Cross Country: Ryan siblings run well at state

Updated: November 5, 2012 6:17PM

The Ryan family of Western Springs had plenty of reasons to celebrate at the Class 3A state meet Saturday in Peoria.

With three family members competing for three different schools in two races, there was plenty to watch.

Sophomore Olivia Ryan finished fifth (16:43) to become the top girls cross country finisher in Fenwick history while her cousin, junior Claire Costelloe, placed 94th for Neuqua Valley in her first appearance in the state meet.

Ryan became Fenwick’s previous top finisher when she placed 16th last year. Before this season, all three of the Friars’ previous state qualifiers ran in 2011. Ryan’s teammate, junior Briana Daley, placed 49th Saturday after finishing 22nd a year ago.

One more triumphant member of the Ryan family was Olivia’s older brother James, who placed 66th and was the last runner to score for Lyons’ third place team (125 points).

Lyons finished behind West Suburban Silver rival York and O’Fallon to claim its eighth state boys cross country trophy and its first since taking second in Class AA in 2003.

Lyons’ first runner to finish was senior Michael Matusiak of La Grange, who placed 11th (14;38). Senior Ryan Speir (14:43) was 17th. Matusiak and Speir became the first Lyons teammates to medal in the top 25 in the same race since Ryan Kuphall (eighth) and Tim Maier (ninth) in 2004.

“Everything went perfect for us,” Matusiak said. “We did everything exactly what we wanted to do when we went down there.”

Matusiak said nearly every Lyons runner reached personal-record times by about 20 seconds. The other scorers were Dan Lupano (39th, 14;58) and Mike Accettura (54th, 15:07).

Matusiak was the most experienced returning runner and even led a team chant before each race inspired by a video he once watched from a Brigham Young University cross country practice.

Matusiak yells: “What are we?”

His teammates respond: “One.”

Matusiak: “What will we be?”

The team: “One.”

Matusiak’s biggest highlight was the post-race awards ceremony when the team received its medals.

“I will always remember that we got up on that stage. Looking at everyone, I thought, ‘Wow. We actually did it as a team,’” Matusiak said.

For James Ryan, it was the second time running at state with his sister. James said he knew Lyons would do well after coach Michael Danner took the team for three days over the summer to run in a forest preserve in Indiana. The team stayed in a cabin and practiced two to three times a day.

“I think we meshed as a team,” James said. “That was a great job. Our goals for the season were set at the beginning of the summer.”

Olivia Ryan’s first trip to state last season was for the Class 2A race. The pace was far faster in Class 3A. Her time a year ago was 17:47.

“I was surprised how fast everyone was going,” Olivia said. “They never slowed down.”

Saturday’s pace was led by Glenbard West junior Madeline Perez (16:02), who ran the fast girls race ever for any level.

The Ryan siblings and Costelloe come from a running family. They are second cousins to Irish runner Sonia O’Sullivan, a silver medalist in the 2000 Sydney Summer Olympics in the 5,000 meters.

Olivia Ryan and Costelloe ran for the second time against each other in a race this season after meeting at the Joliet Central Invitational Sept. 8 at Channahon Park.

“A lot of people came down there [to Peoria],” Olivia said. “We had cousins, parents, grandparents and friends.”

James and Olivia Ryan both went to St. John of the Cross for middle school, but went separate ways for high school.

“We each went to school and chose our school for specific reasons,” James said.

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