There are many aspects of Cross Country that baffle people-- the long runs, the spirit sticks, the scoring system. But on a day like Halloween, 2015-- when the winds howled and the rains beat steady on the fields-- there is nothing more bewildering than Cross Country uniforms.
Imagine the pressure of warming up before a Sectional race in late October. A summer of blistering miles, an autumn spent fearing every little tug or stressor in your legs-- it can all be undone by one bad race. The team jogs in silence, laces up methodically, trots to the line for run outs. It’s 40 degrees with 20 mph winds, a steady spray of rainfall cutting through your tights like tissue paper. The teams file into their boxes and stare downfield, the sodden marsh lined with hundreds of tense spectators. Now imagine stripping off all your clothes and running three miles as hard as you can. In your underwear. This is Cross Country.
In these conditions, we were proud and grateful to win our race, our first Sectional championship since 2011. Following a spirited tilt at Regionals, we were eager to give more of our squad a chance to compete, so we swapped Jake McEneaney, Zach Kinne, and Scott Anderson back into the lineup. For Anderson, this was especially momentous-- it was his first race since Hinsdale, when a wayward root broke his foot. Fortunately, the Sectional course was free of trees, brambles, and shrubbery. Unfortunately, however, that meant there was nothing to shield our guys through the biting deluge.
McEneaney, Anderson, and Aidan Livingston tucked behind Huntley stud Keagan Smith, passing him briefly when the powerful miler slipped around a turn. They held together through the final straightaway, with Livingston (15:31), Anderson (15:32), and McEneaney (15:36) finishing 2-4. A hard-charging Matt “Mongoose” Milostan (15:38) slipped in at 7th, with fellow junior Jackson Jett (15:44) closing the door in 10th. Last week’s hero-- Patrick Wolak (16:01)-- finished 24th, while freshman phenom Zach Kinne (17:17) suffered an elbow to the head along with hypothermia.
As we staggered back to the bus, spent but elated, the guys began spinning new legends around an epic day. “Must have been 20 degrees out there!” “Rain so thick you have to cut it with a machete!” “I think I saw a drowned yeti!” There was a lot to celebrate-- a third straight strong race from Livingston, a stirring finish from Milostan and Jett, a heroic dive across the line from McEneaney, a return to form for “Scandy.” The thing about those uniforms-- when you strip everything else away, when you are deprived of shelter, armor, and excuses, you find out what you’re really made of. Next week, we’ll finally get to see. Results. Daily Herald Article DyestatIL Recap