BY SAM SCINTA WEEKLY REPORTER
As the O’Fallon Township High School Girls Cross Country continues its postseason run into Peoria’s Detweiller Park, junior Brooke Witzel has announced herself as one of the premiere running talents in the state of Illinois.
The star has brightened at just the right time for the Panthers, as Witzel’s leadership has guided OTHS to a date with the IHSA State Finals this coming Saturday.
Witzel has turned in big performances during her two plus season running for the Blue and Gold, but perhaps none have been as important as the two she turned in during the Regional and Sectional competition.
The junior won the IHSA Regional in Quincy on October 15th, guiding her team past a difficult Regional field and on to an even tougher squad of competition at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville for the Sectional.
She ran a season best 18:32 in Quincy, beating Melissa Spencer of Edwardsville by over 12 seconds for the individual Regional crown.
Witzel ran a 19:34 in the course at SIUE, good for 12th place in a field dominated by first place Minooka and second place Yorkville. Both teams made up nine of the top ten runners on the afternoon.
Brooke gave the Panthers just enough, however, as O’Fallon again found themselves advancing into the IHSA State Finals, where great performances can make anything happen.
The rising star has been a contributing force to her team since she arrived in 2014 and figures to again be a driving force behind Panther success in what will be her senior season in 2017.
Head Coach Neil James has to love what Brooke Witzel means to his program, both in the present and the future.
Right now, she’s just focused on Peoria, and on making one last run count when her team needs her the most. Just like usual.