All-State runner signs with women’s cross country

Mark Shanahan, Staff Reporter

The women’s cross-country and track teams announced the signing of All-State runner Brianna Bower to the program for next season.

Bower advanced to the IHSA State Cross Country Championships all four seasons for Kaneland High School located in Maple Park, Illinois. This past season, she was the Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference Individual Champion and went on to place ninth at the IHSA Class 2A State Meet.

Cross Country coach Erin Howarth sees Bower making an immediate impact for the women’s teams.

“Although I never put pressure on freshman to make an immediate impact as a freshman, I foresee that she will,” she said. “The main thing I want out of the freshmen are to ensure they are adjusting well to college life, getting a handle on college training and the increased intensity and level of commitment, and most importantly, focusing on their schoolwork to ensure they are setting themselves up for a positive academic career at EIU.”

In track, Bower made it to the IHSA Class 2A State Championships last spring and competed in the 3200 and 1600-meter runs. She placed fourth in the 3200-meter run with a time of 11 minutes and 15 seconds. She placed 12th in the 1600-meter run.

Howarth noted that Bower does well when on the big stage.

“She is the type of runner who knows what it takes to race on the big stage and has the composure to be successful when she toes the line at those bigger meets,” she said. “Both her 1600 meter and 3 mile cross country personal record times came at the state meet, and her 3200 meter personal record at last year’s state track meet was one second off her lifetime best. So those kinds of numbers show that she is a ‘gamer,’ she is levelheaded before and during competition, and she is gutsy. I am more than thrilled to have the opportunity to coach her at the next level here at EIU.”

Bower will be on partial scholarship when she starts to attend Eastern. She first connected with Howarth when she realized this school was appealing to her and her family. Howarth describes her as an easy going young lady who fell in love with the campus, the team and the academic programs during her official visit in early November.

Howarth watched Bower at the state track meet, which was hosted by Eastern last year, and can see Bower as a 3k or 5k racer for the cross country team at the start of her collegiate career. Howarth hopes that she can develop into a 5k or 10k runner later in her career.

The women’s cross-country team is still hoping to add five to eight new runners to the roster for next season.


Mark Shanahan can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]