A Trip to State on The LineSunday, October 31 2021 - IHSA Sectional
We always talk about being at your best when it matters most, for the post season. The Wildcats have run some of their strongest races the last two weeks. Heading into Sectionals we knew we would need another strong run to become the first boys cross country team in PHS history to advance to the State Finals next week in Peoria.
In preparation for this race in Quincy we knew the teams we would be battling all had strong runners up front with a little bit of a gap before their pack. The plan was to continue to utilize our strategy of running as a tight pack, most races our 1-5 split was between 40-50 seconds. If we can keep that under 40 seconds we would feel good about our chances.
Leading into the race I was all nerves, the guys went for their warm up and then when they came back they were doing their rope stretching. As they were in the tent stretching, I stood at a distance, but still within earshot. At that point Paul De Avila turned to Mike Forbear and asked “Are you ready to make history?” The guys exchanged a fist bump and my nervous energy was now put at ease in a big way. The guys were ready and confident.
The gun went off and the guys roared off the line, you could see in the pack that they meant business. When I saw them again at the half mile point they were in a perfect position and all together. Paul was with Cam Mulyk, Aaron Wyckoff, and Mike Forbear with Alex Rojo only a few strides back. Tyler Schick and Harlan Matson were only a few meters back of the pack. We had 7 guys out aggressive but not too fast all within 5 seconds. The next half mile Paul took the led of the pack into the top 20 of the race Aaron followed in close pursuit. Mike was fighting hard as our 3 man. Then Cam and Alex were in lock-step. Tyler and Harlan were right behind as well. They basically stayed in this formation for the next mile slowing moving through the field. Finally finishing positions were 20, 21, 37, 46, 48, 56, 64 (including individuals). The top 5 ran a 37 second split and the top 7 ran a 54 second split.
Now the waiting…upon seeing results, the guys were in. 5th place and a trip to State to end our season!
A really exciting moment was after results were know both South and North guys came over to celebrate together. I appreciate getting to coach against Coach Crowe and Coach Derks. I will be cheering for Plainfield next week as we all toe the line together.
I am so proud of what these guys have done and how they raced. On to Peoria.