Women's Cross Country
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.