A Step in the Right Direction

Sunday, September 17 2023 - Peoria Notre Dame

Heading to Peoria in September is a key moment during an Illinois cross country season. It gives a good indication of the potential team that could toe the line in November on that same course. Saturday for the Wildcats was a great step in the right direction for this season. It saw a lot of barriers broken, and some confidence building steps in the right direction.

22 of the 34 athletes that raced ran all-time person bests, and 4 more ran season best times.

In the open boys race 2 of the 4 guys ran personal bests. Gabe Ibarra has shown a whole new level of commitment this season, and it is paying off. Last year at Richard Spring, Gabe ran 24:15, this year he ran 19:33. Stephan Cameron ran just a few seconds off his season best, but after dealing with injury and illness which have hampered him the last few weeks, this was a big confidence booster. Michael Kazak continues to show huge improvement in his first XC season, getting even closer to 20:00. Aden Veljacic rounded out the race, just off his PR, but a big race after missing some time lately with injuries.

The varsity girls race saw some huge breakthroughs. Hannah Kilday cut nearly 20 seconds off her PR, and got so closer to sub 19. Her 19:04 is the second fastest time in PHS history. One of my favorite things about Hannah’s race is she passed 42 people from the 1 mile to the finish line. The rest of the fall is going to be something special for Hannah. Next in was Bridget Kemp, BK was able to break 20 for the first time and run a nearly 40 second PR. Just like Hannah, BK passed 29 people from mile 1 to the finish. Cyan Bradley had a moment during track season at the SPC Conference meet in the 800 where she saw the runner she could be, and her confidence has grown all summer and all season so far, and its showed up in big ways. Cyan ran a 1 minute PR and improved from 26:04 last year in Peoria to 21:04 this year. Cyan has a huge season ahead of here. Next in was the most consistent and steadiest runner of the season, Allison Behounek. She continues to improve every race and has dropped her PR down below 22 minutes for the first time. Brianna Mosinski rounded out the scoring, with another PR run, she has had 3 races in a row with lifetime bests! Alexis Pacholski is getting back into race confidence and was next in. Isabelle Reyes rounded out the scoring with a season best time and just off a lifetime best.

The varsity boys exemplified well the steps in the right direction model for the day. Tyler Schick has been dealing with some IT band discomfort for the past 2 weeks, and decided to give it a go. He didn’t feel his best, and had to regain some race confidence, but despite that he still walked away with a PR, and a big step as the big stretch towards November gets rolling.  Arnold Arce has also been dealing with some little issues, but was back racing for the first time in two weeks as well, and he took advantage and came away with a PR as well. Luke Adair has put in the work the past three years to turn himself into a strong varsity runner, last year in Peoria Luke ran 17:49, today he ran 16:07. Harlan Matson was next in, Harlan has been rolling lately, but he struggled today. Ubaldo Rodriguez rounded out the scoring with a season best time, and just 3 seconds off a lifetime best. A big step for Ubaldo who has been trying to get back into racing fitness. Micah Ruland has been a huge addition to the team. He joined us late and has PR’d in every race dropping from 18:40s in his first race, now down to 17:02. Every race he learns more about how to pace and deal with discomfort and will be a big piece for us down the stretch. Adrian Castillo is the picture of hard work. He does what is asked of him every day, he 18:54 last year in Peoria, this year he ran 17:24! Hard work pays off. Raymond Churchill was next in, just dipping under 18. Colin Elder took a high risk going out sub 6, and then pushing the whole way, and it paid off with a next PR of 18:15. Next up, sub 18. Tyler Weir rounded out the race for the Wildcats.

The frosh/soph girls was a race of pack running, with Sylvia Magemeneas, Alyssa Link and Ella Ruland running together almost the entire way. Ella pulled away the last 500 meters to finish first for the team with a nearly minute PR. Sylvia was next in with a season best time and her second best race ever. Alyssa finished directly next to Sylvia, and the energy of team work helped Alyssa to run a new PR. After the race, Ella nominated Alyssa for runner of the week because of how encouraging she was on the course. Team work. Dream work! Sophie Salkas was next in, who also ran a big PR, Sophie ran a great second half of the race to finish strong. Emily Fannin ran a nice PR as well, she did a great job of staying close to Sophie to be able to be driven by team work. Ashlynn Sabatini rounded out the race for the team running a big PR and able to dip under 30 minutes for the first time.

The frosh/soph boys ended our day in Peoria with a big haul of PRs as well. Brady Husak took a big leap and got after from the start and raced tough, that paid off with a big PR and dropping under 20 for the first time. Thomas Coleman ran like a man on a mission helping to lead two teammates to great races as well. Thomas ran 26:33 last year, this year he ran 20:46. Dominik Barrios stuck with Thomas and came away with a HUGE PR of 20:49. Troy Henschen was next in, just off a PR. Guilian Salas was next in, Guilian has built the confidence to run a whole 3 mile race, we talked after about building towards racing the whole way now. Ezequiel Ocegueda was next in, breaking 30 for the first time and taking nearly 3 minutes off his PR. Hard work continues to pay off for Zeke!

Lots of steps in the right direction and 4 weeks until conference and 7 until State Finals! Let’s build off this confidence and take the next step, and the next, and the next. Kaizen!