Boys cross country guts out top 20 finish

Boys finish 19th at state with help from injured Norrick


Alex Kogen and teammates reflect on their sectionals performance | TrevianXC

Jack Soble, Sports Editor

Powering through a devastating injury to arguably their most important player, an inexperienced New Trier Boys Cross Country team still managed to finish in the top 20 at state.

At Saturday’s state meet, a group of seven runners of which only one had participated at this level of competition before, placed 19th in a difficult and exhausting race.

“Realistically, we were hoping for top 15, but we knew it would be tough,” said coach David Wisner. “Five of the guys had personal bests and improved significantly from last year. We’re not used to finishing that far back.

Next year, with three athletes returning, we’re going to do better but I can’t fault the effort and certainly they ran well, but it’s a gradual process to get to that top rung.”

Junior Graeme Lane said the team knew the race was going to get off to a fast start and runners would sprint the first quarter mile.

Lane paced the rest of the Trevians, clocking in at 15 minutes and 24 seconds.

“Most of New Trier’s runners were in the last 50 of 210 [total runners] going around the first turn,” said Lane.

Lane finished 90th overall at the meet, three seconds in front of Junior Ford Baker. The only Trevian with experience at a state cross country competition, Senior Patrick Norrick, who Lane said would have finished in the Top 10 had he not strained his piriformis muscle about a month before a meet, placed 103rd.

“I’ve had the injury myself, it’s extremely painful,” said Wisner.

“I can’t believe he ran at sectionals. We didn’t run him at conference, we didn’t run him at regionals, and we knew that he probably just had one race, and he gave us one great race, but that was really all he had left in him.”

“At first we thought I wouldn’t be able to run at state, but I decided to run to help the team. It definitely affected my race and I finished further back than I usually do,” said Norrick, who missed parts of the 2016 season with a left hip flexor injury.

“Pat ran great at sectionals and I thought that was his last race, because he was in so much pain,” said Wisner.

“He certainly deserved to run at the state meet, and that’s why I let him run, but he was not even close to 100 percent.”

Wisner’s son Luke, a junior, serves as an alternate to the Varsity team. He said that the team’s 19th place finish would have been closer to tenth had Norrick been completely healthy.

“He was important to the team along with seniors Owen Eskandari, John Izzo, and Alex Kogen. All of these guys have brought so much to the team,” he said.

It will take work this offseason and in the 2018 regular season to get NTXC back to where it needs to be, and Wisner is well aware.

“Next year what we have to do is just get our Juniors about 30 seconds faster,” said Wisner. He compared Cross-Country to swimming, in the sense that it’s necessary to train over a long period of time to perfect the art.

The team will miss seniors like Norrick. Lane put it best: “He is one of the hardest working athletes at New Trier. Patrick sacrificed his body at the sectional meet to qualify us for state by a single point. Not having him is going to mean other guys have to step up.”