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Minooka dominantes All-Area boys cross country team

As one might imagine, this year's Morris Daily Herald All-Area Boys Cross Country team has a familiar flavor. Once again the Runner of the Year is Joey Santillo from Minooka and he is joined by six of his teammates this fall.

Minooka finished 16th as a team at state this year and the program is by now firmly established as one of the state's best under Kevin Gummerson.

This year 11 runners make up the All-MDH squad. They are listed by personal-best times of the season.

Alex Pierce
Senior, Minooka

Season-best time: 14:49 at Detweiller Park in Peoria.

"Alex Pierce started off his freshman year running over 18:00 for 3.0 miles," Gummerson said. "He set his goals high, worked hard, and believed in himself. He is one of only five Minooka athletes to break 15:00 at Detweiller Park and is currently the third fastest Minooka Indian on that course."

Cam Knudsen
Senior, Minooka

Season-best time: 15:14 at Detweiller Park in Peoria.

"Cam had an outstanding senior season. He did not set any limits on his success and it is amazing how much he accomplished this year," Gummerson said. "Cam has tremendous instincts on how to properly run a race, and you could always count on Cam to be charging over that last mile."

Cheyne Robinson
Junior, Minooka

Season-best time: 15:58 at Detweiller Park in Peoria.

"Cheyne ran his best race of the year at the IHSA state meet," Gummerson said. "He was a transfer in this year, and was a positive addition to this team."

Ross McCormick
Freshman, Seneca

Season-best time: 16:05 at Plano Invitational.

"Ross trained hard all summer and put in long runs on the weekends," Seneca coach Kim Sedlock said. "As a freshman, he was very mature and mentally strong."

Jacob Wantland
Sophomore, Morris

Season-best time: 16:13 at The Chief Dual in Sandwich.

“Watty puts in the most time in the offseason, and he reaps the most benefits in the fall," Morris coach Joe Blumberg said. "He’s frustrated with the injury that essentially cost him the second half of his season, but I know he will use that as fire to come back even stronger next year.”

Lane Hoffman
Senior, Gardner-South Wilmington

Season-best time: 6:17 at Detweiller Park in Peoria.

"Lane finished in the in the top five in four of his 12 races and in the top nine in all of those meets," GSW coach Larry Lane said. "He was the second-best boy in the area for most of the season. He qualified for the Class A state for the first time this fall."

Justin Sjostrom
Senior, Morris

Season-best time: 16:18 at the East Peoria Sectional.

“SoJo was a quiet leader and consistently improved from the beginning of his junior year through the end of his senior year," Blumberg said. "He plans on running at the next level but has not picked a school.”

Erik Brick
Senior, Minooka

Season-best time: 16:23 at Detweiller Park in Peoria.

"Brick had a great senior year and ran very tough when we needed him to compete at a very high level," Gummerson said. "Brick put in a lot of mile this summer to put together his best season ever."

Henry Bugajski
Sophomore, Minooka

Season-best time:16:24  at Detweiller Park in Peoria.

"Henry Bugaski had an outstanding first year of XC," Gummerson said. "He seemed to get better each meet and is quietly gaining confidence in his ability to put together a quality 3three-mile race."

Honorable mention

— Will O’Connell, senior, PR of 16:40. "You could always count on Will O’Connell to race as hard as he possibly could," Gummerson said. "It was great to see him run his fastest 3-mile race at the 2012 IHSA State Championships." GSW — Clay McCormick, senior, PR of 17:40). "Clay was the No. 2 runner on a team that finished 10th at the Lisle Class A sectional. He trained hard during the summer to accomplish that goal as he was our No. 5 last season. He finished in the top 10 in three of his meets and was top 20 in seven of his 12 races," Lane said.

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