When you hear a cross country coach talk about kids benefiting from “putting in the miles in the offseason,” perhaps no two runners epitomize that than GSW freshman runner Daly Galloway and Minooka junior runner Gabe Ceballos.
Up until this fall, Galloway had never run a competitive cross country race, though she trained as if she had. She then raised her level of competition even further during the season and finished third in the IHSA Class 1A state meet.
One year ago as a sophomore, Ceballos was on a Minooka boys team that made it to state but he was resigned to watch as an alternate to seven of his teammates. In the offseason, Ceballos was determined not to be an alternate again and ended up being the only member of the Indians to run the Detweiller course this fall. In the process he ended up turning in the fastest time of the year by a boys area runner over a three mile course.
For the efforts of Galloway and Ceballos this season, they have been named the Female and Male Cross Country Runners of the Year, respectively.
Female Runner of the Year
An avid reader, it’s seemingly appropriate that the last book Galloway finished last week was called ‘On Little Wings.’
“It was really a great book,” Galloway said. “I read books. I like to read a lot.”
Daly looked as though she was running on little wings at the IHSA Class 1A state meet at Detweiller Park in Peoria. In her first year of competitive running, she finished third at the event with a time of 17:30 running for the GSW Panthers.
When reading, she’s also been known to blaze a trail through the best story arc.
“A medium-sized book, if I’m really into it – takes me three or four days. Otherwise, a week,” Galloway said.
Galloway returned home to Dwight, where she lives, and said the reception was only somewhat similar to the one she received when coming back from grade school state track a year before.
“My reception was great. Right after I got back home, a lot of people were saying that it was a job well done,” Galloway said. “I got it from faculty and students when I arrived back in town. Then I’d go to the store and they’d congratulate me. Last year after [track] state I got some recognition, but not like cross country this year.”
Galloway runs for GSW through the co-op with Dwight, so not everybody may know who she is yet.
“Before the season begin back in June, I knew Daly was a fast and state-decorated grade school track athlete,” GSW coach Larry Lane said. “What I have learned since then, is that she is a tough and determined competitor who sets goals and works in every practice and race to accomplish them. Her best performances were in the biggest meets of the season. I mean her effort at Amboy’s Columbus Day meet where she encountered many top Class A girl runners at once and, of course, the state race at Detweiller were Daly’s best mental toughness races of the 2013 season.”
Galloway said she shut down from running for a while before getting back to work again.
“I took off a week before I started running again,” she said. “I enjoy running. It gives me the chance to go out and clear my mind. I find it really soothing.”
So, what does she do with her time away from racing?
“When I’m not running, I’m still a pretty sporting person,” Galloway said.
“I like basketball and softball and hanging out with my friends. I like to paint sometimes, even though I am not really a good painter. I also like to play video games – mainly war and shooting games.”
She also said her favorite subject is history because, “I like learning about different countries and republics and how they came to be. Also I like learning about the emperors.”
Lane said Daly’s success when running competitively is because of her upbringing.
“Daly has a great aerobic engine but her dedication and desire have propelled her to a wonderful freshman year,” Lane said. “That determination is a result of growing up in a family that is equal parts nurturing and demanding. Her parents, Timi and Lane, expect her to do her best in the classroom [4.0 student] and on the athletic field as well. Daly is praised for her fine performances but I have seen only a humble athlete who just wants to improve. The Galloways are a true team effort which has lead to all the success of the 2013 season for Daly.”
Perhaps when it’s all said and done Daly will eventually find the kind of success she’s been dreaming of – namely winning the state meet.
“Yeah, I believe if I keep working, I can get there,” she said. “If I get better, it’s something I am preparing for. I’m ready for it.”
Male Runner of the Year
One year ago, Ceballos was at Detweiller Park with a Minooka team that was making its fifth straight state appearance. He watched, listened and learned from his teammates what it was like to run there amongst the state’s best.
“I was disappointed I didn’t make the team and I definitely said to myself then that I was going to do everything I could to get down and run it the next year,” Ceballos said. “I made that my goal and it was always in my mindset to run down there.”
What he learned from just being there the year before was two-fold.
“I was around [the team] with other friends and listened in on their conversations. I was listening to what they were saying,” Ceballos said. “I knew from them that the course was fast and that the race was very crazy.”
With that new mindset came a desire to put more into the sport in the offseason. He estimates that he increased his workouts from “between 100 to 200 miles” from his freshman to sophomore years to about 600 last offseason.
“Gabe made a huge jump from his sophomore year to his junior year,” Minooka cross country coach Kevin Gummerson said. “The biggest reason for that was his increased mileage over the summer and he started to believe that he could do some great things.”
His personal best times increased from 17:18 as a freshman to 16:57 as a sophomore (both at Sterling) to 15:43 at the Normal Community regional.
With a time of 16:33 at the Edwardsville sectional. Ceballos made the cut to run amongst the elite, this even though his team saw its string of state appearances broken.
“I know my teammates were happy for me but they were also disappointed that we broke the streak of the team going to state,” Ceballos said. “But they were positive around me and were glad that at least one of us got to go down there this year.”
He ran Detweiller alone and ended up with a time of 16:02, but he thinks he could have done better if his team were running with him.
“Yeah, I think my time would have been faster down there because the guys push each other to do better when you are running together,” he said. “I think it would have helped me get a faster time.”
Right after the state race Ceballos said that he took two weeks off of training – spending time playing on his XBox, spending time with family, and catching up on his homework.
“Sometimes it feels good to have some time off and to relax,” he said.
So what did he do after the two weeks was over?
“The first time I ran after state was in a 5K race held up in Lisle,” he said. “I did it just to see what I’d get. It was cool.”
He won that race, but now his mind slowly will begin to think about what he has to do to get back to Detweiller and run at state again next year.
“I want to run enough miles but at the same time I don’t want to push myself so hard that I get injured,” Ceballos said of the offseason. “But I still have to push myself a little harder to get back down there and to do better there.”