Have you ever wondered what the fastest times ever ran at Detweiller Park on the historic November morning for each grade are? Well if you had you are in the right place. Our Boys Distance Editor Carson Vittorio put some time in and compiled a list of the top 10 times ran at the history-making course for each grade. You will be surprised by some of the names on this list we promise you.
-We all know that Craig Virgin is still the best of all-time when it comes to cross country in Illinois. Consider the fact that he went out like a madman in the first mile under 4:30 en route to a crushing 13:50.6. There has always been some speculation on the actual length of the famed course. The course was re-routed a bit in the back loop known as the "Bermuda Triangle" that made it more like a rectangle or maybe even a rhombus- depending on your imagination. For the 2007 championship, Neuqua Valley's Chris Derrick went out and attacked the first two miles on the redesigned. As he hit the second mile in 9:18, it was evident that Virgin's historical record was in danger. As it turned out, the massive crowd support along the final stretch was not quite good enough to overpass Virgin and Derrick had to settle for a sizzling 13:52 officially. One wonders if the course was not altered would Derrick had gone under 13:50. Who knows... history was made regardless.
The Verzbicas Chase-
Lukas Verzbicas was one of a kind in his own right. Originally from Lithuania, having coming abroad as a young lad, it did not take long the all-time comparisons to flow in favor of Verzbicas. As a sophomore, he challenged the record with the fastest ever effort through two-miles in 9:06! He would slow up big time during the final mile, but still ran a robust 14:07 for the win.
Verzbicas' ultimate last chase began on November 6, 2010, when he blasted out fast in the first mile that was just a few ticks past 4:30. York's Jack Driggs followed in close pursuit but those in the "know" knew he was just an irritant and backing off would be wise if the Dukes hoped to win a team title.
The race was all but over at two miles as Verzbicas hit the mark in 9:07. The time was so fast that he could have stopped and been crowned outdoor track and field 3200m virtual champion. Lukas was still on record pace with just a half mile to go. We did not know it at the time but something wild and weird would occur. As Verzbicas hit the final straight, the massive crowd was on its collective feet. The lead race vehicle truck was still in very close proximity to Verzbicas and with the course being dry there was dust and fumes that stirred around. Verzbicas motored home in 13:54- 22 seconds ahead of Driggs. Almost immediately upon his post-race interview, Verzbicas expressed his displeasure at not getting the all-time record. "If the fumes of the [lead race] truck were not blowing in my face the final quarter-mile, I think I would have gotten the record," Verzbicas sharply struck out toward the reporters. His effort remains the #3 effort in state meet history.