Women's Cross Country
November 19, 2014
Championships crown 2014 season
The 2014 season was truly special for the Cyclones—competing in the NJCAA
Division I championship, winning Region IV and Illinois Skyway Collegiate
Conference titles, being nationally ranked, having the program’s first
All-American, and earning All-Conference and All-Region honors. And they
accomplished all that with a freshman core.
“Way last spring when the five first-year runners who make up the core of our team were still in high school, we knew we could have an outstanding season if they worked hard together and gained the understanding of how to compete at this level. Well, they did, and we are so pleased for them,” said Coach Mark Horstmeyer.
Led by All-American Aileen Gorman (Marist), the team finished 24th at the NJCAA Division I championship—matching their place in the final national poll. Gorman, en route to a 36th place finish, set the Moraine Valley 5K record clocking a 19:11. Over the span of two seasons, Gorman twice collected All-Conference and All-Region first-team berths as well as an individual conference title. She also competed both years in the national championship. “Aileen is a very special athlete. There wasn’t a race where she wasn’t in pain, and I know at times she was really frustrated. But she accepted her situation and just kept at it. It’s been a privilege watching her grow and earn her much deserved awards,” Horstmeyer said.
Even with the departure of Gorman and second-year runner Jessica Flores (Argo), a two-time national qualifier, the future looks bright. The core for next year remains intact—All-Region and All-Conference selections Abby Correa (Oak Forest), Crystal Flores (Argo), and Jackie Navarette (Shepard) as well as Sarah McCann (Marist) and Amy Miller (Shepard). Also returning will be Tonie Wasco (Sandburg) and Jessica Pinkos (Sandburg).
“Coming out of high school, they all had personal bests around the same time, so we knew and they knew that we could have a championship-caliber season if they all helped each other—not just in races but also in training,” Horstmeyer said. “Coach [Dimitri] Dimizas and I stressed the pack mentality and that became their mark of distinction. There were several races where the gap between our second finisher and our sixth finisher was less than a minute. At the national championship, the gap between our second and fifth scorer was nine seconds.”
The region and conference titles were not handed to them. They earned them through hard work and dedication, according to their coaches. The team trains early in the morning, and many of those mornings were rainy and/or cold. The regular season race schedule also was set up to give them experience in competing against four-year colleges and universities, many of them nationally ranked in NCAA Division III and NAIA polls. “They understood our training and racing approach. They never backed off. They never complained. As hard as their workouts were and as competitive as their races were, they were all designed to get them ready to be at their best when they had to be—the region/conference championships. They bought into it early on. They are a wonderful group to coach. We look forward to helping them in the long off-season to get even better,” Horstmeyer said. “Because they know that they will have to be stronger and faster to achieve something no other Moraine Valley cross country team has done—win back-to-back titles.”
November 10, 2014
Cyclones put stamp on national championship
The nationally ranked Cyclones lived up to that billing at the NJCAA
Division I Cross Country Championship on Nov. 8 at Shadow Hills Golf
Course in Lubbock, Texas, finishing 24th of 36 teams and fielding the
program’s first All-American.
Aileen Gorman (Marist) became the first Cyclone to earn All-American honors for either the women’s or men’s cross country team since the program was reinstituted in 2000. She finished 36th among 274 competitors. In the process, she also set the 5K school record, crossing the finish line in 19:11. During her two years as a Cyclone, she has been a two-time national qualifier and All-Region and All-Conference first-team selection twice. She also claimed a conference individual title.
“We are so excited for her,” said Coach Mark Horstmeyer. “We thought she had a shot at earning All-American. I was counting places at the three-mile mark and Coach [Dimitri] Dimizas was counting at the finish, and we both had in her in the top 40, which is All-American. We are extremely proud of her.”
As the “Cyclone Pack” has done all season, on the national stage they again proved the pollsters right who picked them 24th in the final ranking. The contingent was led this time by Amy Miller (Shepard) in 157th in 21:02, Crystal Flores (Argo) in 164th in 21:06, Abby Correa (Oak Forest) in 169th in 21:10, Jackie Navarette (Shepard) in 170th in 21:11, Sarah McCann (Marist) in 199th in 21:44, and Jessica Flores (Argo) in 213th in 22:09.
