Flanagan races to state title, eyes NXN

After achieving her goal of winning a state title, Lake Park senior Lindsay Flanagan eyes a berth in the Nike Cross Nationals


Coming into this season, Roselle (Lake Park) senior Lindsay Flanagan had one just one goal in mind – to bring home a state title.

Lindsay overcame the wind and snow to do just that at this past Saturday’s IHSA State Cross Country Championships, held at a muddy Detweiller Park in Peoria, Illinois.

“I’ve worked hard all season, and the whole goal was this meet,” Flanagan said. “So to come here and do it just feels amazing.”
Flanagan did more than just win her Class 3A race, however. She ran away with it.

Coming in with a time of 16:54, the fastest girls’ time of the day, Flanagan finished 13 seconds ahead of Geneva’s second-place finisher Kelly Whitley to take home her first state championship.
She only remained with the pack until about the 1/2 mile mark before breaking away and never looking back. One of the remarkable things about Flanagan’s race was that, even in the terrible conditions, she knocked on the door of a Detweiller Park course record, essentially without any other runners to pace her. For about the final two miles of the race, she ran alone, at least 10 to 15 seconds ahead of the pack.
As a junior last year, Flanagan took home a respectable tenth-place finish in the 2007 state meet, but with offseason improvement and early 2008 success, she began to get the feeling that this year could be even better.

“At the beginning of the season, I wasn’t really sure how things were going to go,” Flanagan said. “But as the season got going, I kept progressing, and my times kept getting lower than last year’s, and I remember starting to think that maybe the whole state thing was possible. I just kept pushing harder and harder and having better races and now here we are, and it’s so exciting.”

Coming out of an excellent regular season, Flanagan kicked-off the postseason with a victory in her regional of more than one-minute at her home course at Lake Park’s East Campus. Lindsay finished the race in 17:12, and had 1:16 cushion between her and second-place finisher Meghan Frigo of Elmhurst (York).

From there, Flanagan advanced to the Skokie Sectional at Niles West High School, where she continued to win, and win big. Her time of 16:47 was over 40 seconds better than the second-place finisher, Alex Brumfield of Chicago (St. Ignatius).

“That was a really good race for me,” Flanagan said. “That was my lowest time of the season, so that was really fun.”

Flanagan’s next race will be as an individual in the Nike Team Midwest Regional in Terre Haute, Indiana, November 15. Flanagan enters with the hopes of advancing to the national competition in Portland, Oregon.

“Hopefully I can place in the top-five this weekend in Indiana so I can move on,” Flanagan said. “It would be incredible to run in the nationals.”

Although she is unsure where she will spend her college career, Flanagan is in the process of making her campus visits and believes that she has narrowed her selection down to five schools.

“Right now I’m looking at Duke, Stanford, Arizona State, University of Minnesota and University of Washington,” Flanagan said. “I’m kind of looking all over, but I know they would all be great choices.”

After allowing her state championship victory to sink in a little, Flanagan had just a few words of advice to pass along to the young Lake Park team that she will be leaving behind.

“Just enjoy every minute of it,” Flanagan said. “This is one of the greatest races you will run in high school, but it goes by so fast.”