New Trier has no doubts about making run
Ethan Kaplan (left)
Updated: October 14, 2012 1:52PM
WINNETKA — It’s only natural to assume the New Trier boys cross country team won’t be as good as it was last season.
After all, the Trevians don’t have former state champion Leland Later, now running at Cal-Berkeley. Also gone is Chip Schaff, who was the team’s No. 2 runner at the 2011 state meet, during which New Trier finished 11th.
Ethan Kaplan understands there will be doubters, but he wants to make it clear: the Trevians aren’t going to be the caboose in any competition.
“Honestly, I think a lot of people are underestimating what our team can do,” Kaplan said. “We spent the offseason rebuilding our depth. But I do think this team does enjoy being the underdog this year. It is a motivation driving us.”
Kaplan, New Trier’s No. 3 runner at the state meet last season, is the front-runner this time around.
“Ethan’s got the most experience and is our strongest guy,” said New Trier coach Dave Wisner, whose club is ranked 10th in Mike Newman’s Dyestat Class 3A poll. “He’s not going to be like Leland, who was way out ahead of everybody, but he’s going to be pretty good.”
Kaplan took an unusual route to cross country. He started his athletic career in the pool, and swam for more than a dozen years before giving up the sport after his freshman year at New Trier.
“Running was something I wanted to try,” said Kaplan, who joined the cross country team his freshman year. “I fell in love with it and stuck with it ever since.”
Wisner said Kaplan’s swimming background serves him well on the cross country course.
“He’s disciplined, and that’s from his swimming,” Wisner said. “He also has a passion for running, and it’s something he wants to continue in college.”
Kaplan missed Saturday’s First to the Finish Invitational at Peoria’s Detweiller Park in order to take an ACT test. Connor Trapp led the way, placing 51st in 15:44. Ben Rosenkranz finished 55th (15:48) and Bennett Levis was 58th (15:49); the Trevians placed 10th with 345 points.
New Trier competes in the Libertyville Invitational at Adler Park on Saturday.