Boys Cross Country: Talent, dedication hallmarks for Lincoln-Way Central’s Chris Kaminski
By Tim Tierney For Sun-Times Media October 27, 2013 6:18PM
Chris Kaminski, of Lincoln-Way Central | Gary Middendorf/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 1, 2013 6:48AM
Ask Chris Kaminski to talk about his high school cross country success, and it doesn’t take long for the Lincoln-Way Central senior to change course.
Without prompting from a coach or teammate, Kaminski quickly switched from talking about his past and present races after the Oct. 5 Lockport Invitational.
“I’m where I want to be, around 15 minutes,’’ he said. “The team is looking great, though. I’m more impressed with where the team is.’’
Lincoln-Way Central has been impressive this season, winning several invitationals and scoring a perfect 15 to easily claim the SouthWest Suburban Red title. The driving force of the Knights’ successful pack has been Kaminski.
He covered the course at the conference meet in a winning time of 15 minutes, 25 seconds. Teammates Ben Zibricky, Joey Nelson, Tommy Kolacki, Andrew Robbins, Jackson Waters and Ben Alvarado finished 2 through 7, right behind Kaminski.
“Chris has really progressed to being a great leader,’’ Central coach John Taylor said. “It’s challenging to fill that role with captain responsibilities, but he’s come a long way. He’s working hard at having the guys come together as a unit.’’
Kaminski played on the basketball team and ran his first two years at Central before he made a decision about his athletic future.
“Sophomore year of high school was when I really realized I wanted to be a runner,’’ he said.
Kaminski is among the area’s top returnees from the 2012 Class 3A state meet. He finished 79th last season in 15:17, a time he expects to beat before the end of the cross country season.
Part of his confidence comes from having put more time into summer training. Kaminski said he was “definitely’’ more dedicated to it this year, doing a lot more mileage and harder workouts.
“Mentally I’ve gotten a lot tougher, and aerobically,’’ said Kaminski, whose goal is to run under 14:40.
Next for Central is the Class 3A Edwardsville Sectional, where the top five teams will advance to the Nov. 9 state meet in Peoria. The Knights were 23rd out of 25 squads at last year’s state final. They won’t be satisfied with that this season.
One of Central’s meet titles came Sept. 21 at the Edwardsville Invitational, which should pay physical and psychological dividends at the sectional.
“I told the guys it was an opportunity to get tougher, to improve,’’ Taylor said of the Edwardsville meet. “This is what they were going to have to do at sectional.’’
Before Kaminski goes off to college — possibly DePaul, Butler, Eastern Illinois or Western State in Colorado — he knows what he wants to do downstate at Detweiller Park.
“I definitely want to break the top 25,’’ he said. “Hopefully, I can go in the top 10.’’