Marian Central senior Peter Walsdorf enjoyed his previous three seasons competing with teammate Ryan Jones, who joined Walsdorf on last year’s All-Area first team before heading to NCAA Division II Illinois-Springfield to run.
The two usually were close in races the last two years and both finished as Class 2A All-Staters last season.
This year, Walsdorf was a loner. Jones was not there to push him and rarely was anyone else.
Instead, Walsdorf pushed himself to a dominant, unbeaten season, winning conference, regional and sectional titles handily to become the Northwest Herald Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year, chosen by the sports staff with input from area coaches.
Walsdorf’s only non-winning race came after the official high school season ended. He took ninth at the ShaZam Championships in Chillicothe, an unofficial state meet run by the website il.milesplit.com. The IHSA canceled its state meet because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Walsdorf beat Marist’s Jake Phillips by 8 seconds for the East Suburban Catholic Conference Meet championship. He won at the Class 2A Belvidere Regional by 31 seconds and by 39 seconds at the Lakes Sectional.
Hurricanes coach Murray Domich took over before last season and enjoyed his two years working with Walsdorf.
“He’s a happy-go-lucky, goofy guy,” Domich said. “But at the same time, when he hits the (starting) line, he’s a racer. He doesn’t take anything too serious, but he’s the real deal when he’s in race.”
Northwest Herald sports writer Joe Stevenson asked a few questions to Walsdorf about his standout season and other matters, and found out the Hokey Pokey is definitely not what it's all about.
What are your best memories of this season?
Walsdorf: When the Crystal Lake Central girls team asked me for my autograph (at the Belvidere Regional).
What is your favorite prerace meal?
Walsdorf: Waffles, even though they don’t help me run the fastest. I eat them in the morning before I leave.
What was this season like for you since you had a different perspective running alone out in front most races?
Walsdorf: It was definitely different from the past, but it’s been fun racing with people like (Warren’s) Luke Wiley (a triangular meet) and (Marist’s) Jake Phillips (in the ESCC Meet) in close races during the season.
If you could train with any coach or runner for a week, who would it be?
Walsdorf: Mo Farah in England.
What do you do when you’re relaxing at home?
Walsdorf: I play video games with my friends.
What sport that you don’t compete in would you be good at?
Walsdorf: I think I would be good at UFC fighting because when I get hurt, I get mad, and then my rage would be unleashed on my opponent.
What is one of your biggest pet peeves?
Walsdorf: When people don’t move their car over when I am running on the side of the road.
What is your soap opera character name (your middle name and the street you live on)?
Walsdorf: Alphonsus Donegal.
What do you consider must-watch TV?
Walsdorf: “The Bachelor.” Last winter I would run on the treadmill and watch it on Mondays. And any New York Yankees’ playoff game.
If you could play any musical instrument, what would it be?
Walsdorf: The drums. I’m learning to play guitar right now so I need something to compliment it.
Is the Hokey Pokey really what it’s all about?
Walsdorf: No. Being a ginger is what it’s really all about.
What would be your dream job?
Walsdorf: Being a cross country coach.
If you could hop into a time machine and watch any sporting event, which one would you go see?
Walsdorf: The Iditarod in any year.
If you scored a touchdown, how would you celebrate with your teammates?
Walsdorf: I would lay on the ground and have my teammates tuck me in to sleep like in a bed.
What music is on your playlist that would surprise people?
Walsdorf: “Un Poco Loco” from Coco, “Lost Boy” by Ruth B and “Since U Been Gone” by Kelly Clarkson.