By Charley Duggan ‘24

On Oct. 28, the cross country team competed in the IHSA 2A Sectional Championship at Geneseo. The team placed 10th overall. It was a great team race for the Crusaders. They were hoping to make it to state, but still had great performances.

Gavin O’Connor was the top runner placing 4th, qualifying as an individual for the state meet. Andrew Straley posted a big performance finishing 19th and qualified for state, too. Aiden Leary, Dylan Cody, and Eamon Roche all ran lifetime bests. Sophomore Aiden Leary ran a personal best by over 30 seconds.

Leary said, “Coming into sectionals I felt the best I felt all year. I was nervous after seeing the big hill, but I got over it and did just fine. I think I raced pretty well and I beat my goal time for the year. This season I was on and off, but I think this year was a good season and definitely a big step to next year where I will get even better and hopefully be a top 5 runner.”

Dan Macis described the challenges at the sectional meet.

Macis said, “The course was really challenging. That’s the first time I’ve run a course with hills like that. I felt good during the race and really used the downhills to my advantage. After the season, I feel like I don’t feel I did as good as I hoped.”

Straley is also one of the sophomores to make it to state as an individual in Brother Rice history.

Straley said, “Sectionals was a fun time and a great experience. It’s great making it down to state as a sophomore, but it would have been nice to share the experience with the team. However, it was also great to race along Gavin; not many individual qualifiers are able to have any teammates to race with. But overall, I am proud of what the team has been able to accomplish this year.”

O’Connor and Straley will race at Detweiller Park in Peoria at the state meet next Saturday at noon. Overall, the team has had an incredible season just coming off a second place finish at Regionals the previous week. Good luck to our Running Ugly Crusaders.