Scouting Report: St. Thomas More

The St. Thomas More boys' cross country team finished fourth at least year's 1A Illinois State Cross Country Championships. The Sabers return four of their top five runners and are poised for an even better finish in 2012 led by a group of upperclassmen.Junior NIck Hess was the teams top finisher at the state meet placing 19th on the three mile course in a time of 15:28.00, two seconds shy of his personal best of 15:26.00. Senior Jacob Helfrich who suffered a torn ligament in his foot last year and placed 78th at state is back healthy, and ready to perform to his full potential. Senior Sean Kelley and junior Sam Powers were the second and third best runners for St. Thomas More at state will be competing along side Hess and Helfrich for the top four spots on the roster. Kelly has a season best of 15:54, while Powers has showcased his speed going 1:57 for 800 meters as a sophomore. 

The number five spot will be a battle between a trio of juniors Christian Wilson, Brendan Remington, and Jack Bolger. Wilson has been running with the top guys and could see the most time at number five. Remington has state meet experience finishing 168th last year, Coach David Behm says both Remington and Bolger are both looking fit and ready to improve. Look for senior Tyler Suits in his first cross country season since middle school, who has been a contributor on the track, and a quarter of incoming freshman, to give the Sabers some quality depth.

Class 1A will look a little different in 2012. The top three teams from last year all face significant changes after losing a majority of their runners to graduation. Defending state champion Mt. Zion loses all of it's starting seven, while third place Monticello loses five of their top seven including individual champion Steve Schroeder.Those losses will make room for St. Thomas More to creep up and contend for a state title. The Sabers come in as one of the top returning teams in the state along with Elmwood-Brimfield High School. St. Thomas More's first meet off the season will be at the lighthearted but competitive Cowchip meet in Chrisman.

Coach Behm Says...

"We have a few meets we key on during the season. We like to run hard at the Cowchip in Chrisman. The Cowchip In Chrisman is a pretty big season opener meet on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend. They call the cows out of a pasture and run flighted races through cowpies and a pretty hilly course. It is a festival atmosphere and there are 20 or more class a and aa teams there.I always wear an old pair of running shoes to that meet. It is a fun meet and the kids love it.We also run the Peoria Notre Dame meet at Detweiller and Amboy this year. We were invited to the Locktoberfest meet, but already had another meet. Next year we will be running in that."  

"Our team goal is to be competitive and to run at the best of our ability. If each member of our team can do this and stay healthy then we should be in contention for a podium and a possible championship. I think if we can stay healthy and develop our five, six and seven spot then we can certainly be in the hunt. That is what makes class A so much fun to coach. I have 12-13 guys to work with. It is a lot different then having 80 freshman out. I can't have them run 100 miles a week and keep the ones that don't fall apart. I have four freshman this year that with the proper training and luck can become competitive runners in a year or two.

2012 Returner's Top Times

Three Mile (XC)

St. Thomas More High School 135
  1) Nick Hess   15:26.00 5
  2) Sean Kelly   15:54.00 11
  3) Sam Powers   16:11.00 24
  4) Jacob Helfrich   16:17.00 29
  5) Brendan Remmington   16:53.00 66
  Average Time: 16:08.20 -- Total Time: 1:20:41.00 -- 1-5 Split: 1:27.00
  6) Christian Wilson   18:04.00 171
  7) George Pennacchi   18:56.00 270

Boys 3200 Meter Run (Outdoor)

9:56.65 Kelly, Sean Mahomet-Seymour Boys Invitational 2012-05-12
10:24.69 Remmington, Brendan Monticello Boys Invitational 2012-04-13
10:29.44 Helfrich, Jacob Mahomet-Seymour Boys Invitational 2012-05-12
11:54.28 Bolger, Jack Monticello Boys Invitational 2012-04-13

Boys 1600 Meter Run (Outdoor)

4:27.00 Hess, Nick Mahomet-Seymour Boys Invitational 2012-05-12
5:10.06 Pennacchi, George Monticello Boys Invitational 2012-04-13

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