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Morton represented by two cross country runners at the state meet

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Morton represented by two cross country runners at the state meet

Guillermo and Paola after qualifying for the state meet.

Guillermo and Paola after qualifying for the state meet.

Guillermo and Paola after qualifying for the state meet.

Guillermo and Paola after qualifying for the state meet.

Paola Gonzalez, Reporter

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Morton had a very successful 2018 Cross Country season with two state qualifiers. Guillermo Ibarra placed 25th in state, and Paola Gonzalez became the first girl in school history in over 25 years to qualify.  

The Boys and Girls Cross Country team ran the sectional meet on October 27, 2018 where their performance would determine whether they would advance and qualify for the state meet. After two very successful races, Guillermo Ibarra placed 3rd to individually qualify for the state final, and Paola Gonzalez placed 28th to also individually qualify for the state final. Paola also became the first girl in school history to qualify for the state meet in over 25 years. One week later, the qualifiers, their coaches and a few of their teammates drove down to Peoria, Illinois, where they competed in the state meet with over 200 runners from across the state of Illinois.  Guillermo Ibarra ended in 25th place, earning himself an all-state title.  

“It’s amazing to see all the athletes, dedication, and support. It’s a very different experience and it’s really cool to see,” athletic director Ms.Ebsen said. 

There’s no doubt that the state meet was a great experience for all spectators, but especially for those racing in it; they experienced a sense of competition they have never experienced in any other meet before.  

“I never imagined I’d make it this far. But, I’m so grateful for this experience. It’s an amazing way to end my high school cross country career. The race was really tough, but I got to race against the best runners in the state. Getting here has made all the hard work and sacrifices worth it,” senior state qualifier Paola Gonzalez said.  

Qualifying for the state meet is no piece of cake, qualifying requires months and even years of hard work and dedication along with many sacrifices that must be made.  

“I think about all the work they’ve put in and all the time they had to give up to dedicate themselves to their sport; to see it all pay off at the state meet is such an accomplishment and so fun to witness,” head coach of the girls cross country team Mr. Dan Bulster said. 

Both head coaches can agree on the tremendous work that must be put into this sport; because of that, there are very few who have qualified and placed for the state meet.  

“I think it’s a great experience and its one of the hardest sports to medal in because its only one race. If something goes wrong, it’s over. Guillermo was the 5th all-stater in school history. That’s quite an accomplishment,” head coach of the boys cross country team Mr.Bloom said. 

Guillermo’s perseverance and hard work have allowed him to be successful in the running community, and he is committed to continuing to improve.  

“It was hard getting here. I had to work really hard. I could’ve done better, but I’m not disappointed because I got all-state,” junior state qualifier Guillermo Ibarra said.  

The cross country state meet has not only motivated those who raced, but also those who stood on the sidelines. This experience opened up new goals and aspirations for other runners on the team who also work hard and hope to one day also qualify for the cross country state final.  

“I’m really proud. They’re two people who I’ve always looked up to. Mostly Paola because I’ve known her all my years of running, and every time I race I know I can count on her to motivate me and push me to become a better runner. Seeing them run today has opened up my goals on what I hope to accomplish someday,” junior cross country team member Diana Almazan said.  

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Morton represented by two cross country runners at the state meet