Boys Cross Country: Sandburg ready to run on ‘home’ course
By Tim Tierney For Sun-Times Media October 31, 2012 9:44PM
Sandburg advances as a team following the boys Marist Cross Country Sectional at Midlothian Meadow Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012, in Midlothian. | Matthew Grotto~Sun-Times Media
Boys State Cross Country
When: Saturday, Detweiller Park, Peoria
Lincoln-Way Central: Ben Alvarado, Ryan Barry, Nathan Coppens, Kevin Fabian, Chris Kaminski, Tommy Kolacki, Joey Nelson, Ian Peterson, Andrew Robbins, Dru Rozewicki, Jackson Waters, Ben Zibricky.
Sandburg: Harry Becker, Will Becker, Tom Brennan, Greg Burzinski, Ethan Dee, Matt Hetzler, Chris Hogan, Pat Letz, Pat McMahon, Denis O’Callaghan, Nicholas Prajka, Sean Torpy.
Homewood-Flossmoor: Matt Anyiwo
Lockport: Will Giroux
Marist: Kyle Hauser
Shepard: Abel Hernandez
Thornwood: Kenneth Allen, Khalil Lightbourne, Jesse Unzueta.
Illiana Christian: Jordan Dekker, Colin DeYoung, Nick Fiene, Austin Gibson, Jared Haan, Caleb Jonkman, Tom McGuire, Matt Schaaf, Ben VanTil, Kevin Vroegh, Nick Wondaal, Tony Wondaal.
Bremen: Jacob Widstrom
Lemont: Aaron Oldanie
Mount Carmel: Dan O’Keefe
Beecher: Grant Nykaza
Updated: December 2, 2012 1:56PM
Sandburg’s Pat McMahon and Chris Hogan believe the Eagles are a different team when they get to their home course in Peoria.
Sandburg will be going to Detweiller Park for a third meet this season, this time to run in Saturday’s Class 3A state final.
“That’s where we always have our best race,’’ McMahon said. “Crazy things always happen. It’s going to be exciting to see how it goes.’’
“Last year we didn’t have a great sectional and went to state and just clobbered the competition,’’ Hogan said. “I can’t wait to do the same thing.’’
The distractions that come with a state competition shouldn’t get to Sandburg, which has finished among the top 10 four of the past six years.
“If you look around you, you’re going to be a deer in the headlights,’’ coach John O’Malley said. “We run there more than any other course.
“We feel like it’s our home course. We run well there.’’
McMahon led Sandburg to a seventh-place finish at the 2011 state meet, and he was fifth at Saturday’s Marist Sectional, where the Eagles rallied after a slow start to claim fourth place.
McMahon, Pat Letz (18th), Hogan (21st), Tom Brennan (30th) and Nicholas Prajka came through for Sandburg.
“I love being in a tough sectional,’’ O’Malley said. “As long as you get out, you’re in much better position the following week.
“It was just packed in there, totally tight. That’s how it’ll be downstate. It’ll be routine. It’s not like it will be something foreign.’’
The course certainly won’t be foreign to Beecher’s Grant Nykaza, the 2011 Class 1A state runner-up in 14 minutes, 37 seconds.
“I’d love to go close to 14:15,’’ Nykaza said. “But I’d rather win state with a 15:00 flat than run 14:15.’’
Nykaza ran 15:49 to take first at the Lisle Sectional won by Richmond-Burton. The Bobcats, state champions in 2010, won’t be there as a team after finishing seventh in the sectional.
Illiana Christian will compete as a team in Class 2A after taking third in the Wheaton Academy Sectional. Tony Wondaal, Jordan Dekker, Kevin Vroegh and Austin Gibson are back from the 2011 team that finished 12th in the state meet.