The OPRF boys cross-country team moved up three places from last season’s finish at the Class 3A State Meet held at Detweiller Park in Peoria on Saturday. The Huskies made it back-to-back Top 10 finishes by placing sixth overall this season with two runners finishing in the Top 5.
Weather and course conditions nearly called for an all-time state record to be broken at the meet, but Craig Virgin’s 13:50.6 finish in 1972 remained intact as Sandburg’s Lukas Verzbicas, the defending Class 3A champ, won the race in 13:54, 13 seconds better than his finish the year before.
OPRF’s Jack Stapleton and Malachy Schrobilgen finished fourth and fifth, respectively. Both runners finished with career-best times. Stapleton, a senior, finished with a time of 14:31, while Schrobilgen, OPRF’s consistent top runner all season, came in a second behind.
York took home its 27th state title by placing first as a team with a total score of 162. OPRF, which defeated York on the same course in mid-September, finished with a score of 232.
“This is the highest finish in my 30 years as the head cross country coach,” said OPRF coach Jose Sosa. “Jack and Malachy ran picture perfect races, both sticking to their race strategies, and shadowing each other throughout the race. They moved very smoothly through a very talented field and came away with their best performances of their running careers.”
Other top finishers for the Huskies included seniors Peter Hogenson and Eunhwan Yoo. Hogenson finished 77th with a time of 15:14, while Yoo placed 84th in 15:18.
Michael Gardner, who along with Schrobilgen is a junior, also made a case for next season. Gardner finished 156th out of 208 runners with a time of 15:51. Senior Sam Fourman placed 191st in 16:15.