PEORIA - Crystal Musgrave didn’t get to the finish line of the Class 1A state meet. Her cross country season ended in the medical pavilion.
Musgrave sat with an ice pack on her left knee. She was injured in her sophomore attempt to break into the Annawan-Wethersfield co-op’s Top 10 leaderboard.
Musgrave left the race about 300 meters beyond the mile marker, just within that portion of the Detweiller Park course runners call The Triangle.
“She got tripped up, fell on her knee,” said A-W coach Creston Fenn, who relayed his conversation with Musgrave after she received medical attention.
The fall exacerbated a possible injury suffered earlier in the week.
“Some incident at school,” Fenn said. “She got knocked down.”
In a brief conversation at the medical pavilion, Musgrave confirmed the incident at school.
But if the earlier fall had any real effect, it was difficult to tell based on her start. During warmups she showed no indication of discomfort and she ran the first third of the course at near to a personal best.
Because of her sectional qualifying time, Musgrave started the race at the extreme western edge of the line — one of the last spots for individual entries. But she bolted forward at the start, pushing hard to get into the lead group of runners.
The mile marker is at the end of a long straight path parallel to Illinois Route 29. Runners follow a picturesque path, racing beneath a row of trees, whose leaves are fully turned to hues of yellows and oranges. Musgrave was moving at a brisk pace.
“She went through the mile really, really well,” said Fenn, who reported her mile time was under 6:10, on pace to finish the race in under 19 minutes.
“She was perfect. Ideal. Ready to be in the top 10 … top five on our all-time list,” Fenn said.
Fenn had been at the mile marker and did not see the fall on the course, as the runners are masked by a stand of trees as they turn into the Triangle.
At the medical pavilion, Fenn spent a long time in a quiet discussion with Musgrave.
“It’s disappointing,” Fenn said. “She’s a lot more disappointed than anybody. But we talked about this moment … She’s been a great runner. We have big goals the next couple of years. Big ambitions. We talked about thinking about this moment, letting it be fuel for the fire.”
Musgrave was able to walk with the ice pack. After gathering her things, Musgrave left with her parents.