Waubonsie Valley Boys Cross Country preformed well all season, showing up even with stiff competition in their own conference. The Warriors are subject of our Team Profile, presented by Molly Maid of Aurora Naperville Area.
In the Naperville area it can be difficult for some teams to break through and surpass more proven programs with longstanding traditions of excellence. In the sport of boys cross country, it has been borderline impossible to knock Neuqua Valley off the throne as the area’s top team as the Wildcats have won three state championships and eight state trophies since 2007. Then you have programs like Naperville North, who won the 3A state title in 2008 and have six sectional championships over that same stretch of time. Not to mention Naperville Central who has qualified for state as a team in six of the past seven seasons.
Meanwhile, heading into last fall, Waubonsie Valley boys cross country had not qualified for state as a team since 2007 and had produced only four All-State runners in the school’s 40+ year history. But the 2019 Warriors were able to change that narrative. At the sectional meet last fall, Waubonise finished 4th at the St. Charles East sectional, finishing ahead of both Naperville Central and Neuqua Valley. The next week at Detweiler Park, Zach Benziger became the team’s first All-State runner since 2010 after finishing 24th.
With Benziger, Ethan Marshall, and Aidan Oster all returning from last year’s state qualifying team, WV entered 2020 with high expectations.
Despite the unique circumstances this season, the Warriors are once again performing like a state qualifying group. Junior Angel Solis has joined the other three varsity returners near the top of the pack. Senior Joey Sweeney, junior Andres Perez and junior Jacob Tukker are also running well. This month, Waubonsie finished in 4th at the prestigious Twilight invitational, third place at the DVC meet behind only Neuqua Valley and Naperville North, and finished in third once again at the Oswego East regional.
While there will be no state meet to qualify for this year, Waubonsie Valley boys cross country should bring back another strong team in 2021, as only Zach Benziger and Joey Sweeney will have been lost to graduation. For the time being, expect Waubonsie to finish the season strong, as the Warriors continues their ascent to the top tier of running programs.
For Naperville Sports Weekly, I’m Justin Cornwell.