Boys cross country finishes season

Junior breaks two school records


In the last 100 meters in the varsity 3-mile race, junior John Ihrke (right) outruns his competitor at the conference meet on Oct. 15. Ihrke finished seventh with a time of 15:38. Photo by Jiya Sheth.

After another runner stepped on the back of his right foot, junior John Ihrke’s shoe fell off early in his first race of the season. Ihrke’s contact came next. As it began to slip out of his eye, he had no choice but to take it out and throw it on the ground. 

“I can’t take time to put my shoe back on because then I’d be out of the running,” said Ihrke. “And so I ran, and I [made] it through like two and a half laps with one shoe on. Then it’s nearing the end of the race … I feel my contact shift in my eye and it’s like out. So I take it out [and] throw it on the ground.”

With only one contact and one shoe, Ihrke placed 11th in his first 3-mile race of the season at the Lancer Invitational with a time of 15:49. This season, Ihrke broke the Glenbrook North record for the fastest 2-mile time trial with a time of 10:23. He also broke the school’s record for GBN’s 3-mile course with a time of 15:43. 

  At the Peoria Invitational, Ihrke had a 3-mile time of 15:26, making him the fourth fastest 3-mile cross country runner at GBN since the coaches began keeping records in 2005, head coach William Race said.

Ihrke is one of eight captains that organize team spirit days, lead dynamic stretching during practice and plan additional team workouts.

Ihrke motivates the team to push themselves, especially in preparation for meets and races, sophomore Hayato Majoros said. 

“If it’s a rough day for me or something’s going on, then you look to the captains, like [Ihrke], for that push to get you going in that race,” Majoros said.  

Ihrke, along with the other captains and coaches, gives the runners advice on who to stick with during the race and how to deal with the terrain of the track, Majoros said.

According to senior Alan Sung, competing with Ihrke encouraged him to try to beat his personal record.

According to assistant coach David Vincent, the team is more competitive this year with seven to 15 boys competing for seven varsity spots at any given meet. 

“Those sorts of rivalries on the team or that healthy competition really fuels better overall results for the team,” said Vincent. “So it’s good to see them pushing each other.”

The team also has a new tradition this year called “wolf pack,” which is done before the team does interval training.

“The coach will send us off and then I, or sometimes someone else, will yell, ‘Wolf pack,’” said Ihrke. “Then we’ll all start barking.” 

The team started the tradition after seeing another team do a similar ritual at a meet last year and thinking it was cool, Ihrke said.

The team placed fifth at the conference meet. Ihrke ran the 3-mile race in 15:38 and placed seventh out of 84 runners. At regionals, the team placed fifth and qualified for sectionals. At sectionals, the team placed 18th. 

“I think it’s a really welcoming culture,” said Ihrke. “Everyone’s really excited. Every race there’s a lot of cheering from the sidelines,regardless of if it’s freshmen orvarsity.”