When she’s not running on the track, Loyola senior Arinna Awdisho is doing her best to root on her teammates. A competitive cheerleader, her enthusiasm is both contagious and invaluable, according to head ChrisJon Simon. 

“She’s outstanding,” he said. “She’s not one to hide somewhere in the background. She brings a lot of spirit and personality to the team and joy to running. You have to have fun to be successful.” 

For the second consecutive season, Awdisho will run on the 4×200-meter relay team at the Class 3A state meet, which is Friday and Saturday at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston. She qualified with senior Addison Bendery, senior Anne Santangelo and sophomore Nora Lyons at Loyola’s sectional. 

As a junior, Awdisho narrowly missed out on making the finals in the event as the Ramblers finished with the 11th-best time. The top nine advance out of preliminaries. Bendery also ran on that relay team. 

“Arinna was kind of in the shadows her first couple of years, waiting her turn,” Simon said. “She continued to get better and has been a key person on our team the last two years.”

Bendery is back at the state meet for the second season in a row. In addition to running on the 4×200 and 4×400 relay teams, she will compete in the 100. 

Sophomore Lizzie Quackenbush and Santangelo both are on the 4×400 relay team. Quackenbush also qualified with the 4×800 relay team, teaming up with junior Avery Kaye, junior Jenna Rekoske and sophomore Sarah Jay. This is Jay’s second season running with the 4×800 team at the state meet. 

“Our goal, especially for our seniors, is for everybody to run their best times of the season,” Simon said. “We hope that translates into us qualifying for the finals.”