Girls Cross Country | State meet preview

Portage cross country runner Megan Cassidy makes a quick climb up the ranks

2011-10-26T20:30:00Z 2012-08-30T23:45:14Z Portage cross country runner Megan Cassidy makes a quick climb up the ranksBy Jim Peters jim.peters@nwi.com, (219) 548-4363 nwitimes.com
October 26, 2011 8:30 pm  • 

It took a while for Megan Cassidy to find a place for running in her busy schedule.

An early English history buff, the Portage senior plans to study abroad in college. She's involved in National Honor Society, student council, orchestra and academic decathlon, and also volunteers at the nursing home where her mom works.

"I do so much, running is like my out to everything I do," Cassidy said. "When I need a break in life, I go on a run to kind of relax. Once I found the time, I knew I could only get better."

That she has. In only two years of cross country, Cassidy has blossomed into one of the Indians' top runners, leading them to another state berth with her 16th-place finish at the New Prairie Semistate.

"She's a big reason we're back at state," coach Jay White said. "If she hadn't run like she did, we're maybe sitting at home."

It sure wouldn't have figured a few years ago. Cassidy's first try at high school sports came as a sophomore, when she joined the track team and was slotted into the sprints.

"That didn't work out too well," she said with a laugh.

As a freshman, Cassidy came out for cross country but didn't stick with it. Coaxing by some friends prompted her to give it another try last year.

"Running was hard, but the people on the team made me want to stick with it," she said. "I love them all. I decided, 'hey, I'm kinda good at this.' I really liked it, so I kept doing it."

Cassidy debuted on varsity at the Culver Academy Invitational in 2010 and held her lineup spot  throughout the postseason.

"She has some natural ability," White said. "We saw her freshman year and thought the potential was there. It was just a matter of getting her there. It just started all coming together. She just kept dropping time, being more consistent."

The ball now rolling, Cassidy kept the momentum going through track, qualifying for the regional in the 3,200. Her sprinting days were long gone.

"She started believing, getting more confidence in what she can do," White said.

After doing little preseason training as a junior, Cassidy started coming to summer workouts with classmate Bri Cipich. The stronger base only fueled her ascent. Cassidy has been in Portage's lead trio all season, finishing top 10 in conference, sectional and regional.

"The strength of her race is the second half," White said. "We noticed it a lot during track. The last 800, she was always reeling people in. Every race, maybe she doesn't go out with the frontrunners, but we're never too worried because she gets going pretty good that last mile."

At semistate, Cassidy knocked 42 seconds off last year's time. She'll look to do the same Saturday at state, where she finished 146th last season.

"I think it'll be easier because I know the course this year," said Cassidy, who's hoping for at least a top 60 showing. "I'll know where I'm going. It's my last high school race. I'm going to give it my all. There's no harm in passing out at the finish line as long as I finish my race."

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Follow The Times

Fan Poll

Loading…

Which school has the area's best football team?

View Results

Follow your school

Duneland Conference

Chesterton Trojans
News
Crown Point Bulldogs
News
Lake Central Indians
News
LaPorte Slicers
News
Merrillville Pirates
News
Michigan City Wolves
News
Portage Indians
News
Valparaiso Vikings
News

Greater South Shore Conference

Bishop Noll Warriors
News
Calumet Warriors
News
Lake Station Eagles
News
Michigan City Marquette Blazers
News
North Newton Spartans
News
River Forest Ingots
News
Wheeler Bearcats
News
Whiting Oilers
News

Great Lakes Athletic Conference

Clark Pioneers
News
Gavit Gladiators
News
Hammond Wildcats
News
Morton Governors
News

Hoosier Conference

Rensselaer Bombers
News

Northwest Crossroads Conference

Andrean 59ers
News
Griffith Panthers
News
Highland Trojans
News
Hobart Brickies
News
Kankakee Valley Kougars
News
Lowell Red Devils
News
Munster Mustangs
News

Northwestern Conference

Lew Wallace Hornets
News
Roosevelt Panthers
News
West Side Cougars
News

Porter County Conference

Boone Grove Wolves
News
Hanover Central Wildcats
News
Hebron Hawks
News
Kouts Mustangs/Fillies
News
LaCrosse Tigers
News
Morgan Twp. Cherokees
News
South Central Satellites
News
Washington Twp. Senators
News
Westville Blackhawks
News

Independents

Bowman Academy Eagles
News
Calumet Christian
News
Campagna Academy
News
Covenant Christian Knights
News
E.C. Central Cardinals
News
Hammond Baptist Swordsman
News
Luther East Eagles
News

Chicago Catholic League

Mt. Carmel Caravan
News
Seton Academy Sting
News
St. Francis deSales Pioneers
News

Chicago Public League

Washington Minutemen/Minutewomen
News

East Suburban Catholic

Marian Catholic Spartans
News

Metro Suburban

Illiana Christian Vikings
News

River Valley Conference

Beecher Bobcats/Ladycats
News
Illinios Lutheran Chargers
News

South Suburban Blue

T.F. North Meteors
News
T.F. South Rebels
News

Southland Athletic Conference

Bloom Twp. Blazin' Trojans
News
Crete-Monee Warriors
News

SouthWest Suburban Blue

Homewood-Flossmoor Vikings
News

SouthWest Suburban Red

Thornridge Falcons
News
Thornton Wildcats
News
Thornwood Thunderbirds
News

Latest Local Offers

Featured Businesses