MANLIUS — Ryan Taylor is coach Dale Donner’s kind of cross country runner. For all of his 14 years as head coach of the Bureau Valley cross country program, Donner has repeated the mantra that cross country is a team sport. As he reflected on his season, which ended with a 49th-place finish at the state meet, one of Taylor’s first thoughts was getting the team down to Detweiller Park next year.
“As a team, I was hoping that we would be down here, and I thought we would,” he said when asked to reflect on his season. “I know that we had some injuries this season. As an individual, my times haven’t been there, but I’m feeling good and think I can come back next year and run better times.”
The Storm qualified for sectionals by placing fourth at the Rock Falls regional with 106 points. Rock Island Alleman (38) was the regional champion.
At the Oregon Sectional, the Storm (223) came in ninth with 37 points behind Ottawa Marquette for the fifth and final qualifying berth.
Donner believes that Taylor has the ability to help get a team down to state next year.
“He’s a good kid,” Donner said. “He’s got the mental make-up. He’ll be a great leader for us next year. He leads by example, and he will be a vocal leader too. We’ve just got to get some more kids out with him and we should have a heck of a team next year.”
Taylor, the 2012 BCR Runner of the Year, understands the discipline that it takes to be successful in a sport such as cross country, and is willing to make the sacrifices that it will take to continue to improve on the foundation of success that he has built over his first three years .
“It takes a lot of time,” he said of the commitment a runner needs to make. “We practice six days a week, sometimes seven days a week, and you’re putting in 50-100 miles a week if you’re a top-guy.”
As far as relaxing now that the season is over, Taylor doesn’t see that as an option.
“I plan on running from now until it starts to be maybe negative two degrees, then I’ll take maybe two weeks off,” he said when asked about his offseason workouts. “I don’t really want to take any time off before track.”