It was 9 p.m., 21 teams were at the starting line and stadium lights lit the grassy cross-country course. A group of guys from Mahomet-Seymour High School were among the individuals toeing the line to race the Detweiller at Dark Invitational. The boys had entered to try to win matching Brooks uniforms and sweats—the prize given to the first three finishing teams.
“While I think the world of my runners, I really didn’t think they stood a chance,” said their high school Coach Neal Garrison. “Because Brooks was offering such a big prize (shorts, a uniform tank top, pants and a jacket) I thought this would draw in so many great teams that we wouldn’t stand a chance of placing in the top three teams.” However, immediately after the race Coach Garrison began receiving text messages and voicemails that his team had won the high school division and the prize.
Coach Garrison stated that because of limited resources his team was usually “the only team at the sectional meet that didn’t have matching sweats. Our boys wore whatever clothes that their parents bought for them.” However, his team’s budget never had enough funds to purchase matching uniforms.
“After the boys received the Brooks uniforms they seemed to take more of a sense of pride in being a team. They definitely looked more like a unified team than a bunch of guys showing up to a race that didn’t have any affiliation with each other,” said Garrison.
“We received the sweats about mid-season. We told the boys that if they won the East Peoria Invitational for the first time in school history that they got to wear the sweats the next week at school. Despite never winning the meet before, the boys got motivated by getting the chance to wear the uniforms. They dug down and ran incredible races. They won the major invitational and made sure that I gave them the sweats as soon as we got back to school from the invitational.
“We traditionally have had seven good runners, but not a lot of guys running on the top seven runners’ heels. However, Brooks donated eight uniform sets. So every meet I had guys running their guts out to be in the top eight so they could wear the sweat top around school all week. Soon my number eight and nine runners were so busy in races battling to get the chance to wear the sweats that they ran personal bests by a minute and started to pass the top seven runners mid-race. So the sweats really helped drive them to much better times. In our final race of the regular season, we had our number eight, nine, ten, and eleven runners all within a few seconds of our number seven,” said Garrison.
“While I am most proud of these boys’ character, I am impressed at their overall season as they set so many records throughout the season… I think the sweats helped pull an already tight team to an even tighter team,” said Garrison.
Congratulations to the Mahomet-Seymour High School Cross-Country team on your fantastic season! We hope you continue to Run Happy!