CHARLESTON – With her husband, Paul, leading the Glenbard West girls cross country team to a third-place finish last fall, Kelly Hass jokingly told her track squad that they couldn't let him have the upper hand.
The Hilltoppers apparently took her words to heart.
Scoring 31 points at the Class 3A meet Saturday at Eastern Illinois University, Glenbard West captured the program's first-ever state trophy with a third-place showing.
The Hilltoppers edged out West Aurora and Homewood-Flossmoor by a single point.
"It really was a team effort," Hass said.
Madeline Perez led the way with her first-place showings in both the 3,200-meter run and the 1,600 but the junior was far from the only contributor.
Senior Emma Reifel came through with a third-place finish in the 800 with a time of 2:12.10. Emma Gambol placed eighth in the triple jump and the 4x400-meter relay team of Reifel, Mary Nevins, JaSharra Clark and Gambol also finished eighth.
Lisa Luczak added a 10th-place finish in the 3,200 and a 12th-place showing in the 1,600.
"Emma Gambol is a sophomore and what she did was very special," Kelly Hass said. "And the 4x400 was not something we thought we'd have at the beginning of the year. JaSharra was the missing cog. They dropped time so quick and it was a great thing to see.
"When you have people like Madeline and Emma (Reifel), they do it right. They are such role models for everyone else."
Reifel, who will continue her career at Wisconsin, is one of 12 seniors that will be leaving the program. One of the top runners to ever come through Glenbard West, she departs with a combined six state medals from cross country and track.
"It is going to be very difficult to say goodbye to her," Hass said. "The best thing about Emma is she never asked to do anything individually. She would do anything for the team.
"Wisconsin knows what they are getting but I'm not sure they really know what they are getting. Her range (of events) is very special."