RB Cross Country Places 4th in State in Preseason Ranking


Paul Proteau

RB varsity cross country team after a race.

Ciaran Mathews, Editor

Cross Country at RB has continuously been on a roll.  Last year the team had one of their best seasons yet when they took home second place in the Metro Suburban Conference. Unfortunately due to a positive COVID-19 test, the team had to miss both regionals and sectionals. But they were still able to participate in the Shazam Cross Country Club championships, which filled in for the IHSA state championship that didn’t take place because of COVID-19 concerns, the team finished in 11th place.

This year the team is looking to do even better, with new coach Jack Brady, who has 33 years of experience coaching at Glenbard East. And 4 athletes who made it to state for track and field, along with a preseason ranking of 4th in the 2A division of state, expectations are high.

Junior Zack Gaynor has been a member of the team since his freshman year and has qualified for state both freshman and sophomore year, this year he’s hoping both him and his team can improve beat records they never thought possible.

“Our team has drastically improved from last year, most of our team has already had a personal record and were still early in the season,” Gaynor said.

Throughout the summer athletes practiced individually to prepare for the season and as early as midway through the summer their coach began a running camp every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday to prepare the team.

Sophomore Hayden Marrs was one of those who worked through the summer to ensure an even better season than his freshman year, where he qualified for State.

“As a team we ran together throughout the second half of summer, but a lot of our guys train in the off-season regardless, whether it’s through competing in track, running on our own time, swimming, lifting or basically anything to stay active and competition ready,” Marrs said.

RB’s preseason ranking of 4th in State was one of the highest they’ve ever received and many athletes were excited by the challenge the new ranking posed.

“It fired myself and a lot of the guys up. For me, it was the first time I realized we have a chance to succeed on a team level, and it has motivated us to work and compete together as a unit,” said Marrs.

Other athletes weren’t as surprised by the ranking and saw it as something that the team deserved after all the hard work they put in last season.

“When I saw the ranking for the first time I was not that surprised because I think that we deserve it and we worked really hard as a team last year to put ourselves in a good position for success this year,” Gaynor said.

Even with the team looking better than they ever have before, athletes stressed that key things needed to compete well in state are to work as a team and stay healthy. For a team that had to miss important events last year due to COVID-19, this is especially important.

“Personally my goal is to stay healthy and see what I can do for this team, some people might say it’s taboo to talk about season-long expectations, but I know what we are capable of and I know what we are working towards-A podium finish at state, if not more,” Marrs said.

With only three events left in the season, the team is more focused on ending their season on a good note, rather than their state rankings. They know that no matter what they have a quality team that can compete at, but what they really need to focus on is closing out their season with a few more wins to tack on their impressive record.

“Honestly, the rankings don’t mean much to me. It’s nice to have a benchmark, but we do best when we have nothing to lose and something to prove. We just go out and run, that’s what we do,” Marrs said.

Regardless of how this season ends for RB’s cross country team, they are confident that they have put together one of their best teams and this season could be one for the record books.