Boys XC captains stir team’s commitment to excellence

With a stellar set of team captains and a more normal looking season this year, boys cross country is ready to do everything they can to make their runs count. 

At the first meet of the year against Hinsdale Central, the Kits placed 15th out of 19 teams in the 3-mile race. Although disappointing for the varsity squad, Henry O’Mally––a competitor in the 3-mile sophomore race––ended up ranking first individually. 

Head coach Don Michelin Jr. reflects on the noticeable changes in team dynamic that have occurred from last year’s season to their current one.

“The whole attitude has changed completely,” Michelin says. “My captains are Solomon Greene, Dylan Eyler and Paul Garcia, and they’re just tremendous at stirring up the group, getting the group motivated and initiating the after-practice sessions. They’re taking total reigns of the program and steering it into a direction that even I, as the coach, wouldn’t have been able to do.”

Last season, the Kits finished third in the Central Suburban League South with a 3-2 record. Now, with this new leadership in place and a better outlook than ever, Michelin believes the team has the capacity to take perennial top-tier programs Maine South and, possibly, New Trier down once and for all. 

“We’ve been battling with Maine South and New Trier, and I think this year we can definitely overcome Maine South,” he affirms. “Beating New Trier is something that we want to do, that we’re capable of doing, but I think it’s going to be a year out—depending on if we can get back into the right mindset we were in prior to the pandemic.”

While they might not have performed to the best of their abilities, the Kits did have some triumphs last season—namely when senior Essay Tolosa won regionals, finished seventh at sectionals and even made it all the way to state. 

However, it’s going to take more than one standout runner to make this season a success. In a sport where so much of the competition is a mental battle, sometimes all that takes for runners is a little camaraderie.

“In the past, it’s been me trying to motivate the team and what happens is one or two guys will rise up from what I do, but they’re not really able to motivate anyone else,” says Coach Michelin This year, we’re looking like an actual team on paper, so I’m excited for this season.” 

As the Kits continue to practice and motivate each other, one thing becomes clear: New Trier and Maine South are in for stiff competition.