Ridgewood Ready to Run
“Getting to run in the big meets again,” was the overwhelming response from Kendra Downing, Mollie Bennett, and Ruth Losey when asked what they were most looking forward to in the 2021 season. The Spartans will be returning to such meet favorites as the Rock Falls Invitational, tha Galesburg Invitational, and for senior Matt VanHyfte and the other Spartans, the First to the Finish Invitational at Detweiller Park in Peoria. “I love that meet because it’s on the state course and there are so many runners at it.” VanHyfte commented. The September 11th meet is the largest high school cross country invitationals in the midwest with high schools from multiple states attending.
The season is full of promise for the Ridgewood crew despite losing seniors Nick Janson, Anna Paul, Lauren Anderson, Pablo Avila-Rubio, and Joe Keever to graduation. “It’s something we look at every year,” coach Al Steider observed, “of course we miss them but we just look forward to the runners coming back and going right back to work.” Steider and Karen Clark are back at the helm for the Spartans.
The Spartans admit to running less this summer than last summer due to the limit of contact days. Last summer due to the cancellation of the spring track season and the question mark of what was to come in the fall, the coaches were given unlimited time to work with the athletes. This year, things were back to normal with the limited days coaches could work with the athletes. “We’ve had to focus on the quality of our workouts due to the lack of quantity but the kids worked really hard to get the most out of each session.” Steider added.
The girls team will feature one of the strongest core groups Ridgewood has had in the past few years. Junior Kendra Downing and sophomore Miranda Reed will anchor the Spartans with Mollie Bennet, Brooklyn Humphrey, and Kira Messerly rounding out the top five spots. However, senior Mollie Bennet has been working hard in the off season and will be a factor on the Spartan Squad.
The boys team has a lot of potential coming into the 2021 season. Seniors Matt VanHyfte and Jager Samuelson, along with sophomore Fernando Avila-Rubio are returning and will be looked to to anchor the team. The boys could see some help from a pair of freshmen, Taber Swanson and Tucker Snook. Both have had a good summer of workouts and could make a splash for the Spartans.
Hopefully the Spartans will be able to host a meet or two at Valley View Golf Course as they did last year. However none are on the schedule at this time. The 2021 campaign will begin on August 24th at the Rock Falls Invitational. The closest meet for fans right now will be on August 30th at the Annawan Wethersfield Invitational held at the Dunes in Kewanee.