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How Central’s boys cross country team made it to state: ‘It’s more than pushing yourself’

Senior+Tyler+Browning%2C+a+boys+cross+country+team+captain%2C+runs+at+the+DVC+Championship+on+Oct.+14+at+Waubonsie+Valley.+Browning+finished+the+race+in+second+place%2C+with+a+time+of+15+minutes+and+44.6+seconds.
Nina Rao
Senior Tyler Browning, a boys cross country team captain, runs at the DVC Championship on Oct. 14 at Waubonsie Valley. Browning finished the race in second place, with a time of 15 minutes and 44.6 seconds.

After placing third out of 18 schools at their IHSA Class 3A Sectional on October 28th, Central’s boys cross country team is on their way to the IHSA State Championship. 

Throughout the season, their team has proven to be able to work together to maximize their achievement and improvements, helping them reach the state final.

Coaches have advised runners to “pack” or stick together through training to push each other to do better. This has led to significant improvements, with most of the varsity team improving their personal best time by at least 30 seconds.

“It’s more than pushing yourself,” freshman Manny Najera said. “It’s about being willing to run in freezing rain, or committing to running next to a teammate who you think is faster than you, or getting over your own self doubt that will inevitably arise on race day that leads to success.”

Out of all the freshmen on the team, Najera was the only one able to secure a spot among the top seven runners at Central.

“He’s really inserted himself into varsity, which is really impressive,” Assistant coach David Ashton said. “He’s really aggressive on the course and we don’t typically see that from freshmen.”

As seniors and captains, Nick Kamp, Max Henige, Tyler Browning and Brayden Groenenboom’s jobs are not only to run. The captains are also expected to mentor younger runners and to foster personal relationships with underclassmen.

One of the most important things that we do as captains is to get feedback from other members of the team and relay that information to the coaches or to other athletes,” Browning said. “Having such a big team, it can be difficult for the coaches to have meaningful conversations with everyone, so one of our jobs is to have those conversations and take in the ideas of those athletes to make our team better.”

Out of the 138 runners at Central’s sectional, Browning finished in 13th place with a time of 15 minutes and 44.19 seconds. Junior Patrick Clune came in 28th, while freshman Manny Najera came in 32nd, helping secure Central’s spot at state. 

“I’m amazed at how much I improved, I wouldn’t have done it without my peers pushing me every workout,” Najera said, “It was really great seeing all of our hard work pay off.”

The state championship race will be held on Nov. 4 at Detweiller Park in Peoria, Illinois.

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About the Contributor
Nina Rao
Nina Rao, Staff Writer
Nina Rao is a sophomore at Naperville Central High School. This is her first year on Central Times and she has loved every second. Nina enjoys writing opinion pieces ranging from reviews on grapes with her co-writer Emma Dram, to analyzing Supreme Court cases. Outside of CT, Nina spends time dancing and participating in numerous clubs, including Speech and Math Team. Nina hopes to go into some type of career (though she has absolutely no idea what) where she can make enough money to live comfortably but still avoid taxes. Legally of course. She finds inner peace by doing daily yoga and by knowing she will have seen Taylor Swift in concert by the time she graduates from Naperville Central.
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