Freshman runner finds his team

By Meghan Rest, Assistant Sports Editor

Logan Hall is on his first cross country team.

This fall, the freshman distance runner not only made his collegiate running debut, but he also had teammates to run with for the first time. Within Hall’s 300-person student body at Arthur Junior-Senior High School, the current freshman distance runner was an anomaly.

“We had football and kids would get picked off to play that,” Hall said. “I still raced and everything like any other big cross country team, but I had to train on my own and race by myself.”

However, running solo was never an issue for Hall.

Before coming to Illinois, Hall garnered two IHSA Class 1A track and field state titles in the 1,600-meter and 3,200-meter runs, placing within the top five twice in both events. The Illini front-runner also took home runner-up and third-place honors at the IHSA State cross country meet in 2017 and 2016, respectively. And in 2017, Hall had the sixth-fastest 3,200-meter time in the state.

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Transitioning from high school to college athletics is a hurdle on its own, but so far, Hall hasn’t been phased by the process. While having teammates is a new phenomenon for Hall, he said he couldn’t imagine college without them.

“It’s something I’ve always dreamed,” Hall said. “It’s amazing to have a group of guys to run with and doing things other than running. Some people don’t realize we do other things besides running; we hang out on a daily basis. We go to volleyball and football games or out to eat. It’s a family I’ve never had.”

In addition to Hall’s new 14-member support system, he’s also gained just as many people to push him on the cross country course.

“I think (having teammates) is also making me a better athlete,” Hall said. “I think I’m just gonna grow in my running off of other guys, and having the right coaching staff is also a huge part of that.”

While Hall’s high school experience is atypical of others on Illinois’ cross country team, he’s had a flawless transition onto the college course.

During his collegiate debut at the EIU Crawford Invitational, Hall led the Illini and finished fourth overall. Hall also finished second for Illinois and 28th overall at the Commodore Classic.

According to head coach Sarah Haveman, Hall’s coachability has been an enormous asset to the Illini so far this season, and his recent performances in the 8k have set the bar high for his freshman campaign.

“The only thing I can describe him as is he is just extremely coachable,” Haveman said. “That’s one of the best qualities he has — that you can have as an athlete. He’s so excited to be part of the Illinois track and field and cross country teams, and he’s shown such great maturity. You would never believe he had a large transition into college.”

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