“We couldn’t be more pleased for our Pack,” Horstmeyer said. “We challenged them not to rest on their conference and region laurels because they still had more work to do, and they responded with their best effort of the year. They saved the best for last. What a place to do it! What’s exciting is that Amy, Crystal, Abby, Jackie, and Sarah are freshmen, so the future looks bright.”
Horstmeyer also had praise for Jessica Flores, a two-time national qualifier. “Jess has had to deal with injuries her two years here and has battled through them to help her team win championships and compete at nationals. I couldn’t be happier for her that she finishes her Moraine Valley career on such a high note.”
October 31, 2014
Cyclones nationally ranked
The Cyclones climbed back into the women’s national rankings in 24th place after they claimed Region IV Division I and Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference championships Oct. 25. The team shares the spot with Garden City Community College (Kansas). The women’s team will compete in the NJCAA Division I Cross Country Championship on Nov. 8 in Lubbock, Texas.
October 27, 2014
Cyclones sweep championships to advance to nationals
The Cyclones blew into the combined Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference
and NJCAA Region IV Division I championships on Oct. 25 and left with two
titles in tow and a host of individual honors.
The team will now compete in the NJCAA Division I championship on Nov. 8 in Lubbock, Texas.
The Cyclones topped nine other teams for their third Region IV crown. They also captured titles in 2003 and 2006.
Aileen Gorman crossed the line first for the Region IV titlists, finishing in third place in 19:28 over the 5K course at St. James Farm in Warrenville. She was followed by Abby Correa (10th in 20:55), Crystal Flores (12th in 21:17), Jackie Navarette (15th in 21:53), Amy Miller (24th in 22:03), Sarah McCann (36th in 23:17), Jessica Flores (37th in 23:17), Tonie Wasco (53rd in 25:03), and Jessica Pinkos (65th in 33:24). There were 66 runners in the race. Gorman, Correa, Crystal Flores, and Navarette earned All-Region IV honors.
In also taking the conference championship, besting six other teams, the women claimed their fourth crown. Gorman finished in third place. She was followed by Correa in seventh, Crystal Flores in eighth, Navarette in 10th, Miller in 13th, McCann in 16th, Jessica Flores in 17th, Wasco in 24th, and Pinkos in 33rd place. There were 34 runners in the race. Gorman, Correa, Crystal Flores, and Navarette earned All-Conference honors.
“We are thrilled for the girls,” said Coach Mark Horstmeyer. “We told them that they would have to be at their best, and they were exactly that. It truly was a team effort. They are a very special group of runners. And now they have the opportunity to take part on the biggest stage in their lives—competing at the national championship. We couldn’t be prouder of them.”
Horstmeyer lauded Gorman for her outstanding work in leading the team all year. “Aileen is just super—she has had to battle injuries all season, and she came through in the clutch. She’s so focused and committed to improving. She’s special.” Gorman is a two-time first team All-Conference and All-Region selection. This will be her second trip to nationals.
“Our core strength this year has been our number two through seven runners, and they showed that again. They knew what their role was and what they would have to do if we were going to take home the prize,” Horstmeyer said. “They came through. Abby, Crystal and Jackie are to be commended for earning All-Conference and All-Region. Amy, Sarah and Jess also pulled through for us in a big way. We are really pleased with their performance.”
Horstmeyer also praised Wasco and Pinkos. “Tonie continued to improve throughout the season—she has an outstanding work ethic, and as she continues to work, she’ll continue to be successful. Jessica has come a long way since the start of the season when she was still having to deal with her recovery from major knee surgery due to an injury she suffered last spring in track. She just kept at it. We’re really proud of her,” Horstmeyer said.
October 20, 2014
Personally, the best day for Cyclones so far
Most of the Cyclones ran “PR’s” at the highly competitive University of
Wisconsin-Oshkosh AAE Invitational on Oct. 18 at Lake Breeze Golf Club in
Winneconne and finished 38 out of 42 teams.
Aileen Gorman crossed the line first, finishing in 271st place in 24:17 over the fast 6K course. She was followed by Amy Miller (411th, 25:55), Abby Correa (435th, 26:18), Jackie Navarette (461st, 26:50), Crystal Flores (462nd, 26:50), Jessica Flores (496th, 27:56), Tonie Wasco (541st, 31:17), and Jessica Pinkos (554th, 40:35). There were 560 runners in the race.
