By Declan McGuire ‘20

On Friday, Nov. 8, the Brother Rice cross country team traveled down to Detweiller Park in Peoria, Illinois, to compete in the IHSA 2A Cross Country Championship.

As exciting as this was, one of the more exciting parts was the ride down. Getting to leave school early is always a plus, and getting to stop at Subway as well was a nice treat by Coaches Wazio and Swynenburg.

With lots of time to kill and team bonding to be done, the trip started off a little crazy, with us playing games like Crazy 8s and Psych for a large chunk of the bus ride. After that, we spent our time telling stories and laughing the whole way down.

“I had a blast and was thankful to go down with the guys. The ride down alone was definitely a highlight of this trip and the season,” said junior Tom Skrypkun.

After the long ride, we finally arrived at Detweiller Park. With music blasting and people everywhere on the course, it was truly a runner’s paradise.

Before we could partake in any of the events going on at the park, we had to practice first since we were there to compete and not to spectate. And luckily, for one of the few times this season, the conditions were ideal.

“The ground was hard and I felt quick on my feet practicing out there, which was definitely a nice change considering that almost every meet this year was a slip and slide full of mud,” said junior Mikey Corcoran.

Once we took care of business, the fun could come. We went to the hotel to check in and all split up into our rooms, but it didn’t take long for everyone to meet up and hang out.

After taking some time to relax, we hit the road again and went out for a pasta party; instead of having it in the Brother RIce library, we were treated to dinner at a nice, Italian restaurant.

To conclude the night, we went back to the hotel, had a quick team meeting, had some laughs and told some stories, and then it was lights out for the big meet the next day.

The downside to waking up at 6:30 a.m. was that it was Saturday, but the upside, of course,was the continental breakfast filled with homemade waffles, crispy bacon, and freshly squeezed orange juice.

We packed our bags and hopped on the bus to make our last trip back to Detweiller Park for the year. And the atmosphere was even more hectic than the day before.

“I knew that the state meet was going to be big, but I didn’t think there would be that many people. It was a little intimidating, honestly, but I just treated it like any other meet and stayed focused on my race,” said top senior runner Jimmy Maguire.

After warming up and going through the drills, the boys looked ready and prepared to “run ugly.” They knew what they had to do and did a good job of putting any nerves behind them.

When the gun was fired, they were off. All you could see was a mob of runners going lighting fast down the straightway. All you could hear was the roar of every fan in attendance.

From the pace car to the chase car, every Crusader left it all out on the course that day, and they were a part of school and state history.

It has been an honor to be a member of this team, and I couldn’t have been more proud of this group for their hard work and dedication all year. I wish them and the coaches the best of luck next year and the years to come, and I hope they never forget what it means to “run ugly.”