Nate Amster Qualifies For IHSA 3A State Cross Country Meet!Monday, October 30 2017 - IHSA 3A Boy's Cross Country Sectionals
The team came into the IHSA 3A Hoffman Estates Sectional focused on trying to qualify for the IHSA 3A State Meet for the second year in row. None of the sectional previews mentioned Highland Park even having a chance to qualify as a team. That did not phase the Giants. They went into this race ready to prove the doubters wrong.
The top four got out well as they do in every meet. As they came through the mile seniors Nate Amster and Fitz Laurie were in great position. Junior Jose Reyes was a few seconds back and senior Alec Glazier, after a great start, was several more seconds behind Reyes. At this point the team’s fifth runner, freshmen Jason Polydoris, was off to a solid start but needed to make up some places the remainder of the race. Junior Richard Heller and senior Sebastian Arias were a couple seconds behind him working together to stay close.
By the time the race came to the second mile, it was apparent that Amster was having the race of his life as he continued to stay up in the top 10. Reyes caught up to Laurie and they worked together to hold their position the final mile. Glazier fell back a bit more but continued to battle. Polydoris was right around 100th place with one mile to go and was starting to move up. Heller and Arias continued to work well together fighting for every place they could.
Amster had a strong last mile and great kick to finish in an incredible 15:14.5 for 8th place! This was his best time ever for 3 miles and the perfect time to have his best race. Laurie and Reyes fell back a few more places but fought hard to the finish to take 27th and 28th place. They ran 15:36.5 and 15:36.8. Glazier ended up taking 53rd place in 15:56.9. Polydoris had a tremendous final mile and move all the way up to 79th place! This was a gutsy race as he stepped up big time for the team. He ran another personal best time finishing in 16:24.8! Heller finished in one of his best times with a 17:03.2 and Arias also ran one of his best times in 17:06.7.
As the team awaited the results they feared that the places for some of the runners on the team were too far back. The Sectional was very deep this year and a great race by everyone would probably be the only way to qualify. The team ended up taking 7th place with 176 points! The Giants missed qualifying for the IHSA 3A State Meet by just 15 points. Nine teams scored under 200 points making it one of the deepest years for this Sectional.
With Amster’s amazing performance finishing in the top 10, he was a Sectional Medalist and qualified for the IHSA 3A State Cross Country Meet as an individual. This is a huge accomplishment for Nate and is a testament to all of his hard work and determination this season and throughout his 4 years on the team. After having a frustrating first half of the season, Amster really turned things around and had several strong races in a row. He was then held out of Regionals due to some knee issues and came back with his best race of his career at this Sectional Meet. Congratulations to Nate Amster and good luck at the IHSA 3A State Meet! This is now the 8th year in a row that Highland Park has had a team or individual qualify for the IHSA 3A State Meet!