Despite a few “rough realities,” that included a runner being pulled from the starter’s line at the last minute, the OPRF girls cross-country team managed to run away with second place at its own Roy Gummerson Invitational at Schiller Woods on Saturday.

The Huskies garnered a score of 91, behind Sandberg (45), who’s Kristin Sutherland won the invite with a time of 17:13. OPRF finished second with just six runners in the race after Heather Joyce was pulled with tightness in her legs at the starter’s line.

“We made a quick assessment and really didn’t want to take any chances,” said OPRF head coach Sarah McCabe of taking Joyce, the team’s third runner, out of the lineup. “We had another setback earlier in the week, so I was a little concerned about how the team would react. But they rose to the occasion.”

OPRF will be without runner Christina Himelick for at least a few weeks, according to McCabe. Himelick underwent emergency appendectomy surgery on Sept. 19.

“We’re grateful that Christina is doing alright, but it will be weeks before she’s back in the lineup.”

Katherine Rack led the Huskies at Gummerson, finishing second with a time of 18:15. Evangelie Zachos finished eighth in 19:46, while Pauline Lazzeretti finished 16th in 20:07, Sarah Methe 30th in 21:13, and Daiga Eizis 35th in 21:20.

“It was extremely encouraging to see such progress,” said McCabe. “To finish second behind such a really good team as Sandburg is really good work. It’s true that we have our biggest test ahead of us, but it’s nice to be heading into those meets with this under our belts.”

The Huskies now head into a dual meet with Downers Grove North and Hinsdale Central on Thursday. They’ll compete in the always popular Loyola Invitational on Saturday, where teams run along Lake Michigan in downtown Chicago. With the West Suburban (Silver) Conference Meet in just a few weeks, McCabe is hoping her team’s momentum will carry on.

“We’re getting to the final stretch of things, so it’s important the runners remain focused,” she said. “But with the way they’ve handled things lately, I don’t think that will be a problem.”

Boys finish fourth

The OPRF boys cross-country team finished fourth at the Gummerson Invitational held at the same location.

Colin McCarey led the Huskies by finishing 12th in 16:30. Other OPRF team members who finished in the top 30 included Mark Keating (15th, 16:38), Ryan Granholm (16th, 16:43) and Cody Hague (27th, 17:07).

The Huskies finished with 103 points, while Buffalo Grove won the invite with 65.

Fenwick runs to 10th place

Both Fenwick’s girls and boys cross-country teams finished 10th in their respective races at Gummerson.

The Fenwick girls team was led by Vanessa Righeminer, who finished 32nd in 21:16. The boys team was led by Mike Yerkes, who timed out at 17:15 for 36th place.

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Brad Spencer

Brad Spencer has been covering sports in and around Oak Park for more than a decade, which means the young athletes he once covered in high school are now out of college and at home living with their parents...