JCA Cross Country competes in the Brooks Memphis Twilight Classic

Memphis Cross Country

Members of the boys and girls JCA Cross Country program pose in front of the Cross Town USA sign during their trip to Tennessee this past weekend.

The boys and girls cross country team recently ran in two different states as they trained in Cross Country Town, USA (Terre Haute, IN) and raced in the Brooks Memphis Twilight Classic in Memphis, Tennessee this past weekend.

On Friday, the team got to run on an NCAA championship course at the LaVern Gibson Sports Complex. The course has held numerous NCAA championships which featured future Olympians and world champions during their college careers. After getting in a training run, the team continued the trip down to Memphis.

On Saturday, the team visited the National Civil Rights Museum in downtown Memphis. During the museum tour, the team learned about the origins of the civil rights movement and its impact to the present day. Highlights included walking through the bus where the Montgomery Bus Boycott began, hearing Dr. Martin Luther King’s words from his various speeches, and getting to see how he spent his last few moments on this earth at the Lorraine Hotel. The museum tour concluded with the impact of Dr. King’s work and how it has inspired others to work for civil rights.

After the museum, the team took a walk through Memphis and visited BB King’s Blues Club for lunch. While dining, Lisa G and Flic Pic’s Band, a live blues band, entertained the crowd with their blues renditions of Motown music. The team got a shout out from the band for representing Illinois

The Brooks Memphis Twilight Classic took place on a warm and humid night. With temperatures in the 90’s at the Mike Rose Soccer Complex, teams from Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, and Kentucky all participated. The race was unique as it was held at night under the lights with several bands and DJ’s providing entertainment for the runners and fans. There were eight total races featuring middle school, high school, and collegiate athletes.   Runners completed the 5k (3.1 mile) course with a finish in a large soccer stadium with a supportive crowd.

The varsity girls race featured 357 total runners and the Angels finished 27th as a team. The Angels were led by freshman Emma McSteen (22:40), junior Kelly Testin (22:43), junior Alyson Egizio (23:06), junior Madeline Blotnik (23:36), with juniors Shannon Quinn and Dani Scudder (24:38) rounding out the scoring for the Angels.

In the boys varsity race, 68 teams competed with a total of 386 runners over the 5k course. The boys placed 44th as a team and were led by senior Harry McSteen who placed 68th overall with a 17:57. Sophomore Tyler Hinthorn (20:45), junior Zach Corcoran (21:29), and seniors Zachary Gochee (21:37) and Jack Jones (22:07) completed the scoring for the Hillmen.

Freshman runner Grace Bannon led the Angels in the girls JV race with her 30th place finish.

Overall the trip was a success as runners gained experience racing in a large meet under tough conditions. Besides running, the student athletes got to experience and learn about a different part of the country. The Hillmen and Angels will next compete in the Joliet Invitational on September 12.

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