PEORIA – Downers Grove North senior Ryan Clevenger again showed why he is one of the best runners in the state.
On Saturday, Clevenger crossed the finish line in 14:24, good for fourth overall at the 3A state final at Detweiller Park in Peoria. Although the senior did not reach the podium, his finish was eight seconds better than his previous best time of the season, a 14:32 that he also recorded in Peoria.
Additionally, Clevenger improved upon his 2013 state final time, when he ran a 14:38 and came in seventh place.
Downers Grove North cross country coach John Sipple attributes Clevenger’s success to his dedication and work ethic.
“He has done a real nice job over his four years,” Sipple said. “It just shows what you can achieve if you put in the time, you are dedicated and you live that runners life style. Ryan he has come such a long way from his freshman year, improving his time by almost three minutes. It’s been amazing to see.”
The Trojan head coach added Clevenger’s attributes have also rubbed off on the underclassmen, and he has embodied everything that a team captain should be.
“His work ethic is definitely something to be desired,” Sipple said. “We talk a lot about the little things and how important they are – eating right, getting rest, mental preparation. He shows kids how to be great. He was a fantastic team captain and is really passionate about the sport. He cares so much about the team and the younger runners.”
As a team, the Trojans finished 13th out of 26 teams.
After coming in second in state last year, the Downers Grove North boys eyed a top-5 finish, taking an aggressive approach to Saturday’s race.
The Trojans were in seventh place at the mile marker, but did not finish strong enough and fell outside the top-10. Still, five of the seven North runners set personal best times, according
Clevenger paced the team, coming in fourth overall. Sophomore Alec Danner followed in 50th place, Zac Christensen came in 66th, Jack Diamond finished in 140th, Robert Prescott was 172nd, Joe Carter was 173rd and Tristan Jahn was 205th.