Photo by Theo Tate
Granite City senior Kori Nesbit approaches the finish line in the girls’ race of the Granite City Invitational on Sept. 5.
After four years and 43 races, Kori Nesbit’s career with the Granite City girls’ cross country team is about to come to an end.
The Granite City senior hopes her career ends with a trip to Peoria.
Nesbit raced at Peoria five times — including twice this year — during her high school cross country career. But she has never competed at the state meet.
“She always had the dream of racing again at Detweiller (Park) at the state meet,” Granite City coach Richie Skirball said.
But first, Nesbit has to get out of regionals. She and the Warriors will compete in the Class 3A Edwardsville Regional championship meet at SIUE at 10 a.m. Saturday.
The sectional meet is scheduled for Oct. 31 at Maxwell Park in Normal. The state meet will be Nov. 7 at Detweiller Park in Peoria.
Nesbit helped the Granite City girls’ squad qualify for sectionals in each of the last three years. A year ago, she helped the Warriors place sixth in the Class 3A Belleville West Regional to earn a trip to the sectional meet in Quincy.
This fall, Nesbit is the only senior on the Granite City girls’ cross country team.
“I have a lot of mixed emotions about it,” Nesbit said. “I’ve been really close to my team and it’s going to be sad leaving, but I was glad to get out on the course one last time.”
Nesbit started running when she was in fifth grade. She joined the Granite City cross country team when she was a freshman. After playing with the Warriors’ soccer squad in her freshman year, Nesbit switched to track the next year.
“My dad (Sam) has been a runner since he was in high school, so I just kind of followed in his footsteps,” Nesbit said.
Sam Nesbit, who ran cross country and track for the Warriors, said Girls On The Run, a nonprofit organization that teaches girls the basics of running, got his daughter interested in running.
“Girls On The Run taught her more about running to begin with,” said Sam, who graduated in 1975. “It got her to where she understood and realized she enjoyed it much more than me coaching her. I give credit to the ladies who do the Girls On The Run thing. They taught my daughter how to run. When little girls are in fifth grade, the dads don’t know anything. It’s a phenomenal program because it deals with girls and self-esteem and all of that kind of stuff, but it does introduce them to running. I give a lot of credit to them for her just getting into it.”
Nesbit is planning to continue her running career in the collegiate level.
“She’s looking at Greenville and Illinois-Springfield real strong,” Sam Nesbit said. “Quincy called this week. A lot of her stuff would be from schools that put a huge emphasis on academics because her grades are top of the line. She did well on the ACT and she got a high class ranking with a 5.3 GPA. She has done so well for herself.”
Nesbit said she will be happy if she gets an offer to run in college next year.
“It would mean a lot,” the Granite City senior said. “It would be super cool to go out and be able to go beyond where most athletes go and be able to run in the collegiate level.”
So far this fall, Nesbit is turning in a solid senior season. She has competed in nine races and her best performance came on Sept. 12, when she ran a personal-best time of 20 minutes at the First To the Finish Invitational at Peoria’s Detweiller Park. She also placed third in the Collinsville Invitational, seventh in the Alton Invitational and 15th at the Madison County championship meet and 26th at the Southwestern Conference meet.
Nesbit prepared for the cross country season by training all summer.
“I ran 515 miles this summer from June 1 to Aug. 31,” Nesbit said. “I did two-a-days a lot of the time.”
Skirball said Nesbit has a strong work ethic.
“She’s never going to leave anything to chance,” the Granite City coach said. “I never have to worry about her being down for a race. She’s going to be ready to execute these races and she’s going to give everything she has.”