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Green goes for the gold: A cross country recap

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Senior Charlie Kern runs at Boys Class 34 meet in East Peoria.

Senior Charlie Kern runs at Boys Class 34 meet in East Peoria.

Senior Charlie Kern runs at Boys Class 34 meet in East Peoria.

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The 2017 boys cross country season is scheduled to end on Sat., Nov. 4 at the IHSA Silver Division State Championship at Detweiller Park in Peoria, IL. The team achieved great triumphs and pushed themselves forward to overcome losses and other setbacks, including injuries and sickness. The team was able to bounce back and prove that York is the reigning king of cross country, especially with a staggering 28 state championships under their belt.

 

Whether it’s at Hinsdale Central, Proviso West, Downers Grove North or the Palatine Invitational, hundreds of boys from York have dedicated themselves to the sport of running. Running between 45-60 miles a week, divided into six groups during a four month season. Charlie Kern, Sr. ensures that his runners will be able to compete on any given day with his rigorous, yet effective, practices.

 

“The hardest part of being a coach is trying to get everyone to run their best on the day of a meet,” said Mr. Kern, head coach of the cross country team. “It’s about convincing kids to work hard, keeping the athletes healthy and avoiding illness.”

 

Another important part of the season involves runners setting their own personal records, or PRs. 80 percent of the runners this season achieved a new personal best, showing that the runners of York are constantly improving and able to put up a fight with even the toughest of competition.

 

“There were a large number of athletes that had PRs this season,” said Benjamin Sharko, assistant coach. “Everyone had health issues this season, and tried to stay balanced with school and sleep.”

 

Mr. Kern plans to get his top seven runners, currently Charlie Kern Jr., Ethan Kern, Jackson Bode, Sean Macgregor, John Rosak, Danny Honquest, TJ Stevenson and back-up Mark Morgan, to go for the gold during the state championship. The Peoria meet is where the best of the best from over 36 schools compete in a three mile competition to prove that their school is the greatest in the division. It’s a mad dash to the finish line that takes peak physical condition, a hopeful mentality, and a lot of guts to even compete in this grueling race. With first place victories in the freshman, sophomore and JV conferences, it is sure to give the boys the morale boost they need to push themselves harder than ever before when they run at Peoria.

 

Whether the boys win the meet or not, Mr. Kern is already prepping for the next season. The main things he wants to focus on for future seasons of cross country are continued improvement, willingness to work hard and getting people to work out. Mr. Kern, with the help of assistant coaches Reed Sundberg, Benjamin Sharko, Steve Boyd, Jim Hedman and Matt Mimlitz, is able to help individual groups improve and impart their vast knowledge, techniques and experiences in cross country to new generations. Their ultimate goal is to further improve the well-knit community that is cross country.

 

The bonds that are formed during practices and meets are unbreakable, and the boys are practically brothers. No matter how fast, slow, big, or small, these guys have so much camaraderie, it puts any other team to shame. By showing respect to each other and getting friends and teammates to push themselves further than they could ever do on their own, the boys cross country is more than just a bunch of boys running– it’s a family, something that they value very much.

 

When asked for predictions for underdogs, Mr. Kern, Mr. Sharko and others said that the ones “hungriest” for the top seven spots are Daniel Klish, Ethan Kern and Brian Pratt, three runners who have had past experience as varsity runners. Other upcoming competitors for spots include Johnny Brennan, Michael Moriarty, Thomas Braun, Colin Hill, Sam Ayers, Bill Yasdick and Johnny Sciabica.

 

Even though the cross season might be over for most, the awards night on Nov. 5 will let the boys reminiscence about the season and the moments they will never forget.

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