I was at the Niles West Sectional. It was a story of jubilation and pain.
Lane and Niles West were the most jubilant. They both advanced to state after going into the meet as underdogs. Lane became the first CPS boys cross country team to advance to state in class 3A since the elimination of the automatic Public League berth. Niles West rarely if ever makes it to state in boys cross country.
The three teams that had the gloomiest looks on their faces was Niles North, St. Ignatius, and Maine South.
Niles North had one of the best teams it had had in a while. But #1 man Sebhat runs a terrible race, running 16 flat when he was expected to run at least 15:20's. Carlitos Rangel also had a terrible race. He finished as Niles North #1 man in regionals finishing 6th overall in regionals. Yet as sectionals he had a terrible race and finished in 61st place as Niles North 4th man.
St. Ignatius Jack Keelan ran a good race at 15:31. Most years that will qualify. Not this year. He missed out individual state qualifier by one place. Keelan went from an all-state contender to not even running the state meet.
The most dejected team was Maine South. They went from being tied at 5th and going downstate to being eliminated by a technicality.
After they found out, I saw the looks on their face. It was faces of dejection, not bitterness at Lane.
If it had been switched and Lane did not go by one point, I am sure Lane fans would be thinking exactly like Maine South.
This is what makes High School sports so crazy. In the same day you have elation in Lane and Niles West qualifying for state. Then you see the pain in Maine South, Keelan, and Niles North.
I feel the pain and elation at the same time.