Boys finish 6th at Minooka Flight Invite


Alex Forster and Hayden Host both moved up in their originally intended flights because of injury and illness to teammates at the Minooka Invite. Here they are seen at the Normal West Invite.

Sam Conroy, Sports Media class

Seventeen teams raced in the Minooka Flight invitational on Sept. 18. Out of the 17 teams, Minooka boys cross country finished in 6th place with 51 points. 

Even with runners junior Zack Balzar and senior Emerson Fayman sitting out, Minooka was still able to hold their own against top teams like Lyons and Neuqua Valley.

The invitational consisted of seven varsity flight races, with one runner from each team running in each flight. After, each school will get their points added up and the team with the lowest score wins the meet. 

The race was run at Community Park in Channahon. The course is slower than most; runners average around 30 seconds to a minute higher times.

With every runner for Minooka moving up two spots, the first flight runner, senior Daniel Schalk ran a 16:01 time, finishing in 8th place. Schalk, who was originally supposed to run the 2nd flight, was moved up to the first flight because Balzer sat out. 

“They were dealing with injury and illness and it was best for them not to run,” head coach Kevin Gummerson said of Balzer and Fayman. “Emerson and Balzar are two huge parts of our lineup and that lineup change had a huge impact on everything.” 

Other runners, senior Cole Kics, senior Alex Forster, and sophomore Hayden Host all moved up two flights. All runners were able to keep up with the pack and finish within 17 minutes. All three runners finished in the top 10 of their flight.

Supposed to be the flight 7 runner for Minooka, sophomore Caleb Kies had tough competition in flight 5. He finished with a 17:48 time, and in 12th place.

Juniors Ben Resar and Ben Paugys, who expected to run the open race, ran flights 6 and 7. Paugys ran flight 6 while Resar ran flight 7. Paugys finished in 6th with a time of 17:22, with one spot away from a medal.

“Ben Resar and Ben Paugys were outstanding on that front,” Gummerson said. “We always say that the secret to success is to be ready when the opportunity presents itself. These two raced with a ton of fire and excited and I was really proud of them for jumping into that.” 

Resar left with a medal for his 5th place finish with a time of 17:14. Other medal winners were Hayden Host and Daniel Schalk.