JACKSONVILLE — The 2023 IHSA Cross Country State qualifying Taylorville Tornadoes pose with Coach after their incredible performance on Saturday, Oct. 28. From left to right: Jesse Sloan, Jack Chesser, Owen Morgan, Head Coach Steve Walters, Liam Bettis, Brenton Good, Tyler Corpin, Logan Halligan and Ella Goodman.
Lucas Domonousky Breeze-Courier Sports Editor
JACKSONVILLE — Taylorville cross country made program history in Jacksonville on Saturday, Oct. 28. The Tornado boys became the first team to make it to State with their sixth place Sectional finish. This wasn’t all the success though, senior Ella Goodman found a way to move on individually for the second time in her High School career. The IHSA Class 2A Sectional race featured some of the best athletes in the state of Illinois which only makes these accomplishments that much more impressive.
JACKSONVILLE — Taylorville senior, Ella Goodman, continues to push through mile two of the IHSA Sectional cross country meet at Jacksonville CommunityPark. Goodman finished the race in 31st place with a time of 18:16.60 which was enough to get her a spot at the IHSA State Cross Country meet next Saturday, Nov. 4.
Lucas Domonousky Breeze-Courier Photo
According to Head Coach Steve Walters, the girls team as a whole made it a point to be as relaxed and focused as they could. THS girls frontrunner Ella Goodman was as poised as could be in her State qualifying performance. The senior finished the three mile race in 18:16.60 which gave her a thirty-first place finish.
“Great great race.” Coach Walters says. “She knew it was going to be tough. She knew the girls she had to beat. It actually got down to the wire with her and a couple Urbana girls. She was able to out-sprint some of them at the end. Great day for her.”
Following behind was Hallie Smith who has been as consistent as anyone this season. The senior finished with a time of 21:02.60 (118th) in her final race as a Tornado. Juniors Sydney Lowis (121st; 21:37.20) and Sydnie Vocks (124th; 21:46.40) left all of themselves at Jacksonville Community Park as they finished as Taylorville’s three and four. Senior Grayce Goodroe capped off her High School career with a 132nd, 22:24.50 performance. Sophomore Gabby Mireles was right behind her in 133rd with a time of 22:31. Senior Lydia Heberling’s run resulted in a 137th place finish with a time of 25:19.70.
“The rest of the girls ran fantastic.” Walters continues. “They were coming here just thinking this was going to be their relaxed day and I said that was fine. We made it to Sectionals, I wanted them to have fun. Not only did they do that, they also finished out the season with a real good race today. One thing about the girls, what they’ve been doing is picking each other up when one of them kinda has a bad day. There’s always one of them to jump in. These seven today have been pretty consistent the whole year. We’ve done some trading around with them but all in all just a great season and a great group of girls to run.”
FLEX ON ‘EM
JACKSONVILLE — Senior Owen Morgan gets pumped after finding out the Taylorville boys team, as well as THS Girls individual Ella Goodman, qualified for the 2023 IHSA State XC meet. The Tornadoes boys’ front runner, Morgan, finished in fourth overall place with a time of 14:33.40.
Lucas Domonousky / Breeze-Courier Photo
Hype for this boys team started high and has been steadily raising with every passing meet. With hype comes expectations. With expectations comes the possibility of either failing to meet, reaching or exceeding the anticipation. Lead by their group of tight knit seniors and dominant underclassmen, this Taylorville boys team needs to worry no more about where they are headed because the answer is State.
“We we’re going to find the shirts of the teams we needed to beat,.” THS senior Owen Morgan states. “and we did it. I thought we had a really good pack today. It’s the best feeling ever. First time in Taylorville history. We made it to State as a team.”
The State qualifying order for the Tornado boys team. Owen Morgan lead the way finishing in fourth place overall with a time of 14:33.40. Following behind was Liam Bettis (35th; 15:19.10), Jack Chesser (51st; 15:36.00), Jesse Sloan (52nd; 15:36.90), Logan Halligan (60th; 15:41.30), Tyler Corpin (85th; 16:06.50) and Brenton Good (116; 16:43.50).
“Great day continuing today.” Coach Walters comments. “Weather is what these guys like. They train all year round. Some of these guys have been together seven years and I knew these were the guys. We knew the teams were there. A little switch around today. Jack Chesser really came on there at the end and made a big difference for our finish. So again, how proud I am. These guys work their tails off all summer long and all winter long. So I’m just so pleased. I knew this was a group. Just had to see it happen.”
Morgan leave us a few words centered around Coach as well as individual and team training.
“He (Coach Walters) was very supportive.” Owen says. “He let us do extra if we needed it. He was there. I really liked the training he did the year. Probably the best he’s ever done and it shows. We’re the best team in Taylorville history. I’m so proud of everyone. We’ve put in the work. We did everything we needed to do. I’ve got to say, I love them all. I love all thirteen guys on this team. Remember when I said ‘Watch out for Taylorville. The boys were coming.’? We did it.”
The IHSA State Cross Country meet will be held at Detweiller Park in Peoria on Saturday, Nov. 4. The race will be three miles long with the girls running at 11:00 p.m. and the boys’ following at 12:00 p.m.