Traveling to Oregon for the Nike Cross Nationals was always something the East Aurora cross country team did.
But this year, rather than just volunteer, they cheered on one of their own.
"We have such a good dynamic as a team," said senior Ian Russ. "We all like to joke around and hang out all the time. It was nice having them there."
The senior captain had a goal of making it to the national race after last year's season was a little disappointing.
"My injuries I got in the middle of the season kind of shot that down," he said. "So this year was kind of my chance to get back and get there this year."
Russ' rehab and hard work paid off as he represented the Blue Devils after grabbing the 8th and final spot in his qualifier.
He became just the 3rd boys runner in school history to compete at the annual race out West.
"It was great," said Russ. "Just knowing that I got in there, it was just awesome."
Russ finished in the top half of the pack at 86th overall with a time of 16:19.
It wasn't exactly the finish he was hoping for but making it to that stage alone, is an amazing accomplishment.
"The people who are there, they're the best in the country," Russ said. "It's just great to be surrounded by that much talent."
Russ is still running every day after school as the team's inaugural indoor track and field season is already underway.