HINSDALE — One of the first things New Trier senior Chase Silverman said after the Hornet/Red Devil invitational was in praise of a teammate.
For the first time since the start of his sophomore year, Peter Cotsirilos ran in a cross country meet Saturday, and the senior took third in 15 minutes, 6.73 seconds at Katherine Legge Memorial Park. New Trier finished second to Hinsdale Central in the 17-team field.
“What a great race,” said Silverman, who was second on the Trevians, placing 12th in 15:39.25. “He made a statement out there.”
A tibial stress fracture in his left leg sidelined Cotsirilos after one race as a sophomore, and the injury affected him again as a junior. He finally is at full strength for the first time since freshman year.
“It’s great to have him back,” New Trier coach Dave Wisner said. “He makes a huge difference for us.”
Cotsirilos said the injury likely resulted from a combination of factors. He speculated that the increased mileage from his freshman to sophomore season paired with poor mechanics and worn-out shoes contributed to the stress fracture.
“It was never narrowed down to one thing,” he said.
Cotsirilos said his improved form has been a big difference. Before, he was pounding his feet to the ground with too much force.
“People told me I made a lot of noise when I ran,” he said. “I was putting an unnecessary amount of pressure on my legs.”
A conscious effort to change to a mid-foot strike is paying off so far.
“I am adapting to it,” he said. “I have to engage my muscles more, and I am lifting my feet up and controlling them more.”
Cotsirilos was just happy to be out running again for the Trevians.
“I definitely am relieved, both to be able to compete at this level and run without a nagging injury,” he said. “I wasn’t anxious about Saturday, but there was a lot of unknowing. I didn’t know how I would hold up.
“But I am very happy. It was better than I initially thought it would be.”