Boys Cross Country Earns Repeat Trip to IHSA State

CHICAGO – Waubonsie Valley boys cross country finished in 6th place at the IHSA Sectionals at Lincoln Park in Chicago on Saturday. The Warriors finished with 148 points behind Downers Grove North, Neuqua Valley, Naperville North, Sandburg and Hinsdale Central.

Junior Angel Solis led the Warriors with a 22nd-place finish in 15:36.72. Junior Jacob Tukker followed in 28th in 15:41.78.

Senior Zach Benziger (15:46.95), junior Ethan Marshall (15:48.67) and junior Aiden Oster (15:49.08) finished in the top 40.

“There’s a lot of things to say about this group,” said head coach Kevin Rafferty. “The first is their dedication to their sport and each other. They ran when they weren’t allowed to communicate with me at all in the spring. They ran when they could communicate with me electronically but couldn’t run with anybody else. They ran in groups of 10, then groups of 25, and finally groups of 50.”

“They held each other accountable to getting out to run and communicating with the rest of the team. This is a team that had an end goal of getting better in place as a core of their daily routine and they worked through innumerable bumps in the road to stay on that path.”

Rafferty also spoke about how selfless the team was this year. “Nobody was provincial about their position. On race day, we rotated all sorts of guys through as our top guy or our 5th scorer and nobody was upset about what spot they occupied as long as they gave it their best.”

Normally, Waubonsie Valley’s finish would solidify a trip to the IHSA State Finals. Unfortunately, due to COVID restrictions, there will be no Finals competition this year. However, the Warriors have a talented core of juniors that will be returning for the 2021 season.

It is the second straight season that boys cross country qualified for State and their 11th bid in program history (’93, ’96, ’01-’07, ’19).