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Mia McLain eyes state cross country title

By Geary Deniston
Contributing Writer
updated: 8/27/2019 1:35 PM

Amelia "Mia" McLain has been Southern Illinois' best cross country runner since she laced up her running shoes for the Benton Rangerettes four years ago, finishing her freshman year 10th at the state tournament.
"My community and my family expect a state championship and that has always been a goal of mine, so since this is my last time, I want to work even harder to achieve it," Mia said.
Mia's run for the gold started Aug. 27 when the Rangerettes participated at the West Frankfort Quad Meet held at the City Park.
Mia finished ninth as a sophomore and then jumped to third last year, and this year, it's the state title in her sights.
"Every summer, we add a little more mileage and that helped last year," Mia said. "This summer, we bumped up the mileage again, but we also added a faster pace and going harder on the weights and legs. I'm ready."
Also back is sophomore Hailey Wallace, who made her debut last year finishing 47th at the state meet.
"Mia's had the best summer she's ever had which opened the door to have a great season," said Rangerettes coach Brent McLain. "Hailey was third at the sectional, second at regional and second at conference behind Mia. She's got the talent and the wheels to do it."
Also back is Mia's twin sister, Madi, who is splitting time with volleyball, as well as junior Addisyn Miller and sophomore Peyton Tieffel.
"Addisyn was our consistent No. 3 last year, but she got hurt and didn't get to run sectionals," McLain said. "Peyton has grown and is going to be a good and tough No. 4 again. She split with volleyball last year, but this year she is just going to run. We have 13 races and Madi is going to run 10 and that is huge. Any time a girl can break 20 minutes on a 3-mile course it is phenomenal."
Making the Rangerettes a true 'sister act' is Miller's little sister, Braylyn, who is a freshman this fall.
"Braylyn was the No. 2 on her junior high cross country team last year and qualified for state," McLain said.