XC stumbles in Sectional meet

Running in a cross country meet for South, Senior Peter Westerfield, an all-conference runner, stays focused.

John Adkisson, co-Sports Editor

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After capping off the 2012 season at the Sectional meet Oct. 24, the South men’s Cross Country team finished the season 5-2. According to head coach Kurt Hasenstein, it was an overall good season for the young squad.

The season started off with the team medaling in the 15 and 20 team invites at Crystal Lake, Wauconda and Warren. However, Hasenstein feels the meets got harder later on.

“The invites we went to at the beginning of the year we traditionally do well in, and the invites later in the year are a little bit harder,” Hasenstein said. “If you look at how the kids placed compared to how they did last year, I think we continued to improve.”

Hasenstein considers one of the main goals for the team every year to be to place in the top half of the conference. South achieved this, placing third in their CSL conference meet, which made Hasenstein very proud.

Senior Peter Westerfield and juniors David O’Gara and Casey Henricksen received all-conference honors. According to Hasenstein, they have been the foundation of the team this season, providing balance in the top runners.

These runners set up a fifth place finish at the ten-team Regional meet. To Hasenstein, this set of performances was admirable and showed the team’s true potential.

“The conference performance [was good…] going from fourth to third this year and closing the gap on Maine South and New Trier, who are ahead of us,” Hasenstein said. “In our regional performance last year we were seventh and this year we were fifth, and next year we return eight of our top 10 [runners].”

These runners include O’Gara, Henricksen, juniors Charlie Castelli and David Cohn, and sophomore Alex Jackman. Despite this depth, Hasenstein considers the Sectional meet to be a slight disappointment, as South finished 17th out of 22 teams and failed to qualify anyone for the State meet.

“The competition [at Sectionals] is very strong; in [Sectionals] you throw in more teams from the western suburbs and it becomes very difficult,” Hasenstein said. “I think we could have finished a little stronger but we didn’t.”

Overall, Hasenstein is very pleased with the hard work his team has put in throughout the season and up to Sectionals, and acknowledged how hard it is to do what they do.

“We talked about how proud I was of their efforts, not only that day but the whole season and leading up through [Sectionals],” Hasenstein said. “Like a whole lot of athletes here these kids are putting a lot of time into the offseason; it is a lot easier to sleep in in July than get up and go for a seven or eight mile run. It takes a special breed and I’m very proud of the guys for the time they’ve put in.”

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