By Declan McGuire ‘20

The IHSA cross country finals may be one of the most attended high school sporting events, but not many get the opportunity to run in it.

And even fewer can say that they were able to run in it after only doing cross country for two years.

Over the weekend, Jimmy Maguire and the cross country team traveled down to Detweiller Park in Peoria, Illinois, to race in the 2A Cross Country State Championship.

“I’m really looking forward to this meet, and not just because we get to leave school early,” said Maguire. “I know people aren’t expecting much from us going into this, but I think if we race hard anything is possible.”

With hopes of finishing the season as a top 20 team in the state, the team arrived in Peoria early Friday afternoon. Even though they had been here earlier in the year to race in the Richard Spring Invitational, the boys knew that it would be a completely different atmosphere this time around.

“You can always expect a good turnout for a meet at Detweiller Park, but I honestly didn’t think there was going to be this many people here, especially the day before the actual meet,” said junior runner Eddie Burke.

Even though the size of the crowd was not something the boys were used to, the conditions of the course luckily were. “I was glad to see the course was compact and flat when we practiced on it Friday, considering that almost all of our races this year were in muddy and sloppy conditions,” said Maguire.

Going into his last race, Jimmy knew what he had to do to make it count: “I’m honestly going to miss this team a lot more than I thought. But I’m looking forward to leaving it all out on the course with them one last time.”

And he did just that; Maguire finished with an impressive time of 16:28.90 in his last race ever as a Crusader.

“Jimmy battled the whole way through and that’s honestly all we could have asked him to do,” said Coach Swynenburg. “Not a lot of kids get the opportunity to run in a state meet, but I’m glad that Jimmy did.”

After two years of hard work, this was the last time Jimmy Maguire would lace up the spikes in stripes and tights, but he wouldn’t have wanted to do it with any other group. “I couldn’t have asked for a better team or coaching staff to do this with, and even though I’m done I know that these guys and this program will continue to “run ugly.”