Returning runners race to qualify for State meet

Micha Gachpar, Editor-at-Large

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Seniors Kyle Foley, Michael Ocasek, Michael Lee and junior Dana Sullivan (left to right) run a 3-mile race at Maine East on Sept. 26. The team finished second out of the four teams there. Photo by Nora Smith

After qualifying for state in the 4×800-meter run during last year’s track season, junior Dana Sullivan and seniors Michael Ocasek, Ari Bosse and Kyle Foley are hoping to have the same success during their cross country season. Although Glenbrook North has not sent a runner to the state meet since 2014, many of this year’s runners believe they can change that.

“We’re hoping we can score higher at the more competitive meets with more renowned schools,” said Bosse. “We want to be up with the best for not only track, but cross country as well.”

Ocasek said some of his personal goals include winning All-Conference for the second year in a row and getting his 3-mile time below 15:30. Sullivan said he is working toward getting his time below 15:25, and Bosse said while his goal is to get his time down to 16:30, he also wants to set himself up to be in the best position for the upcoming track season. According to Bosse, state runners usually have a 3-mile time of around 15:00.

Bill Race, boys cross country head coach, said this year’s team is full of returning varsity runners.

“We have a senior-heavy group [with] a lot of returning varsity runners that you would expect to do well and build from seasons prior to this one,” Race said.

The team’s first meet was held on Sept. 9 at Lake Park High School. Senior Michael Lee finished 26th out of 120 runners with a time of 16:09, putting him first out of GBN’s runners. Bosse said many of the senior runners were unable to run in this meet because of ACT testing, and it affected the team’s score as they came in 11th place out of 17 schools.

At their next meet, Lee, Ocasek and Sullivan were GBN’s top three runners. Lee finished in first with a time of 16:20, Ocasek finished with a time of 16:32 and Sullivan finished with a time of 16:45.

Race said one of the things that makes this team unique is how close they have become throughout their years of running together.

“When you’re running hard and fast, [it] doesn’t always feel good, so you have to be a certain type to kind of enjoy that pain,” said Race. “I think because of the understanding they all share with each other [and] the hard work they put in, it creates a natural bonding.”

Bosse said his teammates often bond during their long runs together, which makes their runs a lot more enjoyable.

“I can’t tell you how much I enjoy going on a seven to seven and a half mile run with my team, and we talk the entire time,” said Bosse. “That’s when we get to know each other best.” 

Sullivan said the close relationships between the team members are part of what helps them succeed. If he needs to push himself to work harder to reach his goals, his teammates and coaches help him do so and are there every step of the way.

“This is one of our best years and one of our best shots [at state],” said Sullivan. “We dream, we have so many goals and we think that we can complete some of our goals.”

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Returning runners race to qualify for State meet