“They responded to our challenge,” said their coach Mark Horstmeyer. “This is an awesome race. We knew that if the weather cooperated—which it did—the girls would have no excuse not to get after it. For most of them they hit PR’s. We’re very pleased with the outcome, but they know they still can do better.”
They will have to. Looming on Saturday are the combined Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference and the NJCAA Region IV championships. “They will have to be at the very best on Saturday. This is what we have been pointing toward since we started Aug. 1. They have worked very hard, and they want to be in the mix. We think they will be,” Horstmeyer said.
October 6, 2014
Cyclones respond to challenges at Warrior Invitational
The Cyclones not only faced challenges from the weather and the course,
but also from their coaches, and the nationally-ranked team responded Oct. 5 at Wisconsin Lutheran College’s Warrior Invitational, finishing
seventh among 14 teams.
Aileen Gorman led the way in 24th place in 25:49 over the 6K course at Greenfield Park in West Allis. She was followed by Abby Correa (38th in 26:40), Crystal Flores (40th in 26:45), Amy Miller (42nd in 26:50), Sarah McCann (44th in 26:57), Jackie Navarette (75th in 28:40), Jessica Flores (77th in 28:49), Tonie Wasco (99th 30:39), and Jessica Pinkos (134th in 41:48). There were 134 finishers.
“It was cold and windy and spitting rain, and the course is hilly—but nothing the girls haven’t encountered frequently during their workouts. We told them that the race is set up ‘perfectly’ for them to rebound from a lackluster race at Augustana College last week. They did just that. They got back to running the way they can in their pack. Our two through five were 17 seconds apart. We’re really pleased with how they responded, and they are too,” said Coach Mark Horstmeyer.
The NJCAA Division I 23rd-ranked Cyclones now take a week off from racing to start their preparation for the conference and regional championships just three weeks ahead. Their final regular season contest will be at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh on Oct. 18. “This is a great tune-up for our conference and regional championships. UW-Oshkosh is hosting the NCAA Division III regional, so a lot of top teams and individuals show up to get familiar with the course before their competition. There will be teams from nine states toeing the line. It’s a lot of fun for our women to be a part of this invite,” Horstmeyer said.
October 2, 2014
Cyclones step up in national poll
The Cyclones moved up a notch in the National Junior College Athletic Association Division I Cross Country poll this week sharing the 23rd spot with Danville Community College. For the past two weeks the women shared the 24th position with Cowley College. There were no changes atop the rankings. Iowa Central Community College held onto its No. 1 spot as Central Arizona College and El Paso Community College did for second and third place.
September 29, 2014
Cyclones struggle a bit at Augustana
The Cyclones took on a large, competitive field Sept. 26 at the
Brissman-Lundeen Invitational in Rock Island and found themselves in 30th
place among 34 teams.
Aileen Gorman finished first for the Cyclones in 67th place in 24:03 over the 6K course. She was followed by Sarah McCann (295th, 27:06), Crystal Flores (297th, 27:07), Abby Correa (337th, 27:50), Amy Miller (341st, 27:52), Jackie Navarette (348th, 27:55), and Tonie Wasco (451st, 31:52). There were 498 finishers at the Augustana College-hosted race.
“Our spacing wasn’t up to what we have been doing previously, so we have to get back to running the way we can,” said Coach Mark Horstmeyer. “I know the heat played a role—mid-80s during the race, but the girls aren’t using it as an excuse nor are we. There were some positives, so we will focus on those as we get ready for our next test.”
That test will come on Saturday at the Wisconsin Lutheran College Warrior Invitational in West Allis. “This is a challenging course—it has some hills and inclines but the girls run on terrain like this every day, so they should be up to the challenge. It’s supposed to be cooler, so I look for a good performance,” their coach said.
September 22, 2014
Cyclones push to 13th place at Gil Dodds Invitational
The Cyclones took on their first 6K of the season at the Wheaton
College-hosted Gil Dodds Invitational on Sept. 20, finishing 13th out of 15
Aileen Gorman crossed the line first, finishing in 69th place in 25:05 over the 6,030-meter course at St. James Farm in Warrenville. She was followed by Crystal Flores in 138th in 27:16, Jackie Navarette in 139th in 27:17, Abby Correa in 145th in 27:34, Sarah McCann in 157th in 28:00, Amy Miller in 160th in 28:05, and Jessica Flores in 191st in 30:14. There were 212 runners who completed the altered course due to construction at the forest preserve.
