Girls Track: Baez commits to St. Francis University

Lady Hub senior to run track and cross country for Fighting Saints


St. Francis University had everything Rochelle senior Britney Baez was looking for in academics and athletics. After four seasons with both the Lady Hub cross country and track programs, Baez will be continuing her running career with the Fighting Saints, where she’ll begin her nursing education and reunite with former RTHS teammate Katherine Bakken.

“I’m wanting to major in nursing and I believe St. Francis has one of the best nursing programs,” Baez said. “I’m also proud to continue my athletics with St. Francis because it has a nationally-ranked cross country team and a great track team as well. I’m hoping to become a registered nurse and then go back to school for my nurse practitioner license.”

Baez competed in the 1600-meter run and the 3200-meter run throughout her high school track career, posting personal-best times of 6:13.11 and 12:34.82. Baez shined at the 2019 Ogle County Championships, winning both the 1600 and 3200-meter runs for the Lady Hubs.

“I’m looking forward to new competition, and I feel this new competition will help make me the best runner I can be,” Baez said. “My coaches have prepared me to run collegiately. I’m really thankful for coach [John] Dobbs, coach [Mark] Zilis and coach [Bruce] Anderson for making my running experience at RTHS memorable. They all had confidence in me throughout my four years, and their belief in me helped me see that I’m capable of overcoming anything.”

Baez was the top cross country runner for the Lady Hubs this past fall, medaling at the Interstate 8 Conference Championships with an eighth-place finish and a personal-record time of 20:13.6. Baez helped lead Rochelle to the IHSA Sectionals three times throughout her four-year career, finishing with the team’s fastest time in the 2019 IHSA Sterling Regional.

“Britney’s a hard-working, dedicated and coachable runner,” Rochelle head cross country coach Mark Zilis said. “She always gave her best effort in races and our practices. Britney set a great example for our younger student-athletes to follow.”

“Britney has grown immensely since her freshman year,” Rochelle head girls track and field coach Alison Vrana said. “She never gives up in a race and I was looking forward to watching her lead our distance runners this season. I know she will be fantastic asset to the St. Francis team and I’m looking forward to watching her continue to improve.”