Girls cross cross country excited to compete at state


Jocelyn Host and Ella McCollom are two of the seven Minooka girls running in the state finals.

The girls cross country team has had an excellent postseason, coming in first place at the Southwest Prairie Conference, regional, and sectional. They’re hoping for more at the IHSA state finals tomorrow.

The cross country sectional meet was held at Bob Mays Park, in Quincy, on Oct. 30, and the girls team came in first place. It was a tight battle for Minooka and Yorkville with Minooka edging them out 51 to 56. 

“We knew we were in for a hard battle but we pulled it off and won,” head coach Kevin Gummerson said. “If you leave a sectional meet with a plaque that’s great. The girls were excited, but I saw a similar mentality they had with the boys, they weren’t satisfied so that makes me excited about what they can do.”

Coach Gummerson said they didn’t have their best race but he wasn’t disappointed 

 “We had two good meets in a row, and we have to work on some things but we’re gonna improve on that and have a heck of a meet this weekend,” coach Gummerson said.

The cross country team as a whole had to deal with the effects of the weather at the sectional meet because it was raining the past week at Bob Mays Park.

“Going downhill especially, it was a very hilly course so going down the hill there were also turns so it was muddy there and you just had to be cautious,” Ella McCollom, junior, said.

IHSA requirements state that there can only be seven runners per team in a meet. The seven runners who ran at sectionals were Ella Mcollom, Audrey Boles, Gabby Kics, Jocelyn Host, Taya Gummerson, Cassie Fuhrman, and Kathryn Cichon. All of them were able to place below 35th place with 141 people in the race overall.

In previous years, the girls team came in first at sectionals in 2015 and 2016. From 2017 to 2019, they came in second place, and, in 2020, they came in fourth place.

Tomorrow the cross country team will be heading to Detweiller Park in Peoria for the state meet. The girls race will start at 1 p.m. and the boys race will start at 2 p.m.

“We went down to Detweiller earlier this year in September. This is a course that a lot of these kids have experience on. The course itself is very flat and very fast,” coach Gummerson said.

Last year, the state final meet did not happen because of concerns due to COVID-19, but in 2019, the girls came in 9th place as a whole and with Audrey Boles as their top finisher at 33rd place with a time of 17:39.

“The environment is just really different, it’s very exciting to be there and almost everyone runs a season best on the course, “junior Gabby Kics said. ”It’s exciting knowing that I’ll get the chance to run a faster time.”

There will be 28 teams participating in the state final meet, and some of those teams will prove to be tough against Minooka.

“There’s a lot of teams this season that will be tough for us, Yorkville, Elmhurst York, and then there’s a bunch of teams among them. Mount Prospect, Naperville North, Hinsdale Central and Downers Grove South. On paper there’s about six teams battling for one of those top three trophies,” coach Gummerson said.

After the state final meet, awards will be handed out. There will be three team trophies and 25 individuals named all-state.