Sectional ChampionsSunday, October 28 2018
Saturday marked a historic day for the Mustang Cross Country program. The team travelled to Midlothian Meadows Forest Preserve ready to race with an opportunity to advance to the next week, the State Championship, on the line. We knew we would face tough competition from a number of teams and that our Sectional contained 6 really good programs with only 5 available spots up for grabs. Confidence was high, but the Mustangs took nothing for granted. Just two days prior we got to watch as many fellow teammates contested a time trial on the track. As well as those guys ran, we seemed ready for a solid day.
The bus was quiet on the ride there as athletes made some of their final mental preparations. Before the race, the guys each showed their readiness for what was to come in their own way, whether it was overt excitement, quiet introspection, or smiling and joking. Once the gun went off, the nerves were gone and it was just going to come down to executing a simple task - running 3 miles as fast as we could.
The pack got out well but comfortably. We were in excellent position even sooner than we felt we needed to be as we had 5 guys within a few seconds of each other at the half mile. Still in great position at the mile, it appeared we’d not just be looking to qualify, but were in a position to win the race. Eddie Siuda got himself in a good spot running with the lead pack, while John Heneghan, John Norris, and James Weigel were battling in the next group. Canyon Stage was looking great as our 5, running along with most other teams 2-4 runners. And we had George Willer and Nick Dziedzic who got stuck further back early on making moves to get in good position.
When it was all said and done, we came away with a relatively comfortable win. Just watching without
even tallying anything, I believed immediately after the race that we had pulled it off. More importantly was the fact that we advanced to the next week where we have the chance to achieve some of the lofty goals we set out earlier in the season.
We impressively had 4 in the top 20 and all 7 in the top 34 of the 140 runner field.
Edwin Siuda and John Heneghan led the way as All-Sectional finishers in 14:51 and 15:00. Norris and Weigel were 14th and 17th in 15:06 and 15:10. Canyon Stage had a big PR to place 25th in 15:26, followed by the charging George Willer who was 26th in 15:29. Nick Dziedzic was 34th in 15:38.
The Mustangs will carry this momentum into the State Meet where they will hope to at the very least improve upon last year’s 10th place (best in school history) performance.
it was a great day to be a Mustang!