Enyaeva Michelin got a taste of what it’s like to compete at an elite level with the state’s best distance runners Saturday at the Class 3A Illinois High School Association state cross country finals Saturday at Detweiller Park in Peoria.
That taste left the Evanston junior hungry for more.
A successful half-miler for Evanston’s girls track team last spring, Michelin is all but convinced that her future lies in longer races after placing 117th overall Saturday. She was clocked in 18 minutes, 30 seconds over the 3 mile course, a respectable finish following another injury-plagued cross country season.
Michelin hopes to concentrate on the mile this spring after only competing at that distance a couple of times for the Wildkits.
“It’s up to Coach (Fenton) Gunter, of course, as far as what’s best for the team,” Michelin said. “I’ll try to strongly persuade him that I should run the mile, because I really think that will be my best race. Running cross country has given me the confidence to run longer and run harder, and I’m trying to break the cycle of getting hurt every cross country season, too. So I’ll do more weight training and put in more mileage next summer trying to break that cycle.
“Today was a little disappointing for me, but after talking to my Grandad and Dad — and I’m not making excuses — I realized that not having run for a month really affected me today.”
Michelin’s state effort came just two weeks after she was forced to drop out of the Central Suburban League championship meet due to tendinitis/shin splints. She spent too much time on the sidelines to run at the front of the pack with the two Glenbard West runners who placed 1-2 Saturday, Katelynne Hart (winning time 16:31) and Lindsey Payne.
“I felt pretty good. I just was unable to move my legs after midway through the race because I was so drained,” Michelin said. “That first mile was probably the fastest (5:45 split) that I’ve ever run in cross country. It was insane, really crowded and a really aggressive race right from the start. I’m really happy now that I’ve got this experience under my belt.
“It was a little disappointing to see girls I’ve been beating this year way up in front of me today. I’m just glad I got past the nervousness so I can do a better job of competing down there next year.”
Dennis Mahoney is sports information director for ETHS.