Kevin Huang and Billy Magnesen of Hinsdale Central

Hinsdale Central cross country runners Kevin Huang and Billy Magnesen both hope to take home first place at this season's state meet. (Gretchen Matzelle photo)

As leaders on Hinsdale Central’s cross country team, Kevin Huang and Billy Magnesen haven’t gotten caught up in early-season success. Huang ran a 5K in 15 minutes, 53 seconds to take second place in the Locktoberfest Invitational on Oct. 5, while Magnesen placed second at the First to the Finish Invitational with a three-mile time of 14 minutes, 36 seconds on Sept. 14.

“They demonstrate incredible commitment and resolve both in and out of the classroom,” head coach Jim Westphal said. “More importantly, they are terrific teammates. They take the time to reach out to the younger athletes and model consistent, positive behaviors. They are very approachable to peers and teammates alike.”

Names: Kevin Huang and Billy Magnesen

Age/year in school: 17/Senior (Huang); 18/Senior (Magnesen)

Hometown: Willowbrook (Huang); Hinsdale (Magnesen)   

Sport: Cross Country

How long have you run cross country?

Huang: This is my 3rd year.

Magnesen: Since sophomore year. I ran a little in middle school but I considered myself a soccer player until my freshman track season.

What do you love most about cross country?

Huang: The camaraderie. There’s a special bond you form with your teammates from struggling through and finishing hard workouts together that you can’t get anywhere else. The guys on the team are some of my closest friends.

Magnesen: What you put into it is what you’ll get out. If you’re not willing to put in the effort and time for the sport, then it won’t be kind to you. But if you invest fully and decide to embrace it, the sport will reward you with improvement and a feeling of accomplishment.

What are your goals for this season? How will you achieve them?

Huang: For our team to win state this year. Individually, I’d like to be top 10 in state. We’ve worked incredibly hard, not just from this season but stretching all the way back to the beginning of summer.

Magnesen: To earn a trophy at the state meet on November 9th, preferably the one with the “1” on it. Everything else will just be a part of the process.

What is your biggest challenge this season?

Huang: Staying humble and not getting too caught up with our success so far this season. Past results don’t matter at state. It’s just how you perform on that day.

Magnesen: I had an excellent start to the season, but after our dual meet with LT, I hurt my knee. It’s been frustrating to not be able to run with the team for a little while, but I’m back to running now, and should be good to go for the rest of the season.

Do you have any rituals or superstitions when you run?