Boys and girls cross country runs in state meet

Both teams place seventh in State at Detweiller Park


Scarlett Lestina

Cross-country girls top 7 smile after 3 mile race (Lestina/LION).

Katie Garrity

After strong performances all-season long in boys and girls cross country, both teams took seventh at the IHSA State Meet on Nov. 5. Although both teams feel they could’ve done better overall, the intense weather conditions made the race quite difficult, Charlotte Lange ‘23 said. 

In the seven years that I’ve run cross country, I have never seen conditions come anywhere close to what we experienced at State,” she said. “The whole course was a mud pit and there were 50 mile per hour wind gusts. It made the race slow and difficult, but also super fun.”

The racing season officially started on Aug. 8, but the girls began training in the beginning of the summer, Lange said. The girls ran powerfully the whole season, placing third in regionals at home, and fourth in sectionals at Waubonsie Valley. 

We had a difficult summer training which made our team more prepared and confident going into the racing season,” she said. “The race we practiced throughout the season just didn’t come together [at State], but compared to last year, we are a lot better. Last year we placed 11th at the sectional meet and didn’t advance to the state meet, but this year we placed seventh at state. I’m proud of finishing the season strong.”

Catherine Sommerfeld ‘23 finished first among the LT girls and 30th overall, running an 18:19 three mile, Lange in 62nd following with an 18:54. Shannon Cranny ‘24, in 70th place, took third for LT girls with a 19:02. The team scored 293 points, 36 points behind the sixth place team. The top seven included Sommerfeld, Lange, Cranny, Scarlett Lestina ‘23, Julianne Melby ‘24, Kristina Findley ‘24, and Anna Bylsma ‘24. 

Being on the state team is really special to me,” Lange said. “I get the opportunity to represent all of the 130 plus teammates and all the hard work they’ve put in throughout the season.” 

The boys team finished in seventh, only six points behind the fifth place team, finishing in an extremely tight race. The first and second place finishers from LT, Nicholas Strayer ‘24 and Cillian Henning ‘24, were within 0.1 seconds of each other, running a 15:06.67 and 15:06.76 three mile, and placing in ninth and 10th place.  

“I’m really happy with how I did,” Strayer said. “This was definitely one of my better races this season. The time wasn’t great because of the wind, but the placement is definitely where I wanted to be. For the team, I think we were right around where we wanted to be, it definitely could’ve been better, but overall I’d say it was still a good day.”

The top seven for boys included Strayer, Henning, Aidan Collins ‘23, Ruben Guevera ‘23, Matthew McGovern ‘23, Brendan Whelton ‘24 and Michael Ferrell ‘23.

I think as a team we definitely could’ve done better,” Henning said. “We had the potential to get in the top four, maybe even get a trophy, and we got seventh. Knowing all the guys had the potential to get us into that position was just a little disappointing.”

All-State is awarded to the top 25 runners in each class (LT runs in 3A). Strayer, Henning, and Collins made all-state, the first time in LT history to have three all-state runners at the same time. 

“All-state is a huge accomplishment, especially as a junior,” Henning said. “I’ve always had the seniors in front of me, these guys I look up to, and I went from that to having to be the person to count on and be looked up to. Being able to say you’re all-state is something to be proud of.

The boys began training in June in preparation for races starting in August, Strayer said.  They start early to work on building a base of miles, and continue to build up speed from there. 

We were a lot more consistent all across the board this year,” he said. “Last year we had a couple great guys all up front but then it kind of dropped off more. This year we were able to have around 15 to 16 guys that we’d be happy with running and that was really because the training paid off.”

Similar to the girls, the boys had a strong season leading up to the state meet. They placed second in the regional meet, and fifth in sectionals. 

“Some people think running is an individual sport but really you’re doing it for your team,” Strayer said. “I know that all the other guys out there are working really hard and I want to do my best to help them out for the goals we want to achieve.”