The Lake Zurich Middle School South boys Cross Country team is going to the IESA ( Illinois Elementary School Association) state championship in Bloomington-Normal on Saturday, Oct. 13. They finished second at sectionals at Yorkville High School on Oct. 6, and placed three runners in the top 10 at 1st, 7th and 10th place.
Sectional team members were: Matthew Pereira, Kyle Griffith, Kyle Fitzgerald, Patrick Burns, Brian Chmiel, Patrick True, Vincent Nguyen, Jack Pogalz, Zack Porlo and Chris DeSort.
Following is a Q&A with boys coach Matt Marston:
What were the highlights of the sectional meet?
Matthew Pereira has had a fantastic year. He’s been part of cross country for three years. Through hard work and determination, he has progressed in his running skills. This year he finished first at Sectionals, 27 seconds in front of the second place finisher. That’s a great achievement.
What is the composition of your team?
Sadly, for sectionals, we can only run seven kids on each team – girls and boys. The boys team had almost 40 members on it. The sectional boys team was composed of 5 eighth graders and 2 seventh graders. In addition we had 3 alternates – 1 eighth, 1 seventh, 1 sixth grader. It was great to see the 7 boys finish up a great season with a second place sectional finish. Throughout the year, the boys have finished first or second at every meet. They were a joy to watch and a pleasure to coach.
How are you preparing for the state meet?
We will prepare for state with more of the same. A hard practice – one mile repeats, a long run practice – 3+ miles, and a day of easy running focusing on form and strategy. Also, we’ll talk about what’s worked throughout the season and what hasn’t. Each runner will develop a plan for state – easy start, fast start, run together, etc.
What were the results of sectional race?
Team scores are based on the top 5 finishers from each team. South’s boys finished 1, 7, 10, 30, 42 out of 97 runners. That earned South the second placed spot out of 14 teams. South’s fastest runner, Matthew Pereira finished with a time of 10:49 for the 2-mile course.
The girls team didn’t place as high, but was led by Jemma Kim who finished with a 2-mile time of 12:45. They had a great year too.
What is special about this team?
The team has a positive attitude. Cross country isn’t about having the best time; it’s about bettering yourself. We set individual goals and work throughout the season to improve ourselves. Individuals encourage one another and push each other. No one can run for you – it’s all about what you can do. Whether you finish first or last, it’s not as important as the fact that you showed up and tried.
“We run” – that’s what cross country is. Each day “we run.” At meets, “we run.” If it’s raining, “we run.” All it takes is a pair of shoes and a good attitude. We do have a boys and girls team, but we run and train together. If you finish the race before someone, you turn around and cheer on the others. The team is made up of kids who run 2-miles in under 12 minutes and some who take 25 minutes – and that’s okay. To encourage teamwork and cooperation, we play a lot of games throughout the year. This year we’ve taken up Ultimate Frisbee. It requires running and allows kids to have some fun.