After graduating the state champion and state runner-up from its title teams, the Yorkville boys' cross country team needed a strong top five pack bring home hardware last weekend in Peoria.
Despite not having an individual finisher in the top 25, Yorkville put together an impressive 35-second split within its top five to capture third place (150) behind Grayslake Central (54) and Mahomet-Seymour (121) last Saturday at Detweiller Park. Grayslake Central junior Jack Aho was the individual champion with a time of 14:25.
"The last couple weeks our split has been under 20 seconds, and that's really what we needed this wee and we came close to it," Yorkville head coach Chris Muth said. "I think if we were able to achieve that 20-second split, we would have been runners-up and I take responsibility for that because I know the kids gave 100 percent. They wanted it more than anything. It's a great accomplishment to get a trophy and I know they're proud of that and I'm proud of them for that."
With Yorkville senior Trevor Wills battling through illness, sophomore Zack Price stepped up for his biggest race of the season, leading the Foxes to the finish line with a time of 15:11 to place 28th overall. Wills was right on his heels, clocking in at 15:19 to take 32nd while senior Cody Hornyak (15:23) was 36th, junior Alexx Nauman (15:41) was 58th and senior Jake Firrantello (15:46) placed 65th as the fifth runner. Sophomore Patrick Black (15:59) and senior Thor Hester (16:01) placed 95th and 99th, respectively.
"Zack is an outstanding young man. He's not really aware of pressure and that's what makes him great and just someone I know I can count on," Muth said. "Trevor ran a really gutsy race because we found out later he had a 101 temperature, but it was his team and he still wanted to lead them and he did a really nice job."
Wills and Firrantello complete their high school careers as part of three state trophy teams while Price, Nauman and Hornyak were also part of last year's state championship team.
"I'm really proud of the boys. They don't get enough credit; they tend to get overshadowed by the girls a lot of the time, but they come into the season losing two studs in the (Luke and Jake) Hofferts and they really came into their own at the end of the season, winning regionals and sectionals," Muth said. "I don't think people realize how hard it is to get a trophy, and this senior class specifically has gotten four trophies in four years and that's coming after a 25-plus year drought. It's a very special group of guys who have worked their butts off to really make a name for themselves."