HP Cross Country Team Advances To Sectionals

Saturday, October 21 2017 - IHSA 3A Boys Cross Country Regionals

Highland Park ran well at the 2017 IHSA 3A Lake Forest Regional. The conditions were perfect for running fast times and the Giants were ready to compete and qualify for Sectionals as a team.

Senior Nate Amster and junior Jordy Mazza were not competing due to some injury issues, so the team knew they had to step up. The race got out very fast and HP’s top 3 got into good position. Seniors Fitz Laurie and Alec Glazier packed up with junior Jose Reyes through the first part of the race. As they came to the mile Laurie and Reyes (4:54) were a few seconds ahead of Glazier (4:58).  After his tremendous race at the CSL Invite, freshmen Jason Polydoris looked to follow that up with another strong race. He showed he was ready and determined as he went through the mile in a quick 5:12 (a personal best for him in the mile!). Senior Sebastian Arias was also focused on a big race to help make up for not having Amster or Mazza in the race. He got out well in 5:20 with junior Richard Heller getting out much faster than he did at the CSL Invite with a 5:25. Freshmen Erik Anderson was told the day before that he would probably be racing if the coaching staff decided not to run Amster. He proved he was ready as he got out in a 5:30 first mile.

With the fast start by the Giants, the question was how well could each man hold on. As the leaders came out of the forest into the back loop they passed the 2 mile mark still running a quick pace. Laurie and Reyes were in the top 10 and just a few seconds apart. Glazier had fallen back several seconds, but was hanging on better than he had in the past few meets. Polydoris came through the 2 mile in sub 11 (which was another PR for him in this race). Arias was less than 10 seconds behind Polydoris and was having his best race of the season. Heller was 13 seconds behind Arias and looking to close that gap and earn a team spot for Sectionals. Anderson came through the 2 mile in an 11:38 to keep himself well under his PR pace.

The final mile was a mental battle as fatigue from the fast start had set in and their bodies wanted to slow down. Every HP runner showed GIANT mental toughness as they each battled to finish as strong as they could for the team. Reyes had passed Laurie before they got to the final half mile and both runners were determined to finish strong. In the last straight away, Laurie unleashed a monster kick to overtake Reyes and a runner from Mundelein. He finished in 7th place with his best ever 3 mile time of 15:26.3. Reyes fought to the finish to take 9th place, also in a PR with a 15:29.0. Glazier battled the entire race and continues to show improvement each of the past few weeks as he took 14th place in 15:55.5. He is ready for a great race at Sectionals!

Polydoris finished with another 3 mile PR (he has done so in the last 3 races) as he ran an incredible 16:35.0 for 27th place. He continues to show he has what it takes to be one of the all-time distance running greats at HP. Arias finished up a magnificent race to take 31st place running his best time ever of 16:44.6. He stepped up big time for the team as their 5th runner.

Heller had a huge PR as he was just 10 seconds behind Arias in 36th place running a 16:54.5. Anderson also finished out the day with a big PR of 17:30.7. As a freshmen he showed excellent poise, toughness, and focus.

The team ended up taking 3rd place which advances them to Sectionals at Busses Woods next week. This was another big confidence builder for the team as they look to make a repeat trip to the IHSA 3A State Meet. They know that they still have not run a perfect team race, but are excited to have another opportunity to do so at the Sectional Meet taking place on the Busse Woods course. The team will do everything necessary to take care of themselves and each other this week as they prepare for their next meet. The Giants are capable of reaching their final goals this season if they believe in themselves and each other!

“It's hard to beat relentless.” – Jay Bilas