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Leman places 10th at CSL South cross country
When Evanston girls cross country coach Rosette Ochoa saw Hope Leman wavering and wobbling at about the 2-mile mark Saturday in Winnetka, she knew the senior standout was in trouble.
After matching eventual winner Natalie Sandalow of Glenbrook North stride for stride for the first two-thirds of the race, Leman faded to a 10th place finish at the Central Suburban League South division cross country championship meet.
Leman, one of the pre-race favorites to take the individual crown, instead settled for all-conference recognition with a 10th place showing in 19 minutes, 7.58 seconds. Sandalow’s winning time of 18:29.73 was 10 second quicker than the runnerup, Molly Durow of Glenbrook South.
Leman cited asthma problems and a lack of competitive racing as reasons for her faltering over the final portion of the race.
“I’m not beating myself up about this because I’ve only run 3 other races this year, and most of them felt more like time trials than races,” said the ETHS senior. “This was my first real competition and I guess I just wasn’t used to having someone push me. I did feel like I hit the wall (at the 2-mile mark). I didn’t feel I had it in me physically to push through that last mile. Maybe I needed to take it out more slowly for the first two miles.”
“Usually Hope looks so strong, but today she wavered,” said Ochoa. “I know she wasn’t feeling well today. It just wasn’t her day. She hasn’t run many races this year, so she hasn’t been pushed to her capacity.
“When she ran that first mile in 6 minutes I knew she was off today.”
Except for Leman, the Wildkits counted season and personal bests across the board from senior Emily McCandlish, 23rd in 20:03.73); sophomore Ella Gutierrez, 25th in 20:10.47; junior Lauren Dain, 29th in 20:24.79; and senior Mollie Davis, 31st in 20:36.24 on their way to a 5th place team finish with 118 points.
McCandlish knocked a staggering 43 seconds off her previous best 3-mile test.
“They all did a great job today. They’re really developing and progressing nicely,” said Ochoa.