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All-Area boys team will all return in 2014

Published: Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013 5:30 a.m. CST • Updated: Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013 10:04 p.m. CST
Caption
(Morris Daily Herald file photo)
Seneca cross country runner Ross McCormick finished with a time of 16:22 at the IHSA Class 1A state cross country meet.

Only two area boys cross country runners made it to state this past season. Seven of the eight harriers chosen for the Morris Daily Herald All-Area boys cross country team this year ran a time of 16:45 or less over a three mile course this year.

The other dropped 1:29 off his personal best time between his freshman and sophomore years.

In total, eight runners were chose to be on this year’s MDH boys squad, none of which will graduate this year.

Soren Knudsen

Minooka freshman

The 16:12 he ran in at the Class 3A Edwardsville Sectional was his season best.

“He was brought up to the varsity during the state series and immediately had an impact on his team,” Minooka coach Kevin Gummerson said. “He has a ton of ability and has a great enthusiasm for the sport. He finished as out No. 2 runner at the sectional meet.”

Jacob Wantland

Morris junior

His best time of the season was the 16:22 he put up at the Chief Dual at home against Sandwich, but then saw his season cut prematurely again.

“I feel for the guy. He had another great summer, but had surgery end his season for the second-straight season,” Morris coach Joe Blumberg said. “Throughout it all, his attitude was phenomenal. Look for ‘Watty’ to have a great senior campaign next fall.”

Ross McCormick

Seneca sophomore

His best time of the season came at the Peoria Woodruff Invite at Detweiller Park on Sept. 14. He then finished 77th in 16:22 in the Class 1A state finals.

“Ross worked extremely hard all summer and season. He is the most dedicated cross country runner I have ever coached,” Seneca coach Kim Sedlock said. “As one of the youngest on the team, he was  a leader and a positive role model all season.

Jake Hesslau

Morris junior

Marked his best time at the Class 2A Normal West Sectional where he finished in 16:43.

“When Wantland went down, Jake stepped up into the No. 1 role and thrived,” Blumberg said. “When I think of where he was at the beginning of his freshman year, it’s remarkable how much he improved. It’s a testament to his work ethic and desire to get better every day.”

Michael Mankowski

GSW sophomore

His best three-mile time was a 17:29 at the Kankakee all-area frosh-soph competitive where he was crowned champion At the Lisle Class A Sectional he improved his time 1:41 and 72 places from his 2012 effort.

“Michael is an intelligent student of the sport, trains hard, and is determined to improve,” Lane said. “He improved his personal best from 18:58 to 17:29 as a sophomore. That 1:29 advancement is huge.”

Henry Bugajski

Minooka junior

His best time of the season was at the Woodruff Invite when he finished in a time of 16:25.

“Henry was our lone returner from the 2012 season and he gave us a very consistent look up front,” Gummerson said. “He was willing to work extremely hard and you could always count on him to be excited about the chance to compete.”

Zach Chapman

Morris freshman

He was two seconds behind Hesslau (16:45) at the Normal West Sectional when he turned in his best time of the season.

“Zach just got better and better all year,” Blumberg said. “Some freshmen hit a wall due to tough training. He just got stronger. He has a bright future if he commits to offseason running.”

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