Senior Liam Newhart was part of the Oak Park and River Forest High School boys cross country team’s impressive race in Peoria on Sept. 17, taking third and missing second-place Oswego East senior Parker Nold by 0.2 seconds.

On Sept. 24, Newhart was third again in another strong field at the Palatine Invitational (14 minutes, 48.2 seconds for 3.0 miles), finishing 3.0 seconds ahead of Nold after both moved up the final mile. 

There were nine top-10 ranked Class 3A or 2A teams and two perennially strong out-of-state programs. The Huskies moved up to No. 3 in Class 3A after winning the Peoria Notre Dame Invite on Sept. 17.

“Running with the top guys who are some of the top in the state definitely gives me a lot of confidence going forward,” Newhart said. “This makes me feel good going into the end of the season.” 

The Huskies finished fourth overall at Palatine (175 points), losing out on a sixth-runner tiebreaker with third-place No. 18 Barrington. 

Nick Parrell (13th, 15:08.2), Michael Michelotti (27th, 15:28.5) also earned top-30 individual medals, followed by Owen Augustine (48th, 15:43.8), Lewis O’Connor (86th, 16:07.8), Mariano Escobedo (107th, 16:21.7). 

Dan Johnson dropped out of the race after one mile. Otherwise, the Huskies probably would have finished second ahead of second-place No. 10 Maine South (163) and behind No. 1-ranked Plainfield South (35).

Plainfield South’s Camyn Viger (14:44.8) and Sami Hattab of Kentucky’s St. Xavier (14:45.4) finished 1-2.

The No. 11 OPRF girls were 11th (334), losing out on a sixth runner tiebreaker with No. 12 Palatine. The Huskies improved from being 14th with 353 points at 1.5 miles.

Katie Stabb (17th, 17:36.0) earned a top-30 individual medal, moving up seven places the second half. Natalie Quinn (56th, 18:50.7), Avery Minnis (59th, 18:53.9) and Lenny Sterritt (73rd, 18:58.9) also broke 19:00, followed by Abigail Lofgren (134th, 20:03.2), Anne Lynch (138th, 20:06.7) and Rachel Prestes (147th, 20:17.7).

Fenwick boys 25th at Palatine Invite

The Fenwick High School boys finished 25th (677) and welcomed 2021 all-staters Nate McKillop and Grayden Rill back to the lineup. 

McKillop (30th, 15:29.7) got the last individual medal by 0.4 seconds. Rill was 146th (16:51.6), followed by Chris Bajda (169th, 17:15.1), Benicio Carideo (170th, 17:17.4), Michael Domke (180th, 17:47.3), Jake Leonardi (183rd, 17:57.3) and Dean O’Bryan (199th, 19:08.9).

The Fenwick girls competed four individuals — Bella Daley (48th, 18:46.6), Amalia Anderson (194th, 22:20.4), Molly Weber (195th, 22:21.7) and Adelai Kaiser (201st, 23:19.4).

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