NORMAL — Running for redemption can be exhausting.
Shannan Supan proved as much as she collapsed in a gasping heap after winning Tuesday's 31st annual Intercity Girls Cross County Meet at Maxwell Park.
The memory of a less-than-hoped-for 2014 season seemed to drive the University High School senior as she ignored 83-degree heat on the 3-mile course to win by nine seconds in 19 minutes, 36 seconds.
"I feel a sense of redemption," said the two-time all-stater after regaining the title she won in 2013 and helping her No. 12-state ranked team win for the sixth consecutive year with 17 points, the lowest score in meet history.
Normal Community was second (45) followed by Bloomington (93), Normal West (96) and Central Catholic (122).
In the 47th annual boys race, No. 15 U High scored 29 points to also win a sixth straight title as individual champion Jack Franklin led six Pioneers into the top 10 by clocking 15:36.
Normal West was second (62) followed by NCHS (79), BHS (84) and Central Catholic (115).
A two-time all-stater, Supan capped a 2014 season marked by a plethora of Pioneer injuries and illness by being too sick to run in the state meet.
"This year our girls are a lot healthier," she said. "Last year with all the injuries and everyone feeling like we had so many setbacks, I think it kind of broke us down mentally a little bit."
The breakdown on U High's score showed Ally Shepherd second (19:45), Advika Kamatar third (19:47), Riley Madix fifth (19:57) and Emmy Mussey sixth (20:11).
"I couldn't be happier with the way everyone performed," Supan said. "It's kind of how we wanted it to go."
Only Rachel Zimmerman of NCHS in fourth (19:52) kept U High from a perfect score. She and the chase pack were 50 yards behind when Supan passed the mile mark in 6:06.
The heat slowed Supan to 6:47 the second mile.
"At that point I was like 'I've got to give it all I can,'" said Supan, who covered the third mile in 6:42. "I kind of got it out from within me and kept it going."
Her effort stirred memories for Coach John Neisler.
"She's looking more like the Shannan that we used to see," he said. "She's got a little bit of that tenacity and fire that I didn't see in her last year. I'm really glad that she got the win."
Franklin, U High's fifth consecutive Intercity champion, was glad to string together miles of 5:11, 5:13 and 5:12. His 31-second margin of victory over West's Matt DeGroot was the meet's largest since 2007.
"I thought the first mile was pretty conservative," said Franklin, who only led by three steps at that point. "I didn't have to surge much. I could just kept the same solid pace."
Franklin was coming off a career best of 15:15 in his season debut Saturday at Peoria's Detweiller Park where he covered the opening mile in 4:45.
"I died a little bit the last mile at Detweiller, but I was still happy with what I ran," he said.
Coach Lester Hampton is happy with U High's present and future as his senior-less top seven all made the top 12. The other scorers were freshman Zach Wolford (4th, 16:15) and sophomores Tanner Gillam (7th, 16:22), Harris Porter (8th, 16:27) and Jared Schuckman (9th, 16:30).
At this point, Hampton usually knows what season-ending goal might be possible, but his team's youth makes predicting impossible.
"That's a good feeling because we could really surprise some people," he said.
Others cracking the top six were Carson McCormick of NCHS (3rd, 16:09), Austin Bicknell of BHS (5th, 16:16) and Tyler Dunn of West (16:18). A knee injury relegated West standout Alex Hillegass to 23rd (17:51).