Kaneland senior girls cross country standout Victoria Clinton fought an early-season hip injury in 2013, a test to her resolve after winning the Class 2A individual state title in 2012. She recovered to enjoy a solid state series that culminated with the Knights’ fifth-place finish in the 2A team race. Back with much of the same core, Clinton is primed to keep Kaneland climbing after a busy summer that also included time with her Geneva-based triathlon team, Multisport Madness. Kane County Chronicle sports reporter Kevin Druley touched base with Clinton about her summer and the upcoming season. Here’s an edited transcript in the latest edition of the Weekend Chit-chat:
How have the first few days of cross country workouts been?
It’s been good. It’s been good to get back into it. We just went to Elburn Woods [Forest Preserve] the other day. That was a little tough. We did some hill repeats, but it’s been good to get back, get back to running some hardcore mileage.
Muscle memory can be a big thing in running. Is your body in tune to running at Elburn Woods?
Yeah, for sure. Just the course and everything. You remember certain parts where you speed up or the footing where you have to remember a pattern or to find those little ruts, but yeah, definitely. … In middle school we would run there, actually, race there. I raced the bottom course. So it is a familiar course to me, I’d say.
What were some summer training highlights?
I trained for triathlon with my triathlon team, so I would say it was an intense summer. We did a lot of races, and some races were back to back, but it was intense training. … I also went down to Monterrey, Mexico, for the Youth Olympic Trials. … It was so cool. It was so much fun. The race, all the athletes definitely were in tip-top shape as myself, and we just all went at it. The race was good, it was fun. At one point, we went through a canal that was man-made and went through the mountains and all that stuff. It was very neat to see that part of Mexico.
Has triathlon taken you outside the Lower 48 before?
I have traveled, I think, two times. One for Monterrey and then I went to Brazil two summers ago, so that was awesome. I just loved Brazil so much. And then we swam in an ocean there with these huge waves. It was crazy. It was a struggle. The waves would just kind of pull you in and then topple you, but it was fun.
Kaneland cross country had a strong season in 2013. What’s the outlook this year?
Our team is looking really good right now. We’ve got all girls, for the most part, healthy, but we’re trying to get everyone healthy so we can make it to state. Definitely to make it to state is the goal, because that’s so much more fun as a team than as an individual.
You mentioned injuries. How’s your hip?
I’ve really been on top of that, making sure that I’m healthy with everything. So yes, I am healthy, my hip is all good. It hasn’t bothered me, thank the Lord.
What are you leaning toward in college with triathlon now a sanctioned sport at some schools?
They made triathlon a sport in college and said they would offer scholarships for it. Right now, it’s kind of sad because not many schools have taken it and said, yeah, they want to offer it at this time. But I’m going to go the route of cross country and track because running is my first love. … I’m still kind of, like, looking around, I’m not 100 percent set on one school. Still scheduling visits and still trying to decide exactly where.