Cross Country Heading Off to the Big Races


The Galena eight take a moment between races to celebate the seniors on the team. “It was so nice to have a ‘Senior Night’ recognition, said Sydney Einsweiler ’22. “I really enjoy running for the cross country team, but it’s even more enjoyable to watch my teammates run and have success.” The seniors were gifted with waterbottles and tee shirts in their senior basket. From left: Owen Murdock ’22, Konner Allendor ’23, Samantha Callahan ’23, Einsweiler ’22, Sam Eaton ’23, Gwen Hesselbacher ’23, Lily Jackman ’25 and Cael Ozee ’25.

The cross country team has been practicing all fall for their postseason meets. With conference, regionals, sectionals, and state just around the corner the team is really pushing towards their personal records (PRs).
This year the Galena Cross Country Team has co-op and joined forces with the East Dubuque team.
During the 2020-2021 school year, GHS added cross country to their sports roster because it took place during the traditional football season which was postponed to the spring.
Numbers have been low but the sport is gaining momentum.
“It’s been a tough year with our limited numbers, but our whole team has done a great job powering through it,” said Matt Foote ’22 a runner from East Dubuque High School.
“Regionals and sectionals should be fun because they are both faster courses that we have run plenty of times. I am looking forward to those meets, as well as potential qualifying for state.”
Foote’s PR for a 3 mile course was 16:54 last year. Coming off of an injury, this year he is at 17:14. The team has some tough courses coming up but the “easiest” course is at state so Foote is working hard to get there.
The Galena team has also worked hard to assemble a team. Joining this year are freshmen Cael Ozee, Lily Jackman and Eleanor Roth; junior Konner Allendorf and senior Owen Murdock.
“I joined to get in better shape,” said Allendorf. “I heard from a co worker that Galena was going to co-op with ED and I was excited to be part of the team.”
The returning team members are also passionate about their success. Samantha Callahan joined the team last year. “I really enjoy racing against other schools because I’m able to meet a lot of new friends,” she said. “Running has helped me get in the best shape of my life and boosted my self confidence.”
The IHSA Regional Race was held on Saturday, October 23 in Winnebago. Eight runners from GHS entered the race in a hope to qualify for the next weekend.
In order to qualify an individual runner must place top five at the regional race to qualify for the IHSA Sectionals.
For a team to qualify for the Sectional, five runners need to place in the top seven.
Of the eight GHS runners, four qualified to move on. Murdock ’22, Sam Eaton ’23, Samantha Callahan ’23 and Ozee will run again this weekend.
Murdock joined the team this year and has been working hard to improve his times. “I love cross country,” he said. “I regret not joining the team last year. We all get along so well. I can tell that I’ve made so much progress and I am sad for the season to end.”
The IHSA Sectional Race will be held on Saturday, October 30 at Oregon West Park, in Oregon, IL
“Running cross country and playing football at the same time is really hard,” said Eaton. “I was a fill in at the regional and didn’t expect to qualify for the next race. If Hayden Schemmel comes back to run this week, I’ll support him. But if I get to run, I’ll do my best for the team.”
The runners will take off in the morning and do their best to move on.
“I have enjoyed seeing the team go to sectionals,” said Allendorf. “I was able to see my time go from 30 minutes to around 26, which is a big improvement.”
In order to qualify for the IHSA State Meet on Nov. 6 at Detweiller Park in Peoria, runners need to place in the Top 10 to run as an individual. If the runners advance as a team, they would have to place in the Top 6.
Even if they don’t qualify for the state meet, this year has been a success for the runners.
“Being able to play frisbee at team dinners and eat bread sticks was fun,” said Ozee. “I’m a lot more motivated to run and definitely a lot more PRs are going to be broken.”
Callahan is ready to finish strong this year and excited for the possibilities of next year.
“Running is a hard sport,” said Callahan. “It is physically painful when you’re running for the finish line. But you learn to love the pain and train your mind to remember that its only 20 minutes of your life, and you can do almost anything for 20 minutes.”