Boys Cross Country By, Dominic DeMauro Sports Editor 

The Boys Cross Country team is one of Shepard’s most successful programs, but is still sometimes overlooked by many students and faculty. Head coach Troy Walker has been leading the team for 23 years. Walker’s squad this year has continued the tradition of success. 

They upset Marist and won regionals on Saturday, October 26. The team also just recently won conference on Saturday, October 19. Reavis, Richards, and Eisenhower being their closest competitors. 

Two runners finished within the top 10 at regionals. Evan Jamrozy finished second with a time of 15:19 and Jackson Sima finished sixth with a time of 16:07. James Greene finished 11 with a time of 16:17, Miguel Mora finished 13 with a time of 16:21, Omar Montiel finished 16 with a time of 16:31, Santana Garcia finished 18 with a time of 16:34, and Marcin Czaja finished 29 with a time of 17:30. 

Walker stated, “We were very excited to upset Marist. They really took it to us earlier this year at the 78-team Peoria Notre Dame Invitational but the last few weeks our training has been really coming around and we have been running better and better. We knew we had a chance and after that meet back in Peoria we really didn’t feel that way but we knew we could do better than we did that day and the boys really responded. Everyone of them responded with great races, it was a pretty thing to witness. The boys executed our race strategy perfectly, at the mile mark we were definitely not winning but we know we typically run stronger second halves so we stayed patient which is hard on a fast course like this one. We had several late passes that were instrumental in us winning by only five points.” 

At conference Evan Jamrozy took first with a time of 15:29 to repeat last the Individual Conference Champion. Jackson Sima took fourth with a time of 16:29 to also be All-Conference-this, is the third straight year Jackson was All Conference. Santana Garcia took 11 with a time of 16:53, Miguel Mora took 14 with a time of 17:08, James Greene took 15 with a time of 17:10, Omar Montiel took 16 with a time of 17:22, and Marcin Czaja took 21 with a time of 17:44. 

Walker said, “It was very rewarding for the boys to come away with the conference championship. They have put in the work but as a team we haven’t raced as well as we had hoped this year so it was a great time of year to run our best race of the year to this point. I am hoping they can continue to improve so we can try to upset Marist for a Regional Championship this Saturday.” 

The team has sectionals Saturday, November 2. Walker said, “We run at the Hinsdale Central Sectional at Katherine Legge Park, this will be one of the toughest sectionals so it will be very competitive. We have never placed better than eight places at a Sectional so that will be our goal but we are probably ranked about 10 or 11 in the sectional if I am being honest. Evan Jamrozy has a great shot to qualify as an individual so that will be something we are watching closely. If our number 2 runner Jackson Sima has a great race he could have an outside shot of qualifying too.” 

The team doesn’t have an actual record but have placed well at some invitationals. At Plainfield they took fourth out of 17 teams, at Peoria they took 35 out of 74 teams. 

The Cross Country team has 36 runners. Walker stated, “Evan Jamrozy is our clear number one runner while two-four runners are much tighter and I could see some shuffling amongst them the last few weeks of the season but they are Jackson Sima , James Greene & Miguel Mora. There is a battle to round out our top seven and that includes Josh Kingzette, Santana Garcia, Omar Montiel, Marcin Czaja, and Max Szykowny.” 

Walker said, “Every practice is different because we have to work so many different energy systems within the human body. The long run is the most important practice every week, we usually try to travel to a forest preserve in order to get in our long run. We are usually on the track a couple times a week to work on speed and to work on our aerobic system. The first two thirds of the season we will do hill workouts every other week as well. Recovery is also a huge component to training.” 

Each practice varies on the level of a runner, some like the Freshman might run 3-4 miles while Varsity run 10 or more miles. 

Coach Walker loves to coach the Cross Country team, he has such a passion, he stated that he loves the sport of cross country so much but all of the periphery things (paperwork, grade checks, discipline checks, attendance issues etc.) are exhausting. 

He states that he loves being out their with the boys at practice, on our trips, and meets but that makes up such a small portion of coaching unfortunately. 

The clubs fastest times at the moment belong to Evan Jamrozy who has run the three mile in just 15:03 minutes. Walker and the team hope that at Regionals all seven runners run faster than that time however. 

Walker stated, “Jamrozy has a good chance to breach that record at Sectionals and hopefully State. Caleb Washintong has the fastest time in the history of out school at 14:41, Evan would have a shot at beating that record as well but it would be a huge challenge.”