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Northwest Herald Athlete of the Week: Prairie Ridge’s Will Gelon

Prairie Ridge sophomore Will Gelon held off Cary-Grove’s Ian Barnes by four seconds to win the Class 2A Woodstock Boys Cross Country Regional individual championship at Emricson Park on Oct. 16.

Over the weekend, the Wolves speedster continued his strong postseason, taking fifth at the 2A Woodstock North Sectional to qualify for the IHSA boys cross country state meet on Saturday at Detweiller Park in Peoria.

For his strong performance, Gelon was voted the Northwest Herald Athlete of the Week by readers. Gelon recently talked to sports writer Alex Kantecki about what goes through his mind before a big race, his favorite professional runners, his dream job and more.

What was the last really good movie you saw in a theater?

Gelon: “Venom: Let There Be Carnage.”

What is the best part about competing in sports?

Gelon: My favorite part about competing in cross country is the team aspect of the sport. With the team getting much better this season, it’s been awesome to cross the finish line and look back and cheer them on. It’s been awesome.

What would be your dream job?

Gelon: A pro running because I’ll take it as far as I can. And then I’m thinking of either engineering or a business career path. I don’t have a specific job [in mind] yet.

What’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you in a race?

Gelon: At our home meet this year, I was nearing the 2-mile mark and a big deer ran right across the path about 10 feet in front of me, might have been the biggest adrenaline rush of any race of my career.

If you could have any vehicle, what would it be?

Gelon: A blue 99-04 Mustang GT. The stereotypical high school guy car.

Who is your favorite professional runner?

Gelon: My favorite pro runner from America is Evan Jager because he’s from around here and he shows me that some kid from the [Fox Valley Conference] can make it big. Internationally, I would say [Kenyan runner] Eliud Kipchoge because of the simplistic life he carries. I think he’s living the dream, and he’s quite the runner.

What is your most prized possession?

Gelon: My “Shutt singlet.” It’s a blue-striped singlet with a picture of my coach’s [Judd Schutt] face on it.

What scares you?

Gelon: The start line of a cross country race is something that scares me. The anticipation of the opportunity in front of me is exciting, yet also nerve racking.

What would be your walk-up song if you played baseball?

Gelon: My walk up song would be “The Real Slim Shady” by Eminem.

What goes through your mind in those moments right before a race?

Gelon: In the moments before a race, I’m just excited to see what myself and the team are able to accomplish that day. I want to accomplish my goals that I have set for the race and get myself ready to embrace the pain that is coming.

What is one of your biggest pet peeves?

Gelon: Freshmen pushing the warmups and cool downs.

What professional athlete would you most like to hang out with for a day?

Gelon: [American runner] Craig Engels. I feel that would be a ton of fun because he seems like a crazy fun guy to be around.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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