Dylan Jacobs leads boys cross country to 9th place state finish

Ruth Cherian, News Editor

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The Boys Cross Country at Carl Sandburg High School has demonstrated both passion and excellence this season. From beginning the year by winning third place at Peoria Central, ninth place at the State Championships to the recent Nike Cross and Foot Locker Nationals, the team has not failed to achieve its goals, as the Eagles have conquered each race with no fear.

On September 30, 2017, senior Dylan Jacobs took charge. His run of 13 minutes, 57.50 seconds at Detweiller Park, Peoria, made him the fifth fastest runner in Illinois history. In the IHSA 3A State Cross Country Championships, Jacobs placed sixth as he battled with a viral infection. With determination in the NXR Midwest Regional Championships that was held on November 12,2017, Jacobs placed fourth.

When asked about his strategy for Nationals, Jacobs said, ”The competition is great, as there are runners from across the country competing at the Nationals, and so I have to be on my ‘A’ game. There are no special preparations, as I will keep training like I have been all season, and my goal is to work on each game at a time and hope the best comes out of it.”

Coach John O’Malley said, ”Dylan’s season has been historical, as he is the only runner in the history of Illinois to break fourteen minutes for three miles before the State meet. Unfortunately, he got sick at State. Otherwise, I am confident he would have won and broken the State record. But his accomplishment since then has shown us that he is truly an all-time great runner in the history of our country.”

However, Jacobs is not the only athlete that has improved throughout the season. When asked about the overall performance of the boys cross country team, Coach O’Malley said, “The boys kept improving every week and have stepped up throughout the year. Our team is a strong young team. We had four underclassmen really contribute to the Varsity: sophomores Sam Rodriguez, Ben Giblin, Will Giblin, and freshman Griffin Lehnhardt.”

The four underclassmen have made an impact this season. These runners have a future bringing in big wins in the coming years. Ben Giblin scored in the State meet as the fifth runner, Will Giblin was the sixth runner in state, Sam Rodriguez was the ninth runner who scored the best time in school history as a sophomore, and Griffin Lehnhardt ran in the regional and varsity conference as a freshman. Also, the upperclassmen, junior Nico Calderon was the third runner, senior Xander Furmanek consistently scored for the team, and senior Robbie Siezkowski had a phenomenal run as the second runner in the state meet.

The entire cross country season has been a season of triumph. Although there were obstacles during the season, the team has worked together with strong commitment to overcome and strive for victory.

After finishing 13th at the Nike National Championship on December 2, Jacobs capped off the season with a first place finish at the Foot Locker National Championship on December 9th.

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