PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) – The cross country season is off and running.
Runners, coaches and fans are happy the races are back. Yet they’re a little sad the season won’t culminate with a state championship after the Illinois High School Association announced last week there will be no state finals events this fall.
Peoria’s Detweiller Park has hosted the state cross country finals for the past 50 years.
“I already told my wife I’m just going to down there the day we were supposed to have the meet and sit there anyways,” said Dunlap cross country coach Chris Friedman. “Because that’s where I’m supposed to be that day.”
But Detweiller Park won’t sit empty this fall. It will play host to a couple of smaller invitationals in September.
And the Big 12 and Mid-Illini are hoping to run their conference championship meets there. That could give some seniors a lasting memory of this iconic course.
“Conference is a good opportunity to just step back and be thankful for what you’re given,” said Notre Dame senior Irene Ehrhart. “Even though it’s not as crazy and exciting as state, it’s still a great opportunity to run there.”
And then there’s the hope the yet-to-be determined regional races that will end the season could be awarded to Detweiller in October.
“I’ve always had good times there, always a good place to go and run,” said Metamora senior Colton Barb. “You know it’s going to be a good day. Big meets, you know you’ll have good times.”
Regional sites and dates will be announced later this month.
“If this is the last time I’ll be competing there, I’ll want to lock in on the course, give it my all, try as hard as I can,” said Morton senior Brody Zobrist. “Make it a race to remember.”
A race to remember at a place to remember. Even if it’s not a state championship to remember.