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Cyclones repeat as Skyway champs, send one to nationals to cap season

Cyclones repeat as Skyway champs, send one to nationals to cap season

The 2019 Cyclone women's cross country team met expectations by repeating as Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference champions, sending one to nationals and improving their speed to wrap up a triumphant season.

With only two returners from last season — Victoria Granz and Madison Krisch — the crew was comprised of mostly freshmen. But this combo of runners proved to be just the right mixture for success.

"I knew what to expect from Victoria and Madison, but with the freshmen, the expectation wasn't the same. The freshmen, however, were faster than they were in high school, which is unusual and usually takes until their sophomore year. I'm happy and proud of all of them," said Head Coach Dimitri Dimizas, who completed his fourth season running the program.

Earning their second consecutive Skyway championship and placing third in the NJCAA Region IV championship was a highlight. Collectively, the Cyclones improved all season, battling injuries along the way, including Krisch, who just missed a second berth to nationals. Freshman Jaime Funk was another one of the injured, but still was able to run a PR. Granz earned All-Region and All-Conference honors, earning a repeat trip to nationals (finishing 177th out of 290 runners) to end her time at Moraine Valley. Krisch and freshman Adali Haro also received All-Conference honors for their final performances of the season. "Adali stood out this season with her work ethic and attitude toward everything. I talk about being a runner and a racer. Adali was a racer. She was there to compete every time," Dimizas said.

With additional contributions from freshmen Yasmeen Abuhayyeh and Nicole Pannitto, the Cyclones were able to continue the program's winning streak. In the last six seasons, they have brought home five conference championships.

Although sad to lose his sophomores to graduation, Dimizas is recruiting for next year and counting on his freshmen to return strong and ready to duplicate some high feats.

"All four have good work ethic and are a solid core. As long as that continues, we'll be good," Dimizas said.