Cross-country teams to build on success

The+Minooka+girls+cross-country+team+takes+off+from+the+starting+line+at+the+2015+IHSA+State+Finals+at+Detweiller+Park+in+Peoria.

The Minooka girls cross-country team takes off from the starting line at the 2015 IHSA State Finals at Detweiller Park in Peoria.

Calvin Stiteley, Sports Team Leader

Coming off arguably the best season in program history, Minooka cross-country is looking to build on its success. 

Last season, the boys won their first sectional title in school history, and then finished 16th in state. Senior Soren Knudsen finished 11th individually. The girls team won the sectional championship, and weeks later promptly won the state championship, the first in school history.

To say the very least, the MCHS cross country program has been groomed to perform at a high level year in and year out.

The boys are looking to improve on a season last year that saw quite a bit of success. Head coach Kevin Gummerson shared his thoughts in a separate interview on the goals for this team going forward.

First, we need to return to the state meet in November and improve upon last year’s finish. Second, the SPC Championship is always a goal of these athletes. This has turned into a very good cross-country conference. There is no doubt, that this will be an intense battle between some tough teams,” Gummerson said.

In order to achieve goals such as these, the team has to be strong top to bottom. Junior Cody Hoshell explained that they need to stay together as a team in order to improve from last season.

“Work ethic is all there is to it. Team needs to improve together and not let individuals go and branch off on their own. If we can stay doing everything right during practice it’ll pay off come state series time,” Hoshell said.

This year’s team has plenty of guys that should hopefully help the team even stronger than last year. They lost senior Lorenzo Capista, who moved to Arizona, and was in their top 12, but they still have some underclassmen looking to make a big impact.

“We’re looking stronger. Pre-season [had us] ranked ninth in the state, and [we are] only going to improve. Lots of underclassmen on varsity so it looks really good for us this year,” said Hoshell.

This season the girls are looking to become the first back-to-back state champions for any sport in school history.

“The Minooka girls are extremely excited about this upcoming cross-country season. They are coming off a track season in which a tremendous amount of growth was shown, and then they have continued to get stronger throughout the summer,” said Gummerson.

Much like the boys, the girls believe that one of the keys to success is working well together as a team. As the saying goes, “teamwork makes the dream work.” Winning a state championship brings a lot of pressure for the following season, however.

“I think it will rely a lot on teamwork. There is a lot of pressure on the girls since we have the title from last year, but if we run for each other and encourage each other at practice and meets and stay focused, I think we could bring home a trophy,” Ali Mondrella, senior, said.

However, a team can not just win another state championship without some hefty competition thrown their way.

“As we look at the 3A girls in Illinois, there is no doubt that this year is wide open. We are very much aware that in order to succeed in November, we have to be a complete cross-country team. There are a ton of teams that have a strong returning class and like most years, it also appears that there are many incoming freshman that will have a huge impact on a lot of teams,” Gummerson said

As the cross country season begins to kick into full swing, both teams have some high expectations. At the end of it all, they believe that teamwork is the thing that will carry them to success, and perhaps a state title.

Both teams run at the highly competitive Hornet/Red Devil Invitational at Katherine Legge Park in Hinsdale tomorrow.  Races begin at 9 a.m.