This is one of my favorite times of the year for following high school sports. The fall postseason is upon us, and it's now that all the speculation goes right out the window.
Will this football team land in 5A or 4A? Will the IHSA send that football team north or south for the playoffs? Will the other team in the area finish with enough playoff points to qualify for the postseason? Those are the kind of questions that will have been answered by the next time I write a Saturday Sentinel.
The area golf season has now officially come to an end and the focus is all on cross country, soccer and volleyball at the moment. On Saturday, Morris tries to win a third soccer regional title in the last four years in Ottawa and the area cross country teams find out if all the work they have put into the season will pay off or not.
One of the most reliable things over in the last four years is the Minooka cross country team. Essentially, it's the one sport in the fall that everyone know is going to succeed. In the winter its wrestling and in the spring, baseball. But the season of success in Minooka has started already for coach Kevin Gummerson as the Indians endeavor to once again get back to the state meet.
Last week, I did an article on the Indians as they enter what they term is the "championship phase" of the season. It started with Southwest Prairie Conference meet last weekend and really gets going in full force on Saturday.
"This is why we train. You are going to have your ups and downs throughout the season. We like to have the team go into regular season meets tired. We like to keep that volume up," Gummerson said last Thursday. "We train throughout the regular season and now is the first week where we start cutting down on the volume a little bit and the kids start getting their legs underneath them. The idea then is to keep building each and every week and to have them ready to run their best on Nov. 3. That's how we set our season up."
Nov. 3 is, of course the state meet and the Indians know well the route to Detweiller Park in Peoria. The only thing left to determine is the lineup that they are going to employ to try and get there. Gummerson was pretty tight lipped about that information.
"It comes down to who's running well right now," he said. "For the conference meet the kids know already. After that, it's week to week."
Every year the expectations grow for the Minooka program, though most of the kids in the past four years have poo-pooed the notion that there is pressure ti maintain that level of success. The Indians boys team is even looking to break into the top 10 this year, and just may have the horses to do it according to Minooka senior Cam Knudsen.
"I guess there is a little pressure because you don't want to go out and have a bad race, but finishing in the top 10 this year is our goal," Knudsen said.