Class A Boys Newcomer Of The Year: Gavin Genisio

At the end of the 2019 IHSA State Cross Country championship, Benton head coach Brent McClain had a smile on his face and spoke of a future prodigy. "Lookout for this kid Gavin [Genisio] for us next year," he said. Indeed, Genisio had taken care of business on the junior high ranks by placing second at the SIJHSAA (Southern Illinois Junior High School Athletic Association) state meet to fellow prodigy Dylon Nalley of Marion.

True to form, Genisio took off right out of the gate by winning his first three competitions that contained his experienced and talented teammate senior Reece Johnson.

In the final IHSA competition of the season at the Belleville Althoff Sectional, Genisio took second to the great Justin Mumford of Wesclin 15:19-15:56. 

It was the season's biggest meet of the year that Genisio really stood out. The Shazam Championships was a relevant outfit for the IHSA State Meet in that the best performers were ready to show off. Genisio did not waste any time in taking out flight #3 (four flights total) in a fast action 5:04 for the first mile. He was nearly ten seconds ahead of the field. It would take two miles before he was caught but the bravery paid off as Genisio placed 11th overall in 16:23 for 5k.

The future is bright for young for the young and talented Gavin Genisio!