Tom Batters
Jessie Wynn stands on the podium during the medal ceremony at the state cross country finals. Wynn finished second in the state.

The fierce wind gusted, and stung the skin Saturday at Detweiller Park, making it tough for some runners to keep pace along the three-mile course.

Jessie Wynn felt the wind, but she charged toward the finish line anyway.

“We have been practicing in cold, windy conditions, so I was used to it,” said Wynn, a freshman at Peoria Notre Dame High School who finished second in the Class 2A state championship race Saturday.

Wynn stayed with the pack and finished just two seconds behind state champion, Margo Richardson of Mt. Vernon.

She said she had two main goals for the race: get out to a good start and come up with a strong kick at the end.

“I got out early, so I didn’t get caught in a crowd, and I had enough left at the end to make a final kick,” she said. “I tried my best. I’m happy with the way I finished.”

Wynn is in her first year of cross country running, which makes her second-place finish even more special.

“I’ve always enjoyed running, and I’ve always been a competitive person," she said. “That helped me have some success, even though it was only my first year.”

Wynn won the Sectional title at Illinois Central College Nov. 1, but, since she is a freshman, she was an underdog to finish in the top five at the state meet, which featured plenty of junior and senior runners with state meet experience.

“I’m very happy with second place,” she said.

She said she has received a lot of congratulations from friends and family.

“My friends TP’d my house,” she said, laughing. “But, that’s OK. I didn’t mind.”

The Peoria Notre Dame girls finished fifth in the team standings.

In the boys race, Peoria Notre Dame junior C.J. Elward finished 23rd to earn All-State honors. The Notre Dame boys team finished ninth.

Peoria Notre Dame sophomore Maggie Clark (26th) and Dunlap freshman Leah Brooks (27th) just missed All-State honors, which go to the top 25 runners.

Richwoods senior Josh Battles finished 147th in the boys race.