The Minooka girls cross country team highlighted the area’s efforts Saturday as they will be running at the IHSA state meet at Detweiller Park in Peoria for a sixth year in a row. Individually, Minooka’s Gabe Ceballos advanced on the boys side and Gardner-South Wilmington freshman Daly Galloway made the cut to state after finishing second overall at the Lisle Class 1A Sectional.
Not only did the Indians’ girls team make it to state, they won the Class 3A Edwardsville Sectional. Led by freshman Ashley Tutt’s second-place time of 18:54, Minooka finished with 39 team points – ranking best among the 18 teams at the event.
Also running for the Indians were: freshman Mackenzie Callahan (6th/19:04); senior Caleigh Beverly (7th/19:05); sophomore Morgan Crouch (9th/19:16); senior Kaityln Chetney (15th/19:41); senior Haley McNamara (23rd/19:58) and senior Moria McAsey (25th/20:07).
“This was an extremely impressive showing for this group of girls,” Minooka coach Kevin Gummerson said. “They have worked so hard and they really needed this title. It was great to see the desire out there over the middle of the race. We are so excited to be sectional champs.”
The Minooka boys finished sixth at Edwardsville, ending with 187 team points. Junior Ceballos was the lone qualifier. He ended up 17th overall with a time of 16:33. Also running for the Indians were: freshman Soren Knudsen (33rd/17:04); junior Henry Bugajski (34th/17:05); senior Andy Geldean (43rd/17:13); junior Ben Ubert (63rd/17:30); junior Miguel Lomeli (65th/17:35) and junior Matt Sak (80th/17:57).
“This group came up just short of qualifying,” Gummerson said. “There is no doubt the group of returners will use this to increase their motivation for next year.
“Gabe was tremendous and has earned the right to run at state next weekend.”
At the Lisle Class 1A Sectional, Galloway finished second overall with a time of 19:40 and she too will run as an individual Saturday at Detweiller Park.
At the Oregon Class 1A Sectional for Seneca, Ross McCormick will also be running on Saturday after finishing 13th overall with a time of 16:34.
For the Morris cross country team Saturday at the Normal West Sectional, many PRs were turned in by Redskins’ runners but there were no state qualifiers. Running for the Morris boys were: Jake Hesslau (65th/16:43); Zach Chapman (69th/16:45); Tristan DeGrush (89th/17:08); Eric Robinson (90th/17:09); Vicente Gallegos (93rd/17:12); Alan Alvarez (94th/17:14) and Jayson Podschweit (114th/18:10).
“The team places weren’t where we wanted them to be and that makes it seem like the day was a disappointment, which is far from the truth,” Morris coach Joe Blumberg said. “We had numerous PRs and I thought our athletes competed well in both races. The reality is that the outcome of today was decided months ago. We just don’t have the training base these perennial state teams have. But our athletes worked extremely hard from August through October and got better.”
For the Morris girls, running were: Bridget Gile (93rd/20:59); Meghan Smith (107th/21:30); Maria Blanco (109th/21:40); Emily Ashworth (111th/21:48); Maddie Davy (114th/22:22); Alexis Halcomb (120th/22:59) and Valerie Pfaff (124th/24:10).
“It’s tough to say goodbye to our 13 seniors. They will graduate, but the traditions they leave behind will stay for years and years,” Blumberg said. “There were lots of tears Saturday and as a coach, that’s tough to watch. But you also know cross country meant something to them ... that they developed some pretty strong bonds, friendships and became a team.”
Morris sixth at conference meet
The Redskins finished with 121 team points with the highlight being the Morris divers. At the varsity level, Alex Schauer was fourth with a score of 277.65 and Kayla Lewis was sixth with 208.30 points. At the JV level where Morris was fifth as a team, Angel Dinelli was third with 104.65 points and Bri Bouchard fourth with 91.65.
Teams in the Independent Conference include: Oswego, DeKalb, Plainfield, Riverside-Brookfield and Fenton.