Opportunities to Step Up

Saturday, September 9 2023 - Steelman Invitational

In cross country as in life success is very dependent on the ability to adjust and adapt your plan as events unfold in front of you. For the Wildcats at the Joliet Steelman Invitational that was the story of the day.

The frosh/soph girls got the day rolling. This group has really taken advantage of the power of running with your teammates. The team saw groups of 3-2 and then 1 close behind. Sylvia Magemeneas set the pace for the first mile with Alyssa Link and Ella Ruland right with. Alyssa took over the pacing duties for the 2nd half of the race. Ella Ruland fell back a little in the middle only to roar back and finish stride for stride with Alyssa, both runners with season best times. Sylvia was next in. Emily Fannin and Sophie Salkas feed of the energy of each other to run lifetime bests. Battling injuries can be a difficult thing to manage in distance running, Ashlynn Sabatini fought hard on a day she didn’t feel her best to round out the team for the girls.

The frosh/soph boys were next, this is a very young group just starting to learn how to run a cross country race. Brady Husak led the way with a PR and a sub 21 minute time for the first time. Troy Henshen was next in. Dominik Barrios continues his strong running to be the 3rd Wildcat finisher. Thomas Coleman came in next running a big lifetime best time! Guilian Salas gains more confidence every day he steps out to run, after a week that included the best (and toughest runs) of his life, Guilian walked away with a new PR. Lucas Reyes also just dipped in to set a new PR.

The varsity girls saw Hannah Kilday continue to led the way, running under 19:30 for the 3rd time this season, to finish 12th overall. Bridget Kemp ran another solid, consistent race just 12 seconds off her lifetime PR. Cyan Bradley had a huge breakthrough on Wednesday and carried that confidence to Saturday running a 1 second PR. Allison Behounek has been solid as a rock all season, and this race was no different as she brought it in as the 4th runner. The varsity girls were down a few key athletes, and that means adjust and next athlete up has to step in. Lydia Velazquez rounded out the scoring for the day as the 5th finisher for the Cats. The team finished 8th overall, but only a few points away from 5th place. This team will continue to improve and make big strides in the coming weeks.

The varsity boys knew they would be a in a battle as a team, unfortunately due to a slight injury the team was down their top runner, Tyler Schick. But that just means next man up. Harlan Matson and Luke Adair both stepped up in big ways. Both Harlan and Luke stayed calm and stayed on course when the small group at the front took a wrong turn at the mile and quarter marker. Harlan took the led for the 2nd half of the race and battled as he finished 2nd overall, Luke ran a tough race as well to take 5th overall. Next in was Arnold Arce who has had some hiccups in training the last few weeks. Ubaldo Rodriguez has been consistent as he waits for that big breakthrough that is going to happen this year. Raymond Churchill rounded out the scoring for the Wildcats. The 6th man, Adrian Castillo, finished things out with a big PR and first time under 18. The team took 4th overall, minus the potential winner of the race. A healthy Schick the team would finish dangerously close to Benet for the win.

The open races saw some great PRs. Brianna Mosinski got things going with a 42 second lifetime PR. Isabelle Reyes was next in, just off a PR. And Kayla DeFano was able to finish with a season best time to round out the open race for the girls.

The boys open race saw a huge break through for Micah Ruland, in just his 3rd week running, he finished 3rd overall in a new PR of 17:49. Next in was Jake Michel, just off his PR. Gabe Ibarra had a big PR, breaking 21 minutes for the first time. Michael Kazak finished next just off a PR. Aden Veljacic finished out the day for the Wildcats, on a day when he wasn’t feeling his best, he ran a time that has of 2 weeks ago would have been a lifetime PR of over a minute.

The team competes next at Peoria next Saturday.