KANKAKEE – At the start of his senior season, Herscher’s Drew Rogers had already won almost every achievement known to man since his freshman campaign, save for one – The Irish Conditioner.
On Wednesday night, he and his partner Ben Morgan managed to strike this one off the long list of feats as the dynamic duo topped the four-mile race with a time of 19 minutes and 58 seconds, or one minute and four. seconds faster than second Josiah Jones and Jeremiah Lanum of Bradley-Bourbonnais.
“It’s something we’ve been looking for a long time,” Morgan said. “…[Rogers and I] We’ve been looking for six years now to win the Irish conditioner and the Bobcat Breakout, which is a race like this, and we finally got it now in our senior years. It’s amazing to finally win it.
The Conditioner is an annual event hosted by McNamara, where runners run in pairs in a relay race type format. Runners end up having to pass the baton to their partner after running at intervals of several kilometers. It’s a completely different look than a typical cross country competition, where runners typically run individually and run a three mile course. Not to mention that most teams open the season with competition, as it is widely seen as a tune-up so runners can get a feel for the race at the start of the season.
“It’s a fun competition because the kids love to compete in this race,” Irish coach Haven Provost said. “It’s a nightmare for the people who host it, but for us it’s the first meeting of the year and it lets us know where we are before we embark on our three mile races.”
Although it was Morgan and Rogers who took the individual victory, Bradley-Bourbonnais is the team that came away victorious as a team for the boys. The Boilermakers won the overall team prize standings, finishing with 13 points. Herscher finished just two points from second, followed by Bishop McNamara who finished six points from third. Morris took fourth place with 70 points, 29 points less than Manteno who finished in fifth place.
On the girls’ side, Morris took first place with 15 team points. They were followed by Bradley-Bourbonnais (24 pts., 2nd), Chicago Christian (40 pts., 3rd), Beecher (51 pts., 4th), Herscher (55 pts., 5th) and Manteno (65 pts., 6th ).
The Boilermakers managed to secure the region’s best time on the girls’ side with an individual third place from the pair of Mady Dykstra and Madelin Mellin, who totaled a combined time of 25 minutes and 30 seconds for the race.