Cold, blustery conditions made it tough going for lithe, lean runners, so the cross country season ended on a mildly disappointing note for Leo sophomore Ja’keem Cole and senior teammate Kobe Roberts. 

Cole, Leo’s leading runner all season, placed 64th at the Harvest Christian IHSA Sectional meet in Elgin on Saturday, Oct. 31. Roberts was 75th. Their times for the three-mile course—18:41.40 for Cole, 19:07.60 for Roberts—were well off their personal bests, which spoke to the difficult conditions..

Sectional competition was the culmination of the cross country season, as COVID concerns prompted cancellation of the state meet. So reaching the sectional was a noteworthy accomplishment for both Leo runners. The previous week they had led the Lions to a sixth-place finish at the Bishop McNamara Regional in Kankakee. 

COVID concerns also resulted in a change to the format of IHSA competition. At the regional, the top five teams and top five individual finishers from non-qualifying teams moved on to the sectional. So Leo, with its sixth-place showing, fell one spot short of advancing as a team.

Cole placed 18th at the regional, covering the three-mile course in 17:23.15. Roberts was 23rd in 17:29.89. Seniors Damen Ward (32nd, 17:55.35) and Ri’chard Coleman (33rd, 17:56.38) and sophomores Tim Wilson (46th, 18:30.61) and David Hannah (65th, 19:28.52) also contributed to Leo’s sixth-place finish behind Herscher, Paxton-Buckley-Loda, Chicago Christian, Joliet Catholic and host Bishop Mac.

At the Catholic League meet in Glenview one week earlier, Cole had trouble dealing with the windy conditions and was more than 50 seconds off his regional time, placing 43rd overall in 18:14.19. But his tightly bunched teammates joined him leading Leo to a second-place showing (behind Montini) in the CCL White Division and an eighth-place finish overall, behind Loyola, St. Ignatius, Fenwick, Marmion, Brother Rice, DePaul Prep and Montini. 

Coleman (46th, 18:25.2), Ward (48th, 18:39.9), Roberts (49th, 18:41.9) and Hannah (64th, 19:43.9) rounded out the Leo contingent.

Congratulations to all the Lion runners and to first-year Coach Andre Weathers on a strong season.