Nov. 4—CATLIN — The last cross-country race for Oakwood/Salt Fork senior Macie Russell will be one for remembrance and redemption.
Russell will take part in her third IHSA Class 1A state meet today at Peoria's Detweiler Park and she wants to finish way higher than her finish last season.
"I am extremely excited and I call it my redemption race," Russell said. "Last year, I didn't have the best race that I wanted, so to come back and go out better is exciting and I am excited to see what I can do."
Russell got to state last week with her 13th place finish at a sectional race in Decatur. Unlike the last two years, she was joined by her teammates in the race.
"Since I have been here, we had not had a girls team go to the sectional," Russell said. "So that was cool, but the team did not qualify."
With being the sole member of the Comets in the race, Russell has been braving the cold to get ready.
"I have been training outside. It has been me and the coaches because no matter what, everyone is going to be running in cold weather on Saturday," Russell said.
For the second straight year, the meet is in the middle of a very busy stretch for Russell. As a statistician for the Salt Fork football team, the chances of her getting there for the Storm's second-round game with Sesser-Vailere today will depend on a lot of things.
"We looked it up and it is three hours away," Russell said. "It will all depend on how the race goes and how it goes with time. I might have enough to make the game, so we will just see."
Along with that, she finished playing volleyball for Salt Fork and is gearing up for basketball.
"It is always very chaotic, but we are done with volleyball and I have this last week of cross country and then it is basketball next week," Russell said. "Once I get into the winter, it is not that chaotic. Yes, basketball has a lot of games, but I am not balancing two sports."
But her main focus is today and getting a chance to see some familiar faces and get near the top of the state.
"The Unity pack is a good group. They run very well and if you can run with them, that is someone that you try to go for and Savanna (Franzen) from St. Joe, she's always around me. I have gotten her and she has gotten me in the past. I want to at least get in that front pack."
Joining Russell is Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin sophomore Aleah Potter, who makes her state meet debut after grabbing the last individual qualifying spot at Decatur.
"I have raced against Aleah. I don't really have a close relationship with her, but I am glad she made it," Russell said. "I am excited and I am sure I will see her during the race."
The race will start at 9 a.m. at Detweiler Park.