Above is a combined picture of our men and women's teams. There are approximately 230 young men and women who run xc at Neuqua Valley. Without even thinking about it, we formed a shape almost replicating our newly created school logo (as a team, we will continue using our 'running man' logo). After this picture was taken, we all ran an hour or ten miles around our track to raise money for our programs, and Naperville CARES, an organization that benefits struggling families in the Naperville area. We call this fundraising effort, a 'runathon'. Every year, we raise money that allows us to stay in a hotel the night before invitationals, purchase championship t-shirts, take charter buses (opposed to always taking school buses), season-ending awards, meals, and other miscellaneous items.
As for the actual event, we were much luckier than the previous year. Last year, our track was under construction so we had to run loops around Ashbury Park. And, to add fuel to the fire, it was very warm with high humidity and temperatures in the mid 80's. This year, we had temperatures in the mid 70's and a cool breeze. We took a fairly conservative approach to the workout but guys still put in some good times for ten miles, or completed a good number of laps in an hour.
We hope this workout helped prepare us for the Hornet-Red Devil Invitational, a little less than two weeks away. Last year, we came into this meet a little unprepared. Even though we don't put a lot of emphasis on early-season meets, we should show some improvement over last year based on workouts and overall commitment. Gone are Michael Widmann (Missouri), Daniel Weiss (M.I.T.), and Matt Horsley (Texas A&M). However, we have returning, a large cast of seniors that have varsity experience along with some precocious underclassmen. This may be the deepest team, 1-12, we have had in our history. However, that remains to be seen, because to surpass our 2007 - 2010 teams, depth-wise, is a tough thing to do.
Here is to another exciting season of cross country in Illinois. I have a feeling we are going to make the rest of the country take notice with the great teams in Illinois this year.