That feeling of winning a title is something that only one runner at a time can feel
A year ago at this time the name Drew Rogers barely rung a bell on the cross country scene. The then-sophomore from Herscher HS got an honorable mention as someone to watch for a possible top-five state championship finish. The talk of Peoria was all about Dawson Smith of Rock Falls and how he would dominate the field. Instead, it was Rogers who broke away from Smith with a mile to go and won in a shocking 14:30 for three-miles.
2020 has been a different year as we all know. Despite no full track and field season, Rogers was able to put a few marks on his resume. He dropped a state-best 4:17.68 PB full mile at the Illinois Meet of Champions. It would be a perfect setup for the cross country.
Drew Rogers entered the fall campaign as the #1 runner in the pre-season Premium Boys 50 Rankings.
The regular season was a complete breeze as Rogers won all of his meets in controlling fashion. Sandwiched in between two sub-14:30 efforts were big wins over good friend and standout Ryder James of PBL. Those battles appeared to solidify Rogers and the Class A ranks in general. Winning back to back regional and sectional titles were awesome, to say the least.
The IHSA did not sponsor a state championship this year because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Fortunately, there would be an outlet. The Shazam Championships filled in admirably as 22 of the top 25 runners based on times were in attendance. In addition, four of the top ten premium runners were from this class. It shows the amount of depth and talent that Rogers had to face during his journey.
Though it seemed like Rogers was a man among boys coming into Chillicothe, his competitors did not hand the title without a fight. Kudos to Justin Mumford (Wesclin HS), Miles Sheppard (West Hancock HS), and a few others who kept the race interesting. Rogers would go on to win in 15:34 (5K)- the second-fastest time of the weekend but he still maintained his status as the top overall distance runner in the state to close out the season.