One of the things that makes covering any IHSA state final event a challenge is the seeming overflow of information that comes out of it. Last weekend, I was down at Detweiller Park in Peoria covering the cross country state meet and it happened almost effortlessly.
The two biggest stories to come out of the day was GSW freshman Daly Galloway finishing third in the Class 1A girls race and the Minooka girls finishing sixth as a team in the Class 3A run. Both are remarkable stories, especially when you consider that Galloway had never run cross country competitively until this fall season.
As far as the Minooka girls story goes (and went), the team’s best finish as a team was 19th before Saturday’s annual pilgrimage down to Detweiller. It was the sixth straight time the Indians have been to state as a team. More on that story can be found in the latest copy of Minooka-Channahon Life.
Of course, the races were supposed to start at 9 a.m. with the Class 1A girls race and then end at 3 p.m. with the 3A boys race. I say “supposed to” because there was a power outage right before the start of the race that Daly was in and because of it, the race started 28 minutes later than it should have.
To me it was one of two major blemishes the IHSA endured that day. The other being two-hour delays after a couple of races before final results were published. That was bad, especially in this day and age of chip scoring at events.
I mentioned the effect of the delay on Daly in Tuesday’s edition, but ran out of space when it came to detailing how she plans on trying to follow up this fall season.
“I’ve been through so many things, I just want to get back here again and to compete,” she said. “Especially when I’ve trained as hard as I have.”
Training that will resume for the track season soon.
“I’ll probably take off a good week, maybe two,” Galloway said. “Then it’s time to go hard for track.”
Seneca sophomore Ross McCormick also was making his first trip to state this year, and like Daly, he had run there earlier in the season. He was particularly hard on himself after finishing 77th in 16:22, but his coach, Kim Sedlock, said McCormick did just fine.
“We’re very happy with his performance. He’s worked real hard all season and especially since this is his first time being down at state,” she said. “It’s a huge deal for him and for our team to be here and watch him.
“He ran well. He got in with a pack in the back there and stuck with those guys and did his best. We were hoping to get under 16, but I think we were training in colder conditions all week and today we ran and had beautiful weather.”
“I was hoping to make All-State, but I wasn’t even close to that today,” McCormick said. “Hopefully next year I can get it.”
The key statement being “next year.”
“He needs to remember that we have next year. I remember last year we were making progress. Last year I think he missed by one spot and now he is here this year,” Sedlock said. “I think it was just first-year jitters down at state. Next year we set his goal as top-25. This experience this year is going to be key for him to get that.”
McCormick said part of his issues were with the fact that he got swept up in the accelerated pace on Saturday.
“I started out wanting to go about 5:20 and I think I started out at 5:05,” he said. “That’s a really fast time for me and I wasn’t used to it.”
Something that he hopes to take back to Detweiller with him next fall.
“Run my pace and don’t try to run out front with the big guys,” he said. “I want to just go out and do what I do.”
It’s a natural reaction that is not all that uncommon for first time runners at the event.
Something Minooka junior Gabe Ceballos can attest to firsthand. He finished 162nd in the Class 3A race with a time of 16:02. Like Galloway and McCormick, Ceballos also ran the course at the Woodruff Invite.
“It was about the same type of race as the Woodruff Invite, but there was definitely a lot more energy [Saturday],” he said. “[Saturday] my team was here and giving me support. I wish I could have finished with a better time, but I’m glad with what I got.
“I like running this course. The back mile is where a lot of people start slowing down. There is less energy back there. That’s where I tried to make a move. That didn’t go as well as I had planned though.”
No matter what, Minooka coach Kevin Gummerson said Ceballos performed admirably this fall.
“Gabe Ceballos has had a tremendous season. Last year he was an alternate on our team and had a chance to see the process involved in being a part of the state meet,” Gummerson said. “He set the goal one year ago of being a runner at the state meet. He worked hard and accomplished that goal.”
Gummerson said Ceballos ran Detweiller as expected Saturday.
“Gabe ran his like he has run every race this season. He ran extremely hard, and he never gave up out there,” he said. “He has now gained some valuable state meet experience. He was able to experience how hard this race goes out and how the pace never slows down out there. He wants to take that experience with him and get the team here in 2014. There is no doubt in my mind that Gabe has the ability to get this team back to Detweiller.”