- Our Sites
- The News-Gazette
- NewsTalk 1400 WDWS-AM
- Lite Rock 97.5 WHMS
- 107.9 WKIO
- Community News
There are two stories Monticello cross-country coach Jeff Butler loves to tell about Andrew Hanselman.
The first is how proud he is that Hanselman was the first Sage runner to race in the state meet all four years of high school.
The second is how he was sure the senior runner had just missed the final spot for All-State honors in his last attempt and how ridiculously happy he was to be proven wrong.
“I don’t know if he didn’t want me being optimistic, but for whatever reason he settled on the fact that I was 28th,” Hanselman said.
“For any athlete I’ve ever had, I don’t think I could have been any more happy when we found out that he got 25th,” Buter said.
“There was a pretty good hug that followed after that,” Hanselman said.
No matter how tight the finish was between reaching All-State honors and that dreaded 26th spot, for Hanselman that medal means more than those 15 minutes, 27 seconds it took him to cross the finish line.
“I think it’s a representation of what I’ve done and everyone else that I’ve ran with,” he said. “I’ll definitely look back on this and think ‘Yeah, I got 25th in the state.’ I think what I’ll really remember is ‘I got 25th in the state and all these people helped me along the way.’
“The most memorable part of it for me is that I did it with so many great people. It was just such an awesome experience all four years. I couldn’t measure the value of it in any way because it’s just a life experience that very few people get and I’m glad I had it.”
Hanselman’s teammates – Matt Norvell (56th), Jesse Galaway (82nd), Justin Furcich (109th) and Will Montgomery (163rd) – helped pace the Sages to an 11th place finish out of 25 competing teams.
“I think we exceeded plenty of people’s expectations,” Hanselman said. “I’m just happy that we all got the chance to make it to state one more time. As the year progressed it seemed more and more like a possibility.
“Coming into the season I had my doubts about our capabilities. I definitely believed in the potential of all our guys, but I questioned if everyone had the willingness to put in everything that it took. Going to state was a great way to finish our season.”
It is Sage tradition that the seniors hand out personal team awards to other members of the team. Hanselman gave Galaway the Hall of Fame running partner award.
“I was very impressed with how our guys ran. Jesse is such a driven person and I think without him I wouldn’t have done as well this year,” he said. “It’s a great thing to have such a great team and great teammates along the whole journey. The year itself was incredible and I enjoyed this year more than any other.”
That’s saying something after being a part of last year’s state third-place team that featured the Class 1A state champion. Hanselman said watching Steve Schroeder go through drills and run until he physically couldn’t any more inspired him to keep reaching for his dreams.
“To see how major Steve’s improvement was from freshman year to sophomore year on, I think that proved to me that there is no limit for how good you can be as long as you put in the work,” Hanselman said. “I think the way Steve worked isn’t comparable to anyone else I know.”
Hanselman is currently applying to the University of Illinois, Purdue University and Michigan University and plans on studying computer engineering.
“If I could make a statement of what I enjoy it would be computers and just learning as much as I possibly can, whether it’s about computers or about just anything,” he said. “I really enjoy learning new ways of thinking.”
With an All-State finish to his stellar career, Hanselman provided the younger members of the Sages cross-country squad a few new ways of thinking themselves.