OPRF's JT Lowder swept the hurdles races at the Downers Grove North Invite, winning the 110 hurdles (14.13) and 300 hurdles (39.40). (Courtesy of Tim Hasso)

The OPRF High School boys track and field team has enviable depth. The Huskies’ “strength in numbers” approach was on full display once again at the Bob Cohoon Invitational, hosted by Downers Grove North on Saturday, April 20.

“We’ve finished in the Top 3 of every meet we’ve been in this year,” coach Tim Hasso said. “We are working toward more balance and scoring in every event, but we have had quality results each week so far.”

At Downers Grove North, the Huskies finished second with 81.4 points in the 14-team field. Minooka won the title with a score of 85.

OPRF won titles in the 400-meter relay (42.73 seconds) and 800 relay (1 minute, 30.19 seconds) on the strength of Rapharoah Dallas, Amir Blanchard and Tyrone Clarke. The fourth members were JT Lowder in the 400 and Naz Bryant in the 800.

Lowder dominated in the hurdles as well, winning the 110 in 14.13 and 300 in 39.40. Blanchard showed his versatility by taking the 200 title with a time of 21.82 and second in the 100 with a time of 10.94. Bryant, a football standout for OPRF last fall, placed sixth in the 200 at 23.01.In the 400, the Huskies’ Emmett Perry was sixth (53.48) and Machi Young ninth (54.99).

OPRF also fared well in field events. Seniors Mykolas Saloninas (53 feet, 07 inches) and Keon Gilbert (52-11) earned the top two spots in shot put. Senior Thomas Waith measured 5-10 in high jump for sixth, while OPRF teammates Josh Cotter and Thomas George both cleared 10 feet in pole vault as part of a six-way tie for seventh place.

“Despite the cold and windy conditions, we competed hard and had some outstanding results,” Hasso said. “We were tinkering with our lineup a bit as we approach May and the state series. We’re trying to find the right combinations of guys in the individual events as well as relays.”

The Huskies will take on host Lyons Township and York in a triangular meet on Wednesday, April 24. The meet starts at 4:30 p.m. on the South Campus of Lyons Township.

“At this point in the season, we simply want to get better each week while staying healthy,” Hasso said. “It’s a delicate balance as to when to put the work in and when to pull back a little, but the kids have bought in and are competing hard. I like the direction this team is headed.”

OPRF girls

The Huskies recorded a trio of top 6 finishes in the relay races at the Sue Pariseau Invite, hosted by Glenbard West on Saturday, April 20.

The Huskies’ 800-meter relay team of Jailyn Aceron, Denise Hernandez, Darnesha Fraley and Rachel Rowe led the way with a fourth-place showing in 1:48.51. The 1,600 and 400 teams posted times of 4:14.76 and 51.70, respectively, for fifth and sixth place.

Junior Passion Worsham fared well in the hurdles with a runner-up result in the 100 hurdles (16.04) and she tied for 12th with junior teammate Breana Henry in the 300 hurdles at 51.59 each. OPRF junior Monica Bradford placed sixth in the 100 hurdles with a time of 16.74.

Promising freshman Ayanna Townsend earned 10th in the 400 at 1:03.91.

In field events, several Huskies scored well. Senior Yasmin Ruff tied for first in pole vault, clearing 11-6, Hernandez took fourth in long jump (17-4.75), senior Rachel Rowe was fourth in triple jump (35-01.25) and senior KShari Pittman tied for fifth with two others in high jump (4-11). Sophomore Sarah Katz tied with Barrington senior Sarah Ruesch for seventh in pole vault at 9-6.

OPRF takes part in the Wheaton-Warrenville South Invite on Friday, April 26. The meet starts at 4:30 p.m.

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Marty Farmer

The Illinois Press Association recently honored Marty with the 1st & 2nd Place Awards for Best Sports Feature for his article He's in an Oak Park state of mind: Former OPRF star Iman Shumpert returns...

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