Parker Junior High School’s boys and girls cross country teams had a strong showing at the IESA Cross-Country 2020 Class 3A Sectional meet in Country Club Hills, including a team championship.
In addition to the championship, Parker’s girls team came away from the sectional meet with several individual honors, while the boys showed strong competition with a second place team finish and an individual sectional champion, Jamir Ratliff. Additionally, Mia Caporale finished with an undefeated regular and conference season and her second place finish at the sectional meet directly impacted the team championship.
“This has been one of my most enjoyable seasons as a coach,” said rookie coach Joe Butler. “The experience for me was a tremendous source of pride. Just being part of this amazing tradition at Parker, to be welcomed in and to be supported to succeed; it was about so much more than just the result of the season.”
Parker Cross Country was only one of a few extra curricular activities to take place this fall, and while the season didn’t end in typical fashion with the state cross country meet, fellow rookie coach Sadé Gant said it played an important role in bringing some normalcy to an abnormal school year.
“COVID-19 really changed how the students were able to return to cross country,” said Gant. “Keeping a positive mindset, even though these times are challenging, really helped us stay focused. This ultimately led to our ability to stay dedicated to the craft."
Other notable achievements at the sectional meet include Caporale (7th grade), Adia Douglas (8th grade) and Maeve McGrory (8th grade) finishing in the top 10 of competition; Douglas earning the top eighth grade finisher; Isla Thomas the top sixth grade finisher and the entire team finishing in the top 20.
On the boy’s team, Jamir Ratliff (7th grade), Jovi Ratliff (8th grade) and Remy Bergeron (8th grade) finished in the top 10, with Jamir Ratliff being named the top seventh grade finisher and second place overall finisher at sectionals. The team conference championship was led by Bergeron’s second place finish at the conference meet.