Boys, Girls Cross Country Season Comes to Early Close

Landon Vuagniaux, Sports Editor

With the cancellation of their state competition, the girls and boys varsity cross country teams had their final meet of the year.

Sectionals were held on Saturday, Oct. 31, at Maxwell Park in Normal, Illinois, according to senior Kaitlyn Loyet. 15 teams competed, and there were other individual runners who qualified and competed without their teams. 

“Each varsity race was split up into four heats, so it was mentally harder not having all of my teammates in the same race as me,” Loyet said. “But we knew that [our scores] were going to be combined, so our times were more important than [what we placed].”

Despite the difficulty of the race, the girls did very well, according to Loyet. The team took fifth place overall with sophomore Riley Knoyle placing fifth individually. Loyet said that their placing was even more exciting because they were very close to beating top-tier teams.

“…We were very pleased because we were only two points off of third and fourth,” Loyet said. “The third place team is also ranked around twelfth in the state, so it was great seeing how close we could get to them.”

By placing fifth, the girls would have been able to compete at state Loyet said, so the early conclusion of her season disappointed her.

Senior Drew Law shared similar feelings when talking about the boys’ performance but also acknowledged the girls’ accomplishment.

“The girls team was super pumped and rightfully so because they all ran well,” Law said. “The boys team was a little more down because a few individuals didn’t race as they had wanted to, and the goal was to challenge Yorkville for first, which sadly did not happen.”

But the boys didn’t walk away empty-handed. Juniors Ryan Watts and Geo Patrylak placed first and ninth, respectively, according to Law; the team secured a third place finish.

Senior Drew Stover provided insight on the boys’ performance.

“We had a game plan, and it went pretty bad,” Stover said. “[But] we did so well because–as a team–we had each other’s backs…On [the girls and boys] teams, we had some bad races, and at the same time, we had some individuals step up and fill in. [Jacob Grandone and Wyatt Erber] absolutely killed it out there.”

The boys’ efforts would have earned them a spot at state, according to Stover. Although there isn’t a state meet this year, the boys cross country team is having another race in its stead.

“Funny enough, our season isn’t actually over,” Stover said. “Officially, yeah it’s over. Unofficially, we have one more race called the Shazam meet. It’s essentially state.”

The meet is in Chillicothe, Illinois, at Three Sisters Park, according to Stover. To qualify for the Shazam race, runners needed to finish in the top 20 runners at their sectionals, and a team also had to place in the top 20 in the state to qualify. Stover said these requirements are very similar to those of normal state competitions. Stover will be competing in the race next weekend; however, he won’t be joined by all of his teammates. 

Law’s season ended Saturday, as he was an alternate at sectionals and did not qualify for the Shazam meet. As sectionals came to a close, he reflected on the season as a whole.

“I could not be happier with this season, but after the race, I was emotional just knowing that my high school cross country career is officially over,” Law said. “It really sucks that we didn’t get to do all the things we usually do, but despite all the craziness, I can say without a doubt that this has been my favorite year running at the high school.”