UNION TWP. | The surname O’Shea has been commonly heard around Wheeler for years now, and many great athletes have come out of the school with that last name.
This year is no different, as junior Kelly O’Shea and freshman Joel O’Shea are the stars of the Wheeler cross country teams.
In Tuesday's Greater South Shore Conference meet at Wheeler, both O’Sheas dominated their respective meets, as Joel won the boys meet in 16 minutes, 34 seconds, while Kelly took the girls title in 19:49. Wheeler’s girls team won the championship 18 points while the boys followed suit with 19 points.
Joel O’Shea had a goal of setting a personal record. He didn’t accomplish that, but still ran a very strong race. Alex Nader, Nick Cinko, Austin Greiner and James Mills all finished third through sixth to cap the Bearcats’ scoring.
“I felt good,” Joel O’Shea said. “I wanted to get sub-17 (minutes). The first race here I got 17:14 and the second race I got 17:33.”
Wheeler coach Louie Guillen had an idea of what he was going to get from Joel O’Shea coming into this season, but running this well has been a pleasant benefit to the team.
“Joel has been running well all year,” Guillen said. “He’s got a great career ahead of him.”
On the girls side, Kelly O’Shea captured her third consecutive conference championship.
“This was one of my better races,” she said. “I was tired at the two-mile, but I just pushed through it and just finished it out.”
Guillen was pleased with the way both of his teams performed overall. Behind Kelly O’Shea, Alex Mendoza (second place), Carey Ganz (fourth), Liz Mitten (fifth) and Nicole Skopelja (sixth) capped the scoring for the Bearcats.
“It was pretty exciting, but with the way the guys and girls have been training, it wasn’t really a surprise,” Guillen said. “Our big goal has always been getting out of sectionals, and this is a step towards that. It gives us some confidence going on, and hopefully that gives us a shot.”
Danielle Smar finished third for Calumet, while Bishop Noll’s Salvador Cordova finished second in the boys race. Calumet’s girls team placed second (59 points) while Bishop Noll finished second for the boys (71).