BY COLTEN STEELE WEEKLY REPORTER
Years of running and preparing for the big stage has shown for Joey Black, who has an athletic ability that has shown he is one of the best runners in Southern Illinois, according to his Coach, Jon Burnett. Black’s season began with a very promising start, winning the Fall Tiger Classic Invitational hosted by Southern Illinois University of Edwardsville.
Coach Burnett said, “Joey, on any given day, can be our number one runner.” Black finished first with a time of 17:12.17 at the Fall Tiger Classic Invite. Black repeatedly shows that he can be the number one guy.
Joey Black was one of the top finishers at last year’s State meet placing 84th in Class 3A, which was the best place by any runner in the Metro East area. He ran a time of 15:28 and he plans to get the Panthers back to compete at State again. They finished 21st overall at the state tournament. Black also finished third at the Southwestern Conference Meet.
Black has been running for the track team for three years in the Spring, and this could very well be a reason why he has had so much success in Cross Country as well.
Joey Black has always been a well known name, as he has been competing at a very high level since middle school. Black placed sixth at the 2012 Benton State Cross Country Meet as an eighth-grader. Last season, Black led his team to a second place finish in Sectionals for Class 3A, and Black had the best finish with a time of 16:03 for 14th place.
Black has been one of the more premiere runners in the Southwestern Conference and the Metro East area this year, and has provided a spark to his team and acting as a great leader to his teammates. There are not many runners in the Southwestern Conference that have the athletic talents that Black poses. As a Senior, Joey has led his team and taken his younger teammates under his wing. When asked about his individual performance and his teammates performances, Black said, “Everything is going pretty well so far. We are all working our hardest even if we are having a good or bad race.”
Aside from Cross Country, Joey is also a member of the Reserves Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) in O’Fallon. Joey is the son of Ron and Sue Black. Joey plans on attending Kansas State University next fall, and studying to become a Mechanical Engineer. Joey plans on continuing to run at Kansas State, but says it will be more for fun, or he will be a part of a club.