Boys Cross Country Takes 19th at State

By Nate Schapmann

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The tsunami of spectators surveying the Boys Cross Country State final race surged from one end of Peoria’s Detweiller Park to another, trying to follow the runners as they raced around the flat, grassy course.  It’s highly unusual for some many people to be at a Cross Country meet, but this was different.  Family members, friends, coaches, and runners gathered from the farthest corners of the state to see the last, and most important, race of the year.

The Boys Cross Country team placed 19th out of a field of 26 teams on Saturday, Nov. 5; a strong showing for it being the team’s first appearance, not including individual qualifiers, in history.  Senior Neal Omar led the way for the wolves, taking 28th place with a time of 15:12, followed by fellow seniors Marc-Daniel Julien at 46th, Masafumi Hoshi at 63rd, Blake Helton at 114th, and David Iverson at 140th.

Head Coach Mike Grossman was happy with his team’s performance, saying, “I couldn’t be more happy with us.  To not even be on the radar at the beginning of the season and finishing in the top 20 in the state by the end, it’s incredible.”

As for the future of the Niles West Cross Country team, this won’t be the last time the team will qualify down state, Grossman said.

“We have a very large incoming senior class, in addition to some very talented underclassmen, so qualifying for state next year isn’t out of the picture,” he said.