The senior has certainly used it to fuel his offseason.
“I wouldn’t say I was disappointed after last year’s state finals but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t motivated me,” Magnesen said. “Whenever I’m exhausted and getting tired of all the offseason work, I think about how it’s going to be worth it, how I can be all-state and that will make up for last year.”
Magnesen was the team’s top finisher at state last year, taking 32nd — the top 25 earn all-state — in 14 minutes, 53 seconds over the three-mile Detweiller Park course in Peoria. The Red Devils placed 12th.
Magnesen expects improvement on both the individual and team levels.
“Personally, I want to be top 15 in state,” he said. “That’s a huge goal and one that I can attain if I work hard. As a team, we’re deep and we’re going to have some juniors and underclassmen that can run in our top seven. I really hope we can be a top five or a top three team at state.”
Magnesen has put in the work during the summer. He runs an average of 70 miles a week.
“He’s just gone to another level in his training and what he expects of himself,” said Red Devils’ head coach Jim Westphal. “He leads by example and he’s had a great summer as far as training. I think that will really pay dividends this fall.”
Magnesen’s persistence is what sets him apart from his competition.
“Billy has an innate drive and is very competitive,” Westphal said. “It almost borders on stubbornness. He’s very strong-willed as far as competing. As a coach you never have to worry about him.”
Magnesen’s iron will has also led him to a dogged pursuit of the perfect college. He’s already visited Wake Forest, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Illinois, Notre Dame and Marquette.
“I’m definitely looking to run in college,” he said. “I think I’m capable of running and being a contributing member of a college team. It’s been hard to choose. I’ve loved every place I’ve been to.”
Wake Forest and Penn are two schools that have stood out, but Magnesen, who is thinking about studying business or economics, isn’t close to making a decision.
“It really depends on how I perform this season,” he said. “Other schools can come into play or these schools can drop out.”
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Hodes, the team’s top returner, missed qualifying for the state meet by 15 seconds last season. As a junior, he finished in 38th place at the Niles West Sectional with a time of 16:06.
Huang took 46th place at state last year as a junior with a time of 15:03 and was consistently the team’s No. 2 runner late in the season.
“He had an excellent track season as well,” Westphal said. “Kevin has good raw speed to go with that endurance.”
The Lions have several talented runners competing for the No. 1 spot but Lupano is the team’s top returning finisher from last year’s state meet, finishing in 39th place with a time of 14:48.
“Dan has exceptional range as a distance runner, from 800 meters in track to three miles in cross country,” Lyons coach Michael Danner said. “Dan is a big-meet performer and has had outstanding efforts at the state meet the last two years.”
Rill comes back for his senior season as the Friars’ top returning runner. Last year he was Fenwick’s No. 2 at regionals, completing the course in 16:03.4.
“He was hurt most of last year, but his training is going good at this time,” Friars’ coach David Rill said.
The senior was the only Tigers’ runner to compete in Peoria last year. He took 137th in the Class 2A state meet with a time of 16:11. That was a remarkable 49 seconds quicker than his sectional race a week earlier.