She was a soccer mom and watching Evan Jager compete in what seems to be the sport of choice among grade-school parents.
"Another parent turned to me," she said recently, "and said, 'Don't worry, Evan's going to get there first.'"
Jager, a 6-foot-2-inch senior at Jacobs, won the race to the ball and now seems to be getting places fastand often first.
In last spring's Class AA state track meet at Charleston, Jager won the 1,600 meters in 4:11.22 and anchored the Golden Eagles to a stunning victory over York, Glenbard South and East St. Louis in the 3,200-meter relay.
Such performances have made Jager the runner to beat in the state cross-country finals Nov. 4 at Detweiller Park in Peoria.
"Compared to last year I might be faster, and I'm coming off a healthy season," said Jager, whose third-place in last season's Class AA cross-country final was overshadowed by Steve Finley's spectacular dive over the finish line to take first place away from Prospect's Ryan Craven.
Palatine's Finley finished in 14:20, Craven in 14:21.
They were both seniors, leaving Jagerwho was only three seconds behind the winnerthe leading returnee. Hersey's Kevin Havel, who also returns this season, was fourth.
While Jager's performances at the state track meet were impressive, the better story was his decision not to run the 3,200 meters.
He was the state's top qualifier but knew he would have a difficult time running that event, the 1,600 and the relay.
So he dropped the metric 2-mile to give teammates David Arndt, Mike Connolly and Aaron Russo a chance to take the relay.
Jacobs never had won a running event at a state track meet before last spring.
Jager was even more impressive after his junior year.
He went on to win the mile at the Midwest Distance Gala at York with a career-best time of 4:08.15.
And his time of 8:50.42 was good for third in the 2-mile run at the Nike Outdoor Nationals in Greensboro, N.C.
After taking two weeks off, he went back to training for the cross-country season by putting in about 50 miles a week.
Jager said he is been inspired by his father, Joel, who contracted polio as a youngster and suffers from muscle atrophy.
"He really didn't push me into being a runner, but he gave me the idea that it's something I could do," Jager said.
Joe Newton, whose success as a high school cross-country coachhis teams have won 25 state titlesis unparalleled, recognizes what Jager can do.
"Look at this guy," Newton said. "He's going to be one of the best ever."
And he's even turned his mother into a cross-country mom.