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Thornwood boys running against history
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BOYS CROSS COUNTRY

Thornwood boys running against history

After a first-place team finish at last Saturday's Class 3A Andrew, the Thornwood boys cross country team has its sights set on the 3A Normal Sectional.

The Thunderbirds just might be taking a sneak peak at next week's race also, the IHSA state finals in Peoria at Detweiller Park. The Thornwood boys have not been to the state finals as a team since 1979, so it's tough to blame them for marking Nov. 3 on their calender.

For now, the Thunderbirds are ready to take care of business in Normal, and a top-five team finish there will guarantee the Thunderbirds their first trip downstate in 33 years.

"Right now, we're ranking fifth in our sectional and the top five go out," Thornwood coach Brian Evans said. "We're very excited about that. We're working tirelessly. We're training for Nov. 3."

The trip to state in 1979 is the only trip to the state finals for  Thornwood, and the team is well aware of their possible place in program history.

"This year, we're having a really outbreak season," Jesse Unzueta said. "This year we're trying to go to state. Last year, I was the No. 7 guy so this year I had a lot of pressure to be the next guy to fill the spot."

Unzueta is the No. 2 runner behind senior Reggie Brown. Brown finished second at the Andrew Regional (15:59) while Unzueta placed fourth overall. Kenneth Allen, Khalil Lightbourne, Matthew King, Wole Daramola, and Deonta Pittman make up the remainder of the boys team. The Thunderbirds endured a tough offseason regimen and have come into the 2012 season ready from day one.

"As we started the season off all our times were pretty much faster than our best times last year," Brown said. "We knew we were making progress with our summer training and workouts."

The Thornwood strategy is to run as a team and as a pack, and they will need to help each other at a tough Community Sectional if they are to succeed and move on to the state finals.

"We all want to get under 16:00," Allen said. "One of our big things is one team, one pack. When we run, we try to be as close as possible to each other. We all try to finish together and finish strong."

Whatever the outcome today, Thornwood is ready and focused to finish the 2012 season strong and possibly make history along the way.

"This is school history happening right now," Evans said, "so we're very focused and excited to see what happens down the road."

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Sports Copy Editor

Jim is a copy editor for The Times who works out of Valparaiso.He received the Indiana High School Wrestling Coaches Association’s Media Award in 1997. He can be reached at 219-548-4356 or jim.hunsley@nwi.com.

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