“We weren’t as sharp as we wanted to be, and the girls were disappointed,” said Coach Mark Horstmeyer. “We still liked how our second through sixth runner finished, but the spacing wasn’t what we had hoped for, especially after how well they did at Illinois Intercollegiates. I think our first-year kids learned a lot from this race in terms of needing to push harder when it’s not quite going the way they wanted it to. They will take that knowledge into their next race, and we expect the results will be different. They were the top two-year college finisher so they acquitted themselves well.”
The Cyclones now travel to Rock Island on Friday to compete in the Brissman-Lundeen Invitational hosted by Augustana College. “This is a very competitive, fast race, and another 6K test. We look forward to the challenge,” Horstmeyer said.
September 18, 2014
Cyclones ranked in national poll
The women’s cross country team re-entered the NJCAA Division
I rankings this week at the 24th spot tied with Barton County Community
College of Kansas. Iowa Central Community College sits atop the poll as they
did last week followed by Central Arizona and then El Paso (Texas) Community
College in third place. Gillette (Wyoming) Community College and Pima
(Arizona) Community College rounded out the top five.
The Cyclones are the only Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference and NJCAA Region IV Division I team ranked this week.
September 15, 2014
Cyclones flock to finish at Illinois Intercollegiates
The Cyclones “packed” it in Sept. 12 at the Illinois
Intercollegiate Cross Country Championship at Olivet Nazarene University,
finishing 12th of 14 teams.
Aileen Gorman led the rush, finishing in 38th place in 20:25 over the 5K course at the Aspen Ridge Golf Club. She was followed by Jackie Navarette (90th, 22:31), Abby Correa (91st, 22:34), Amy Miller (94th, 22:39), Crystal Flores (96th, 22:45), Sarah McCann (97th, 22:48), Jessica Flores (120th, 24:19), Nemy Hernandez (122nd, 24:47), and Tonie Wasco (125th, 25:06). There were 139 finishers.
“The girls were awesome! They executed our plan the way we drew it up,” said Coach Mark Horstmeyer. “We really emphasized this week to run as a pack, and our 2-6 were separated by a total of 17 seconds. They looked like the green horde heading to the finish.”
The Cyclones now take on their first 6K challenge on Saturday at the Wheaton College-hosted Gil Dodds Invitational. “Our test this week will be consistency and dealing with the added distance. The girls were excited with their performance at Illinois Intercollegiates, and I think there will be a lot of enthusiasm to continue what they established,” Horstmeyer said. “This also gives them an opportunity to race on the course where conference and regionals will be held.”
September 8, 2014
Cyclones continue to make strides in first full-fledge race
Despite the heat, humidity and threatening skies, the Cyclones took another
step forward running their first 5K race Sept. 5 at Olivet
Nazarene University’s Midwest Classic, finishing fourth among six teams.
Aileen Gorman led the way over the steamy Aspen Ridge Golf Course, finishing in 26th place in 21:08. She was followed by Abby Correa (46th, 23:25), Amy Miller (50th, 23:50.90), Jackie Navarette (51st, 23:50.93), Crystal Flores (57th, 24:21), Jessica Flores (62nd, 24:54), Nemy Hernandez (65th, 25:40), and Tonie Wasco (66th, 25:42). There were 78 finishers.
“Weather-wise it was challenging, especially for their first 5K of the season,” said Coach Mark Horstmeyer. “Times were slow and not indicative of what we’re capable of doing. The grouping of our 2-6 improved, but we still have a lot more to do to close the gap. We’re on the right track, however.”
The team returns to Aspen Ridge on Friday for the Illinois Intercollegiates hosted by Olivet Nazarene. “They have a rare opportunity for a ‘do-over.’ They have run the course, and they gained another week of racing against top talent. If the weather cooperates, we should see a demonstration of what we’re capable of achieving,” Horstmeyer said.
