Cross country makes ‘her’story

Jones girls cross country narrowly beats out rivals to win first ever city title


VICTORY: Runners and coaches celebrate after the race.

Girls Cross Country triumphed at City Championships on Oct. 15 at Washington Park, securing their first championship win in team history.

Runners rejoiced after an intense season brought home the victory. 

“It was really exciting to make that history. It was a really rewarding feeling too because that’s something we’ve worked for – proving to others that we are a competitive team,” said top runner Evelyn Hett ‘23. 

Though the team strived to win the title, Hett and her teammates didn’t anticipate the exciting victory.

“I don’t think we expected to win. It was a three team battle, so we knew we had a shot,” said Hett. “It was really just trying to hang on and get as many points placement wise as possible.”

The girls’ strategy proved to prevail as they took first place with times that surprised both themselves and their coaches. 

“The girls ran better than I even expected, and this is the best collective effort that I’ve seen, and the best quality performance,” said Head Coach Tanner Beebe. 

Despite Jones’ impressive performance, rivals Whitney Young and Lane Tech still provided great competition, with Whitney finishing just six points behind Jones. 

“It was Lane and Whitney [their top competitors]. Typically Lane wins, so our main focus was Lane, but it ended up being Whitney in second place,” said Hett. “It was kind of just attaching ourselves to runners and really putting it all out there.” 

The win was especially gratifying for runners returning from last season when championship hopes were cut off just before the citywide race.

“We thought last year we were going to be able to [win], but then our top runner got injured right before, so we weren’t able to get it that year,”  said Captain Hastings BaCote ‘23.  “This year, things lined up right.”

On top of all runners being healthy this year, a change in coaching also helped propel the team to their win. 

“There’s definitely been a change [with the new coach]. Coach Beebe is very supportive of us as individual people and not just as athletes,” said BaCote. “I think having him as a support beyond just our athletic performance has been really good for the team.”

Beebe’s encouraging attitude has also brought the team together in new ways. 

“We’ve shifted focus and put a priority on competing well as a team. Working together and working with other people motivates you and keeps you on task. That was a big thing for us,” said Hett. 

Now that the team has fulfilled their original goal of winning City Championships, they have their sights set on qualifying for  Illinois High School Association (IHSA) State. 

“I think if we race the way we did at city’s, [making State] is definitely a possibility and a realistic goal to aim for, but it’s not going to be easy,” said BaCote.  “We have to race really hard if we want it.” 

Even with challenging competitors, Beebe believes his team’s consistency can be the key to their success. 

“Anything can happen on race day. Good, bad, ugly, or otherwise. But I think if we execute our race plan, then we will have a good shot [at making State],” Beebe said. 

Regardless of what happens during the postseason, runners will always have the memory of taking first in City Championships as a team. 

“It was a really good feeling to be able to celebrate with the people that I love. It was great to have that moment and share that with them,” said BaCote.