Jacob Gebhardt made big strides from hills and dale to the track (Lazar photo)
High school sports are 360 in nature- a full circle if you will. Most long distance runners will begin their quest during the early months of summer training for cross country. The three months of training that kids put in are an attempt to run in the state championship in November. For the few lucky ones, they will go on and compete in Nike Cross Nationals, Foot Locker or some other post-season meet. But what has been lost in the sauce is the entire school calendar which runs through the winter indoor campaign and finally back around to the all important outdoor track and field season.We wanted to chronicle the very beginning and end. Obviously athletes get lazy after cross country or hurt. Some play other sports in the spring like lacrosse, soccer, volleyball, etc.
Below are the 2016 top 25 Class 2A Boys cross country all-state placers. We chronicled indoor and outdoor track seasons as appropriate.
1. Jack Aho
(Sr., Grayslake Central) 14:12- Competed in 3A and produced a solid year despite pundits who asked for more. The triplet placed 2nd in the 3200m final in a season best 9:07.12; won the Illinois Top Times 1600m (4:15.48); 10th in state 1600m; ran IL#2 mile (4:09.52) in finishing 3rd at the St. Louis Festival of Miles; competed in the prestigious Brooks PR Mile (4:09.58)
2. Matt Aho
(Sr., Grayslake (Central) 14:27- Competed in 3A; triplet brother of Jack Aho who was mired in a tough winter and spring that did not produce a state appearance. Aho ran just 4:40 and 9:28.61 on the track.
3. Jack Franklin
(Sr., Normal University) 14:30- Tough track season. Did not advance to state in 1600 and running just 4:27.66; finished 16th in the 3200 (9:54.06); team tied for state championship with Freeport.
4. Matthew Richtman
(Jr., Maple Park Kaneland) 14:36- Improved mightily from 2016 to 2017 starting with a runner-up finish in the 3200m running a personal best 9:22.98; won Illinois Top Times 3200m; placed 7th in the state 1600m; clocked a PB 4:17.92 in the 1600m (enroute in the mile) at the Magis Miles.
5. Cole Barkocy
(Sr., Crystal Lake Central) 14:40- Did not contest the 1600 on record as he did in 2016; ran 9:19.10 as a season best in the 3200m in winning the Fox Valley Conference; placed 10th in the 3A state 3200m championship.
6. Andrew Walmer
(Sr., Mahomet-Seymour) 14:40- Contested only a handful of races during the track season which included a 3200m best 9:51.08
7. Jacob Gebhardt
(Jr., Sterling) 14:41- Powerful track season; placed 2nd in the state 1600m; clocked 9:18.11 for 3200m; biggest race of his career as a 4:10.09 mile (4:08.64 for 1600m converted would have ranked #4 in the state)
8. Ben Flowers
(Sr., Jersey) 14:43- Ran to a 5th place finish in the state 1600m (4:20.87 season best); 9:47.11 for 3200m
9. Jacob Oury (Sr., Hampshire)- 14:49- One of the fastest flat speedster distance runners in the Illinois qualifying for state in the 3A state meet 400m. Oury clocked 50.30 for a personal best.
10. Jake Gillum
(Sr., Metamora) 14:50- Produced one of the most surprising yet tremendous seasons for a senior. Gillum did the incredible by taking on the 800/1600m double. Gillum ran IL#3 1:53.74 800m to win the state championship; put the finishing touches on the track game with a winning state championship in 4:14.28
11. Jared Schuckman
(Jr., Normal (University) 14:53- 1:57.29 was a start to a sterling season. Schuckman ran on the state championship 4x800 relay that produced a classification best 7:48.13; ran IL#9 1600m 4:13.06 to win the Macomb Sectional; placed third in the state 1600m
12. Eli Minsky
(Jr., Grayslake Central) 14:54- Competed in 3A; ran 2:00.44/4:24.57/9:56.25i; did not compete in the state meet
13. Riley Fortune
(Jr., Mahomet-Seymour) 14:54- Focused hard in the middle distance realm: 1:56.91 PB, anchored 4th place 4x800 relay
14. Ethan Price
(Sr., Mascoutah) 14:54- Rough track season with 4:45.08/9:55.95; did not advance to the state meet
15. Filip Pajak
(Sr., Crystal Lake Prairie Ridge) 14:55- Key highlight was a 13th place finish in the 3A 3200m state final; season best 9:30.30 at the Dekalb Sectional
16. Mateo Nunez
(Sr., Riverside-Brookfield) 14:57- Ran a career best 4:22.64 at the 3A Lyons Twp Sectional
18. Mathias Powell
(So., Mahomet-Seymour) 14:59- Placed 4th in the state 3200m; ran 9:30.19 as a personal best
19. Ryan Hodge
(Jr., Mahomet-Seymour) 15:00- Ran a leg on the state 4x800 relay; qualified for state in the 1600; ran 4:23.37 PB
20. Adam Gilbreath-Glaub
(Fr., Metamora) 15:01- One of the top freshman middle-distance runners in IL. Gilbreath-Glaub rated #4 in the 1600m (4:30.50) and 800m (2:06.65); showed tremendous strength and power in the 3200m by running an IL freshman #3 9:29.36; placed 5th in the state for 3200m
21. Brian Butcher
(Sr., Mahomet-Seymour) 15:03- Ran personal best 9:22.94 at the Distance Night in Palatine; slipped to 21st at state in the 3200m
22. Jeremy Wallace
(Sr., Lake Villa (Lakes) Sr 15:04- Competed in 3A; Ran personal best 800m in 2:00.00; competed in the 1600m at Fremd Sectional; ran 9:37.02 for 3200m in finishing 4th at the Prospect Wanner Invitational
23. Weston Sterchi
(Sr., Crystal Lake Central) 15:04- Finished 11th in the 3A 3200m (9:32.39); clocked personal best 9:26.81 at the Huntley Sectional
24. Ben Craw
(Sr., Mahomet-Seymour) 15:06- Ran a leg on his team's 4x800 relay that placed 4th in the state; logged a personal best 1:57.49 in the 800m
25. Nick Brouch
(Sr., Wheaton St. Francis) 15:08- Ran just 10:24.58 and 4:39.67 outdoors; did not advance to the state meet