Boys cross country: A record-setting day for Hersey's Methner
Lebanon's Craig Virgin ran to the boys cross country state title in 1972, crossing the finish line in 13:50.6.
It was a mark that would stand the test of time for 47 years. Until Saturday that is.
Hersey senior Josh Methner ran to his second consecutive Class 3A title, running a time of 13:49.86 over 3 miles to set an IHSA state record at Detweiller Park in Peoria.
"It meant a lot to me," said Methner, who celebrated with his teammates and coaches then later posed for a photo with Virgin
"I don't normally tear up, but I got a little teary-eyed. Very special moment after the race."
A list of Illinois' top runners had eyed the mark including Neuqua Valley's Chris Derrick in 2007, Sandburg's Lukas Verzbicas in 2010, and Sandburg's Tom Graves in 1977, but none were able to dip under the legendary time.
Hersey coach Kevin Young summed up Methner run in one word.
"Special," said Young.
"The names he overcame is just ridiculous. He just believed. It's a special, special day; one that he will never forget."
Methner set the tone early, creating separation from the field and cruising through the first mile in 4:30. He continued his assault in the second mile which set him up for a big finish.
"I gave it my all in the last mile," said Methner, who spotted his brother with 800 meters remaining. "At that point I just put my head down and really just grinded the rest of the way. It all came together fortunately."
Methner was never really challenged for the lead with Bolingbrook senior Tyler Cushing (14:16), Naperville North senior Jake Allen (14:21), Huntley senior Ian Geisler (14:24), and Lincoln-Way Central senior Jared Kreis (14:30) rounding out the top five.
Methner and Young had spoke about the record previously, but the main goal was a second state title.
"He's always had the record in the back of his head, but goal number one was to win state," said Young. "We talked the last couple days about the record. He is a kid that has never backed away from a challenge. You put a number in his head and he's like 'bring it on.' "
Methner, who will be running for Notre Dame next year, was able to share a few moments with Virgin following the race.
"I talked to him right after I finished and also at the awards," said Methner. "He had nothing but kind words to say."
Methner, who also won the 3,200 meter race at last spring' state track meet, is still coming to terms with the record time.
"I smiled when I crossed the finish line," he said. "I know it sounds cliché, but all the hard work really did pay off today. I couldn't have done it without the support of my coaches and teammates.
"I had a lot of people tell me how awesome this is. I am still grasping how cool this really is."
And after 47 long years there is a new mark.
St. Charles East nipped defending Class 3A state champion Wheaton Warrenville South for the team title 64-69. York earned a third-place trophy, edging Sandburg 153-156.
Hersey, the Mid-Suburban League champion, took seventh place with 221 points. Senior Max Svienty (15:03) took 50th place, followed by senior Quinn Rudy (63rd) and senior Colin Safford (69th).
Barrington took 15th place. Senior Paddy Furlong (14:57) paced the Broncos with a 43rd-place finish, followed by sophomore Joey Furlong (79th place).
Senior Patrick Natindim (15:38) took 31st place to lead St. Viator to a 24th team finish in Class 2A.