Cross country loves the number seven:

Boys cross country takes 7th in state sectional after winning conference title for seventh year in row

Fortunate and appreciative, the boys cross country team ran into this school year’s fall season invigorated despite restrictive circumstances. The team placed seventh in the final Oct. 31 sectional.
Matthew Pierson, senior, talks about how placing seventh and qualifying for state, though no longer taking place due to COVID-19 restrictions, is a bittersweet achievement for the team.
“Everyone on the team has mixed feelings about qualifying for state. This was the first time since 2012 that we qualified, so everyone is happy but there is definitely a bittersweet feeling as we don’t get to go, especially for the seniors,” Pierson said.
After becoming conference champions for the 7th time since the school opened, the boys competed in the IHSA Regionals, qualifying for Sectionals as a team for the 13th year in a row.
Jason Crowe, head coach, describes the team’s adjustment this season. .
“It’s a mature group that accepts responsibility that’s thrown at them, so we’ve adapted and become routine with social distancing. It’s [also] become routine to come to practice with your mask on and have your temperature checked,” Crowe said.
The graduating class of 2020 left behind senior shoes to fill, and this year the team’s leadership is no different. Crowe names the four senior students that have run this year.
“This year was Matthew Pierson, Grant Trentz, Matthew Graham, and Nick Mihailovic–just to name four,” Crowe said.
Trentz, senior, noted the team’s performance and his focus of being a leader.
“This year I was mostly just focused on our team goals and being a good leader,” Trentz said.
Looking to the future, Crowe adds the team has many young runners who are shaping wonderfully for the coming years. Likewise, Pierson said Crowe relied heavily on senior leadership and young runners to step up this season as they had to practice in smaller groups due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“This is where we saw a lot of underclassmen step up throughout the season, by taking charge and holding themselves and others accountable,” Pierson said.
As the global health crisis ensues in America, support for high school athletes is regulated per CDC and state guidelines. Crowe conveys how limitations have translated into cross country.
“Because of social distancing, some of our meets have been no-spectators. Most do have spectators, but they’re parents only,” Crowe said.
Additionally, players took extra precautions at meets to ensure the safety of others. Trentz gives details to protocol the team utilized.
“Every day we had to have masks on at any time we weren’t running, and our temperatures were taken at the beginning of practice. Additionally, we had to stay at least 10 feet apart from each other while stretching or listening to Coach Crowe or Thompsen give us information about upcoming practices and meets,” Trentz said.
Masks were required to be worn at all times except when competitors were running, however, they had to put them back on after the race.
For those who want to praise student athletes, Crowe recommends using social media to support them. He explains how simple remarks can go a long way, especially during these challenging times.