Sequoit cross country takes on state

The Sequoits advance to the IHSA State finals.

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Julie Webb

The start of the 2022 IHSA State girls cross country race.

On Saturday, Nov. 5, the Antioch girls cross country team along with Carter Webb and Carson Lanners took on the muddy course of Detweiller Park to participate in the IHSA Class 2A State XC Championships.

Leading up to the state finals, Antioch’s athletes departed ACHS Thursday morning. They had high hopes of getting to the course around two o’clock. When they arrived at Detweiller Park in Peoria, IL, the coaches had an informational meeting and the runners were instructed to do a run-through of the course. Unfortunately, the course was closed due to the large amounts of rain that Peoria had gotten the days prior. The Sequoits were unable to do a walk-through of the course but were confident having run a meet at Detweiller earlier this season. After traveling all day the Sequoits got some rest in order to succeed at the most important meet of the season.

Coming into this meet the girls cross country team along with the two individual boy athletes had high expectations for their performances. Detweiller Park is known to be a very flat course making it one of the fastest courses the Sequoits have run on this year. With that being said, the poor weather Peoria was experiencing turned Detweiller park into a mud pit.

Sophomore Piper Ipsen led the Sequoit girls cross country team to 27th place overall at the state championships. Ispen came into this meet with high expectations of getting a personal record and placing in the top 70. Although these expectations were not exactly met, Ispen still had a great showing placing 98th out of 234 very talented runners.

“Overall I didn’t place where I was supposed to in the race, however, we always have next year to improve,” Ispen said.

Ispen was not the only one having this mindset after the state meet had concluded. Along with Ispen, the boys and girls head cross country coach, Chris Bailey, experienced a similar eagerness to see what the future will hold for the Sequoit cross country program.

“I think anytime you look at any level of athletics, that being high school level or collegiate level and you can look at the professional level, anytime someone whether it’s an individual or a team gets to the highest stage to perform on you don’t always see success the first time around,” Coach Bailey said. “It’s usually the second or third time where you start to find that success.”

Much like her coach, sophomore Rosie Gonzalez believes that having the experience of participating in the state meet will benefit the Sequoit athletes for the seasons to come. Gonzalez may not have reached her goal of placing top 100, however, she thinks that with just the experience of the state championships the Sequoits will be even more successful next season.

“I think that next year, we’re going to go into the season with the same mindset if not even more determined to do better,” Gonzalez said. “I think everybody was able to learn a lot from this experience.”

Junior Carter Webb was one of the two individual boy athletes that made it to state to represent the Sequoits. Webb placed 67th out of over 230 male runners. Although Webb had hoped to crack the top 50, he had an amazing season that ended at the state finals with athletes of great caliber.

Although the Sequoits did not come away from this state meet with the outcome they had hoped for, this experience will only prepare them for the future. These athletes were determined all season to make it to the state finals and by doing so the girls cross country team made history. The girls team is now one of two teams in ACHS history to make it to the state finals in cross country. Coach Bailey believes that this was a very beneficial experience for all of his athletes that participated in the state finals and hopes to see great success in the future.