Emmett Scully had early notion Hinsdale Central was special

SHARE Emmett Scully had early notion Hinsdale Central was special
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Hinsdale Central’s newest state championship team was back training roughly 48 hours after winning the Class 3A title Saturday in Peoria.

The boys cross country squad became the school’s third state champ this fall, following boys golf and girls tennis. After their 45-point win at Detweiller Park, the Red Devils started preparing this week for the Nike Cross Midwest Regional meet at 2:15 p.m. Sunday in Terre Haute, Ind.

The regional meet features the best individuals and teams from Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan and Missouri. The top finishers advance to the 10th annual Nike Cross Nationals Dec. 7 in Portland, Ore.

Because the Nike series is not sanctioned by the IHSA, Hinsdale Central coach Jim Westphal is unable to supervise the workouts. That job is being taken over by seniors such as Emmett Scully, a Clarendon Hills resident, who was the vocal leader for the Devils this fall.

Scully wasn’t the best runner on Hinsdale Central’s team. He finished 104th for the Devils and, as Hinsdale’s seventh runner, didn’t even count toward the team scoring total at state.

But ask anyone on the team and Scully’s name comes up as the closest thing to a team captain. He and classmate T.J. Caveney (15 minutes, 2 seconds), who placed 25th at state, were the only three-year varsity runners on the team. Two other seniors, Billy Magnesen (ninth, 14:41) and Kevin Huang (24th, 15:01), were two-year varsity members after joining as sophomores.

Magnesen was a former soccer player and Huang played tennis before deciding to concentrate on running.

“I think it was more of a group effort,” Scully said. “More than anything, we tried to focus on our goals over the summer. I tried to keep us all unified, all of us on the same page. Our main goal was for all of us to have the same goal.”

“(Emmett) was certainly the glue that kept that unit together,” Westphal said. “Through his words, he would bring levity to our workouts. He had a natural perspective. He was a leader and one of the major reasons for such a fine season.”

Westphal, who won the Class AA state championship in the 3,200 at Oak Park-River Forest in 1987, guided the Red Devils to their first boys cross country title.

The Devils girls captured their only Class AA state championship in 2006, the final year before the state series was expanded to three classes.

Hinsdale Central is the only West Suburban Silver team other than perennial power York to win a state boys cross country championship since 1964, when Proviso West took the crown.

While Hinsdale Township finished sixth at state in 1955, Central’s only previous appearances among the top 10 was eighth in 1974 and 1997. The Devils were 12th last season when Magnesen, Huang and Caveney ran for the team.

Westphal said the process of building this year’s state champion started shortly after last season when he challenged the returnees to increase their training routine.

“Honestly, you have to go back to November 2012 when I met with all the returning athletes,” Westphal said. “I met with them and talked about what we need to do to achieve a goal of a top five (finish).”

Scully believed Westphal readjusted his goal after the Devils won the First to the Finish Invitational Sept. 14 at Detweiller Park. Hinsdale scored 60 points, led by Magnesen’s runner-up finish. It was the first invite that included freshman Blake Evertsen, who placed 29th at state.

“When we won that Peoria Invitational in September, I was thinking, ‘We’ve got something here,’ ” Scully said.

Hinsdale’s other finishers were sophomore Chris Brenk, who was the final scorer in 43rd, and junior Matt McBrien (60th).

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