PEORIA – Some walls are just built too sturdy to be run through.
A series of impassable pains wreaked havoc on Dixon’s cross countryprogram Saturday morning at the 2A state cross country meet atDetweiller Park in Peoria.
The Dukes, who entered with top-three aspirations, placed 10th with 284 points, 155 more than third-place Yorkville’s 129. Chicago Jones (85) ran away with the title, and
Belvidere North (126) was second, snapping the Blue Thunder’s streak of three titles in a row.
“I don’t think we finished anywhere near where we wanted to be,” Dixon coach Evan Thorpe said. “But I’m not surprised. I knew what this race was going to be. Class 2A cross country has just taken off. That being said, we just have to regroup and get
refocused for track.”
The Duchesses’ individual entries, Brittany Schwarz (58th, 18:28) and Katie Pitman (74th, 18:38), also came away underwhelmed.
“It wasn’t my best race,” Pitman said. “I just got really bad cramps down my sides.”
That didn’t compare to the perfect storm that descended on Schwarz, who was 20th at the 1-mile mark and 25th at the midway point. But her body flat-out betrayed her over the final 400 meters, during which runners flew by Schwarz, who somehow managed not to drop before hitting the chute.
“I think I just went out too fast, and I was perfectly fine until the last 400 or so,” Schwarz said. “I just cramped up really bad and had a hard time finishing.”
“What a tough thing to watch, for her to go through, and for the people who really care about her to watch,” Thorpe said. “She was in perfect position for a top-25 finish. She was passing, passing, passing, and she’s got a great finish. All of a sudden, I couldn’t find her.”
The Dixon coaches have tried and tried again to figure out the asthma that only seems to get worse with time.
“She’s so tough, but the pieces aren’t together right now,” Thorpe said. “This is the worst it’s been in 4 years. There’s something there. We need to see what we can do, so she can have a great track season and move on to college.”
The Dukes’ lone senior, Roy Hummel (74th, 15:38), admitted he went out too fast. While he PR’d, even his lucky “Dukes” socks, a gift at the 2010 state meet, couldn’t help him keep up with teammates Cody Sondgeroth (60th, 15:30) and Skylar Mitchell (61st, 15:31), who passed several runners on the homestretch.
To Hummel’s credit, he took a pair of runners down, too, including Yorkville’s Shawn O’Malley.
“Coming down the homestretch, I saw people in red and knew Yorkville was red, so I had to go at ’em,” Hummel said. “I was happy with the finish, yeah. But the start? Not too much. I went out quicker than I would’ve liked. But you’ve just got to go with the race. It’s not how I wanted to finish my senior year. But I’m here, so I can’t be too mad.”
Mitchell, who also PR’d, lamented a slow start.
“I feel like I should’ve come out quicker, but I didn’t want to get carried away with myself,” Mitchell said. “You can never be satisfied. If you get a PR, be happy for a few minutes, but know you’ve just gotta go out harder the next time.”
Austin Trevino was the fifth Duke in the chute in 135th place (16:07). The Dukes’ unquestioned No. 1 runner, Simon Thorpe (21st, 14:58), hung with or near the lead pack for most of the race and was 10th at the 2½-mile mark. But his dad didn’t like what he saw.
“I didn’t like the look on his face; he was really red-faced,” Coach Thorpe said. “I thought, ‘Man, I don’t know if he’s going to be able to hold on.’ But he put himself in position for a great finish.”
Thorpe, a junior, said he wouldn’t have changed a thing about his start. He simply hit a wall. And he refused to cite a hip flexor that’s hampered him since the Sterling Invite on Oct. 6 as an excuse.
“I came out where I thought I should be, and I put myself in position to do something big today,” he said. “But it didn’t work out that way. I don’t know what happened. I just couldn’t push.”