strong push."
The Lions are off to a fast start this year, capturing third place in the Reavis cross-country meet that took place over the weekend. In a field of 19 teams, the Lions scored 103 points, trailing only Sandburg (76 points) and the meet winner, Mother McAuley (64 points).
Simpson finished fourth at Reavis and Rehn timed in at 18:46, which broke the previous sophomore course record of 19:56. Rehn's impressive run would have checked in seventh in the individual varsity standings.
"These girls have been running together for several years and they are very comfortable with each other," Metz said. "Some of them have put in anywhere from 300 to 500 miles training."
Coming off a year that included a third place finish in the West Suburban (Silver) Conference and an 11th place showing at state, the Lions should once again battle defending conference champion Hinsdale Central and York for conference supremacy.
The Lions will be able to better gauge their early season success this Thursday when rival York visits Lyons for an important conference meeting.
"We have excellent senior leadership which always helps when you take on teams like York ," added Metz.
LT boys finish strong at Reavis
The Lyons boys cross-country team also fared well at the Reavis meet, scoring 38 points and sharing top honors with Hinsdale South. Individually, the Lions placed four runners, Kevin Campbell (16:04), Jake Discipio (16:06), Sam Kehoe (16:07) and Neil Driscoll (16:09) in the top 10.