They may have been small in number, but the women’s cross country runners were mighty in effort and enthusiasm throughout the 2017 season.

Injuries plagued the Cyclones for most of the year, halting any efforts to claim a fourth straight Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference title. However, the seven runners worked hard and earned a number of honors, including sending two to the NJCAA Division I Cross Country Championships.

Three of the four sophomores earned All-Conference honors—Theresa Orr (Argo), Fabiola Castillo (Argo) and Caitlin Griffin (Richards)—as did freshman Calista Stefaniak (Kennedy). After placing in the top 15 and earning All-NJCAA Region IV honors, both Orr and Stefaniak competed at nationals on Nov. 11 in Fort Dodge, Iowa. Even in the cold and mist, Stefaniak ran her fastest time of the season (20:16) and placed 104th out of 309 competitors while Orr missed her own record by seconds (242nd, 22:28).

Leading the Cyclones across the finish line all season, Stefaniak earned her place as the fifth fastest female runner at Moraine Valley. “Calista was a great new addition this year. She was our top finisher in every race and got better and better as the season progressed. She’s already one of the fastest women we have had in this program. She has the work ethic and the will to succeed, and that will help her make a lot of noise next year. I’m excited to see what she will do,” said head Coach Dimitri Dimizas, who completed his second year leading the Cyclones.

Orr, Castillo, Griffin, and Fiona Agapito (Oak Lawn) were the sophomore leaders of the group and will be missed as they move on next year, but the returners and a new recruiting class will help this team flourish.

“Theresa, Fabiola, Caitlin, and Fiona each dealt with a setback at some point during the season, but it never caused them to give up, and that’s a great trait to have. I hope they continue their running careers somewhere. I know they’ll be successful with whatever they choose to do,” Dimizas said. “Guadalupe Diaz (Reavis) and Natalie Moreno (Reavis) rounded out our seven. They are both freshmen who will use their experiences from this season to continue improving. Their toughness is something that will be a great example for the new runners next year.”