Sean Deane battled through a tough season as a junior.

Working a summer job leading into the season last year, Deane wasn’t able to run with the Br. Rice cross-country team during summer workouts.

Unfortunately, while trying to make up for lost time upon his return, Deane endured an injury-plagued season.

He vowed to have a far stronger senior year with the Crusaders.

“I felt so awful about what happened last year where I wasn’t able to run at all,” Deane said. “I felt like I let my team down. I trained my hardest to be ready for my senior year.”

Deane (Mt. Greenwood, Queen of Martyrs) finished in eighth place (17:22) as host Br. Rice (24) beat Stagg (32), St. Laurence (86) and St. Rita (102) on Oct. 1 in a quadrangular meet held at the Br. Rice campus.

According to Coach Tom Wazio, it was the first time the Crusaders hosted a meet on campus since 1988.

Starting the race in cloudy, cool conditions, runners were pelted during the last half of the three-mile race by a heavy, driving rain. Still, the history and unique conditions of running on campus were welcomed.

“It was awesome. It was great to do something like that,” Deane said. “We’ve run in the rain before. It sucks, but we’re out here running. You’ve got to get through it.”

Seniors Mikey Corcoran (16:19) and Eddie Burke (16:20) battled Stagg freshman runner Luke Barham (16:24) for the win, the trio setting a blistering pace early.

Corcoran (Beverly, St. John Fisher) narrowly beat Burke (Beverly, Christ the King) down the final chute to the finish line on the track in the football stadium.

The senior duo has developed a strong chemistry racing together and working through countless miles in practices and workouts.

“We talked about it every practice, us running together,” Burke said. “We had a time trial this summer, and Mikey had been sick and dealing with injuries. I said ‘Just stay on me.’ I broke a 5-minute mile, and Mikey was 5:01, 5:02. We’re always going to be there together. We knew this was going to be a good season for us.”

However, early in the year, their times weren’t dropping as expected.

Corcoran and Burke had put the work in, but they weren’t seeing the results. Then, they had a breakout meet against Chicago Catholic League opponent Marmion Academy.

“We had a kind of rough start to the year, but Coach Wazio told us to keep following our training,” Corcoran said. “The time would come along eventually. The Marmion race was a breakout race for us. It developed well, and it built up our confidence.”

The Crusaders finished with 6 runners in the top 10, including sophomore Charlie Walsh (6th, 17:20), junior Sean McNally (7th, 17:22) and Deane. Junior Connor Melean did not score but finished 10th with a 17:24 final time.

As a young team develops its identity, Corcoran knows that Deane is a excellent runner to have working with the newcomers.

“Sean can be a real X-factor for us, especially as we get to conference and the playoffs,” Corcoran said. ‘We’ll be up front, and he can lead the young guys and help control the race.”

St. Laurence was led by junior Allan Potter (15th, 18:22), senior Roh Bhattal (16th, 18:48), sophomore Isaac Guzman (17th, 19:14), senior Ryan Kosowski (18th, 19:33) and junior Alex Velazquez (20th, 19:47).

Pacing a young St. Rita squad was senior Saul Garcia, who finished in 13th place (17:53). Also scoring for the Mustangs were sophomores Ian Meza (19th, 19:36) and Luke McCormick (21st, 19:49) and juniors Padraig Flannery (24th, 21:07) and Nick Stawczyk (25th, 22:50).