Fortunately, our effort, luck, and finishes prevailed again, and we were proud to claim our third straight Sectional title, and our seventh as a program. It was not an easy day—the field of runners trickled out of the chute wet, chilled, and splattered by mud. But as we all made our way back to the fieldhouse, our spirits lifted. October was ending, and we were headed back to State.
In some ways, this all feels familiar. This is our 16th straight trip to Detweiller. Danny will be the third Winek to race at State in blue and gold. Ryan’s been around high-stakes competitions for as long as his father’s been coaching. Yet, like so much of this gray-skied day, everything is new. Michael Madiol, O’Connor, and Ginell weren’t even in our top 12 a year ago. Six of our top 7 have never raced the first weekend in November.
Like so many athletes they’ll share the line with, State racing has thus far been only a hypothetical, nothing more than a square you circle on the calendar in June. But the now mud is real. The cold, the wind, the distance from the chute. ‘We’ve never been here before,’ they’ll all think before the gunshot. ‘Let’s see what all the hype is about.’