Midwest Team Regionals Recap and Highlights

A historic day at the LaVern Gibson championship cross country course saw records fall and fantastic team performances as teams from around the midwest met in Terre Haute, Indiana for the Midwest Team regional meet.

Competing teams throughout the long racing day (11 total races) came from five different states. Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, and Missouri were all represented by either teams or individuals and many of those states' best athletes were there to prove that they were the best in the Midwest.

The championship races were actually delayed by an hour because of a traffic accident on the highway. After a full day of open races and the hour long delay, the championship races were ready to kickoff.

Boys Championship Race

The boys team race featured many top national teams that had already competed against each other this season. The top two teams were both from Illinois as the team from Hinsdale Central, who had placed 8th at the Valley Twilight meet in October, ended up as Midwest Team Champions. The second-place team was Plainfield South who was 3rd at the Twilight meet a month ago. Both teams avenged their defeats against the top team in Indiana from Carmel. The Carmel team was without one of their top scorers for the meet, but still placed 5th after having two athletes finish in the top 10. The two remaining top 5 teams were the squads from Downers Grove North from Illinois and Rock Bridge from Missouri who had also placed 7th in the Twilight meet last month.

In the individual race, the boy's leaders set a blistering pace down the front stretch of the LaVern Gibson course coming through the first kilometer in an unworldly 2:40 time. A large group remained together through the mile mark which the leaders came through right around 4:30 setting this up to be one of the fastest races ever run at this course.

By the 3k point of the race the lead pack shrunk down to six athletes as they were still rolling through at an unheard-of pace as all 6 hit the 3k part of the course around 8:46. These boys were well on pace to go under the course record of 14:48 ran by former Indiana State champion Futsum Zeinasellassie. At that point in the race, it seemed certain that that record would go down.

When the leaders passed the 4k mark, two athletes started to take control of the race, Hunter Jones from Michigan and Connor Burns from Missouri were pulling ahead with 500 meters to go. As they came through the "Start Line" arch, a landmark of 400 meters to go in the race, there was no doubt that they would break the course record.

At the end of the day, Jones from Michigan pulled away for the victory in a (insert your own favorite adjective here) time of 14:21.8 to absolutely demolish the old course record. Burns held on for 2nd in 14:27.3, and three other athletes went under the old mark of 14:48 as Benne Anderson from Michigan, Connor Ackley from Ohio, and Kole Mathison from Indiana all were 14:47 or faster. 

Girls Championship Race

The girls team race also featured a few nationally ranked teams from the most recent MileSplit 50 list. The girls team championship was won by the 6th ranked team Mt. Prospect from Illinois who dominated with 52 points placing 4 girls in the top 13 overall in the meet. The second time this season Mt. Prospect has won at LaVern Gibson after also dominating the Valley Twilight meet. Just like the boys race the second place team was also from the state of Illinois as York High School scored 73 points in a great team race. Davidson from Ohio, Holland West from Michigan and Mason from Ohio rounded out the top 5 team places in the girls championship race.

In the individual race, a group of 5 girls quickly took to the front of the race. The group of Helen Sachs, Lily Cridge, Sophia Kennedy, Grace Schager, and Tatum David had formed and it was clear the winner would come from this group as they came through the mile mark in under 5:15 already setting a pace the field could not keep up with.

Similarly to the boys race, two athletes started to separate from the lead pack and the individual title race was on. Sachs and Schager pulled away just past the two mile and would run side by side for almost the rest of the meet.

When Sachs and Schager came down the homestretch there was thought that once again we would see a record fall. After pulling away in the last 100 meters it was Sachs of Holland West that ran 16:47.9 to run the second best high school time on this course and also good enough for the meet record. Schager placed 2nd just a few second behind in 16:50.3. David, Cridge and Kennedy held serve and rounded out the top 5 individuals that were leading the race from the beginning to end. 

The top five individuals and top 2 teams from each of the championship race qualified to run at the team nationals meet in Portland, Oregon. 

It was another great weekend of racing here in the Midwest as we saw records fall and flying performances from some of the nation's best. A meet at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course never disappoints and this year's Midwest team regionals lived up to all the hype!