The OPRF boys track and field team turned in an impressive combined finish at the Class 3A State Meet held at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston over the weekend.
Led by Carl Heinz’s first place finish in the high jump (6-10), the Huskies topped out at sixth overall with 27 points.
A thrilling moment came in the 3200-meter run when OPRF’s Malachy Schrobilgen traded elbows with York’s Jack Driggs and Maine South’s David Eckhart. Schrobilgen and Driggs have been competing with one another for years, not only in track but cross-country as well. Driggs, a senior, closed out his high school career with first place in 9:06.25, just an eyelash in front of the junior Schrobilgen (9:06.8) and the senior Eckhart (9:06.9).
“To have one of our juniors in contention to run with a guy like Jack Driggs was really exciting,” said OPRF head coach Tim Hasso. “Malachy went shoulder-to-shoulder with him. To see where he has come over the years to compete against Driggs is amazing. For him to finish second as a junior is simply fantastic.”
Hasso was impressed with his team’s performance down the line, including the 4×800 meter relay team of Evan Fisher, Eunhwan Yoo, Sam Fourman and Grant MacMillan. The group finished sixth in 7:50.11 to score some major points for the team.
“We thought about using [Jack] Stapleton and Malachy in the relay, but this group earned the right to go after it. If you had told me they were going to be All-State back in January, I would have said you were nuts. It was really exciting to see these guys do what they did.”
Others who made an impact for the Huskies included senior Brendan Donley, who outpaced Fenwick’s Steve Blazer to finish fifth in the 800-meter run with a time of 1:53.71. Blazer finished in 1:54.15.
“This was the first team that really bought into the program in years,” said Hasso. “Over the years we’ve had guys doing what they wanted to do to better themselves as individuals. This was the first time where everyone was on board with the team concept, and it was great to see.”
With such a young group coming back that includes Heinz and Schrobilgen, Hasso said the future looks good.
“I wish we could start tomorrow. That’s how excited I am about the future of this program.”