The Times Cross Country Runner of the Year: Sandwich’s Sunny Weber

Sandwich's Sundara Weber (center) competes in the Class 2A State Cross Country race on Saturday, Nov. 4, 2023 at Detweiller Park in Peoria.

Sunny Weber is setting a pretty high standard for herself in a short time at Sandwich High School.

Weber won her first high school race as a freshman last fall and went on to take second at the state cross country meet. Building on that, she took second in the 3,200-meter run and third in the 1,600 at the state track meet last May.

Sophomore slump? Try again.

Weber picked up right where she left off. The Sandwich sophomore won conference, regional and sectional championships. And Nov. 4, she smashed the Sandwich school record by taking third place at the Class 2A State cross country meet.

For her achievements, Sunny Weber is The Times Cross Country Runner of the Year. Here is her Q&A with Shaw Local’s Joshua Welge.

Your run at state, looking back on it, how’d you feel about it?

Weber: Looking back onto state for the most part I feel accomplished with myself. I feel like I couldn’t have pushed myself any harder. Of course I wish I could’ve done better but that’s what I hope for all my races.

I believe I saw you broke the school record. Was that a mark you were shooting for?

Weber: Breaking the school record was definitely a goal I had toward the beginning and middle of the season. I wasn’t able to break it for a while, but I was eventually able to.

We know about your successes and wins in races. Is there any adversity you’ve had to overcome – were there any tough points this year?

Weber: There were definitely some difficulties I had this year. At the start of the season I had an injury in my knee, but it was able to heal. Then in the middle of the season I was struggling a bit mentally for my races but I was able to overcome it. Lastly, at the end of the season the majority of my team wasn’t able to qualify for sectionals so with everyone gone it was a big change.

Are you still getting runs in? What’s a typical week or day’s regimen or routine?

Weber: I took a two-week break off after state, and I just started running this week and I’m going to gradually increase my mileage. I usually run around 5-6 days a week.

If you were not a runner, what sport do you think you’d play? Have you played other sports?

Weber: I used to do cheer, gymnastics and softball but they never stuck with me so I ended up joining cross country. If I wasn’t a runner, though, I feel like continuing gymnastics would be fun.

Besides running do you have any other hobbies or passions?

Weber: Other than running I enjoy doing nail art and drawing.

What’s your favorite TV show or movie?

Weber: My favorite TV show would probably be “The Good Place.”

What’s your favorite class in school?

Weber: My favorite class would probably be psychology or chemistry.

What are goals for next year?

Weber: For next year I hope I will get a new personal record and place in the top three at state again.