Murphy leads OPRF to win

Three runners finish in top 10 to give team resounding victory

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By BRAD SPENCER

Roy Gummerson Cross-country Invitational

That stress fracture to Brendan Murphy's shin seems to have fully healed. The senior, bogged down by the injury for the bulk of last season, raced his way to first place overall and led his team to the top spot at the Roy Gummerson Invitational held at Schiller Woods on Saturday.

Murphy, who was a distant third at the 2-mile mark, finished the race in 15:33, a full 12 seconds ahead of Lincoln-Way East's Kyle Kirchner, who took second and who had outpaced Murphy at the Peoria Invitational a few weeks prior.

Murphy's victory was backed by Kris Rey-Tally's third place finish in 16:01 and Todd Teren's eighth place finish in 16:19.

"When I saw Brendan come over the hill in first place, I thought the two other runners who had been with him went the wrong way or something," said OPRF coach Jose Sosa. "He was all alone."

Sosa said it was his team's aggressiveness that led to the top finish. "Every runner seemed to make the right move at the right time."

Other top finishers for the Huskies included Patrick Geoghegan (16:45, 21st place), Nick Blench (16:55, 27), John Binder (17:07, 31) and Ken Ptack (17:35, 47).

Sosa anticipates Teren running in the top five alongside Murphy and Rey-Tally soon.

"Todd has been on fire. We knew he had the talent and the ability, it was just going to take some time," he said.

One disappointment on Sosa's mind was the fact his team couldn't get its revenge on cross-town rival Fenwick, who outran OPRF at the Fenton invite earlier in the season and was without a full squad for this race.

"We'll have to wait for the regional, I guess," said a demurred Sosa.

OPRF finished with a score of 55, while New Trier took second with a distant 64.

Bird out, OPRF girls settle for 4th

A wild elbow led to Olivia Bird's disqualification from the race on Saturday. The OPRF freshman took an elbow from an opponent and briefly stepped outside the staked-out path. Bird was disqualified and the Huskies ended up tying for fourth with a score of 140. Sandburg took first with a 42.

Alison Rack led the Huskies by finishing 14th with a time of 19:13. Megan Kiefer (19:21) and Jennifer Donley (19:38) took 19th and 25th places respectively.

"To lose a great runner and tie for fourth, that's pretty good," said OPRF coach Sarah McCabe. "I feel good about our progress. We're faster than we were two weeks ago. Olivia being disqualified is the reality of cross-country."

McCabe said Marianne Kirk's stress fracture in her leg is healing well and expects her back for the West Suburban (Silver) Conference Meet.

The team travels to Downers North for a dual meet on Thursday, and will run along the banks of Lake Michigan at the Loyola Invitational at Montrose Harbor on Saturday.

Friars without key runners

The Fenwick boys' team had to settle for 10th place (239) at the invitational on Saturday, mainly due to the team being without five of its top seven runners who were taking SATs.

Fenwick's top finisher was Brooks Smith, who finished 28th with a time of 16:56. Brendan Daly took 38th in 17:17, and Joe Dylik 55th in 17:51.

Fenwick girls: Elizabeth Boyle led the Friars to a team score of 246, good for 10th place. Boyle finished 13th overall with a time of 19:11.

Purl places for Trinity

While Trinity wasn't able to score enough points to place as a team, the Blazers did receive an impressive run from Lindsey Purl.

The senior finished 34th overall to lead the Blazers. She timed out at 20:07.

Contact: bspencer@wjinc.com

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