Ilse decided to commit herself to running going into her sophomore year in 2012-13, and the commitment paid off with a Class AAAA individual girls’ cross country championship as well as track state titles in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs in that classification.
The junior showed she is making big strides toward another state crown after running a personal-best time of 18 minutes, one second — the second-fastest in the state among girls’ runners this year — at the Darlington Cross Country Festival in Rome Sept. 28.
She finished a close second to Providence Christian’s Taylor Tuttle (18:00) after coming from behind to erase a 20-meter deficit in the last half-mile of the race.
Ilse won her first three races of the season, including a time of 18:14 at the Warpath Invitational in Canton Sept. 14 and 18:44 at the Bob Blastow Early Bird in Douglasville Aug. 24.
“She definitely has had a lot of success in the past year,” Marist coach Eric Heintz said. “She’s worked hard. She ran more last summer than she ever has and the hard work is paying off.”