September 5, 2014
The Cyclones are among the best in the nation after the first week of competition. The women are ranked 11th in the first 2014 NJCAA Division I poll. “We’re pleased that we have been recognized, and we’ll use it as added motivation to continue to work hard,” said Coach Mark Horstmeyer.
September 2, 2014
Cyclones start off on positive step
The Cyclones launched their 2014 campaign on Friday, Aug. 29, on a high note
at Elmhurst College’s Early Bird Invitational, finishing ninth of 11 teams.
As she did all last season, Aileen Gorman led the attack over the 4K course, finishing in 17th place in 16:19. She was followed by Jackie Navarette (60th, 18:09), Crystal Flores (66th, 18:23), Abby Correa (69th, 18:37), Sarah McCann (75th, 18:58), Amy Miller (76th, 19:01), Jessica Flores (106th, 20:20), and Nemy Hernandez (112th, 20:34). There were 131 finishers.
“We were pleased with their first outing. Many positives. For all but two of our runners—Aileen and Jessica—this was their first collegiate race, and they gave us a preview of things to come,” said Coach Mark Horstmeyer. “They got a really good idea of how competitive it is at this level. There’s nothing better than actually getting in there and mixing it up. We had talked about finishing strong, and they did that. We’re heading in the right direction.”
The team heads to the Midwest Classic at Olivet Nazarene University on Friday to take on their first 5K test. “We’re looking forward to continued improvement and gaining experience. Should be fun,” their coach said.
August 28, 2014
Cyclones excited with potential this season
The 2014 Cyclones return only two runners from last year’s conference
runner-up team, so it will be incumbent on the group of newcomers to gel
quickly. They are up to the task.
Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference champion Aileen Gorman (Marist) leads the pack. The national qualifier and All-NJCAA Division I Region IV first-team selection shows no signs of resting on her laurels. “Aileen is not satisfied with her accomplishments from last year which included a 50th place finish among 281 competitors at nationals,” said Coach Mark Horstmeyer, who is in his 15th year at the helm. “She is expecting a lot from herself and is putting in the work to get there. We’re excited for her.” Gorman also was conference Most Valuable Runner and an Academic All-American.
Also returning is national qualifier Jessica Flores (Argo), who will be counted on heavily for team success. “Jessica showed us what she was capable of accomplishing last year. We will need her experience to help us be ready for the championship season,” Horstmeyer said.
Helping the duo are some strong newcomers. Jackie Navarrate leads a group of experienced high school runners who includes her Shepard High School teammate Amy Miller along with Abby Correa (Oak Forest), Crystal Flores (Argo), Sarah McCann (Marist), Nemy Hernandez (Oak Forest), Tonie Wasco (Sandburg), and Jessica Pinkos (Sandburg).
“Jackie really put in the time over the summer and continues to work very hard. She is committed to improving every day, and that work ethic will really pay off for her and for us. She has a tremendous upside,” Horstmeyer said. “Amy also committed herself to putting in the miles over the summer, and that effort continues. She will be relied on to help us a lot. She shows great potential.”
“Abby was a very solid contributor for Oak Forest, and we think she can accomplish much more. We expect her to have an outstanding year, and as her confidence builds during the season, she’ll also see what she’s capable of achieving,” he said. “Crystal is another hard worker. She did everything we asked her to do this summer, and she continues to work hard. We think she will adjust quickly to this level, so we are counting on her to contribute significantly to any success we have. Sarah doesn’t have as much high school experience as some of her teammates, but she’ll gain that after she has a couple of races under her belt. She is showing us that she will be another important cog to our success.”
Horstmeyer also sees a lot of positives for Hernandez and Wasco, both having a lot of high school experience. “I like Nemy’s grit. She’s just determined and committed to improving. Tonie comes from a top high school program, so she understands what she has to do to compete successfully at this level. I can see big things for her and Nemy by the end of October when championships are on the line,” Horstmeyer said. “I also like Jessica Pinkos’ determination. She is rehabbing a knee from an injury she incurred this past spring in track, and she is progressing. Her commitment to getting better is apparent and that will help her when she can return to action.”
As the Cyclones prepare to battle it out for titles and a spot in the national championship, one word sums it up best: “POTENTIAL.”
“They all have a ton of it. It will be fun to help them develop it and realize it, and then watch them use it to the fullest. This will be an exciting year,” Horstmeyer said.