It was a little give and a little take for the OPRF boys track and field team at the Class 3A St. Ignatius Sectional held at Concordia University Chicago in River Forest last week. The Huskies gave up some individual events in order to take a chance at qualifying all of their relay teams for state.
The strategy paid off as OPRF blew past the competition to secure first place with 131 points, while qualifying every relay for this weekend’s state meet at Eastern Illinois University’s O’Brien Stadium in Charleston. The closest opponent to the Huskies was Mt. Carmel, who finished second with 80 points.
The 4×800-meter relay team, consisting of Evan Fisher, Sam Fourman, Peter Hogenson and Grant McMillan, took first in 8:05.5, a good 14 seconds ahead of second place finisher’s St. Ignatius. Jansen Hicks, Glen Lawrence, Jamal Baggett and Danny Brennan cut things a bit closer in the 4×100 relay. The team edged out Dunbar with a time of 42.49 seconds. Dunbar finished just an eyelash behind in 42.57. The same group, but with Jeff Navy replacing Baggett, took second in the 4×200 with a time of 1:28.16.
Lionel Townes, Lawrence, Brennan and Fisher wrapped up the relays with a first-place win in the 4×400 in 3:22.65.
“A few of our guys had to sacrifice their individual goals, but this is what we set out to do based on the standards set throughout the course of the season,” said OPRF head coach Tim Hasso. “The relays were a priority, and the decisions we made in some places ultimately worked out well for everyone.
“Lionel and Jamal are both only freshman so for them to contribute in a meet like this is awesome,” he added.
As expected, Carl Heinz qualified for state in both the high jump and triple jump events. The junior took first in the high jump with a leap of 6-9. He finished second in the triple jump with a 44-7.
“Carl is another kid who showed how unselfish he is. At the start of the season, he was only going to focus on the high jump event, but as the season progressed he said he could help the team gain some points in meets by competing in the triple jump as well,” said Hasso of his star jumper. “That shows his character.”
Malachy Schrobilgen dominated the 3200-meter run, finishing with a time of 9:09.3. Teammate Jack Stapleton took second and qualified for state in 9:21.6.
Other OPRF athletes who qualified for state included Henry Geraghty in the pole vault event. Geraghty finished second with a vault of 11-6. John Burns finished second in the 300-meter intermediate hurdles with a time of 40.53 seconds, while Peter Hogenson took runner-up in the 1600-meter run in 4:26.77. Brendan Donley finished second to Fenwick’s Steve Blazer in the 800-meter run. Blazer finished with a time of 1:55.48, with Donley a shoestring behind in 1:55.95.
The Huskies begin the Class 3A State Meet with the prelims on Thursday. Hasso said that if all goes well, many of his athletes should be competing in the finals on Saturday.
“All season long we have concentrated on competing on Saturday, so that’s the goal. They’re ready,” he said.