Junior Michael Michelotti has helped raise expectations for this season’s Oak Park and River Forest High School’s boys cross country team.

The Huskies won the Class 3A Lyons Township Regional Saturday for their first full-team regional title since 2010, and fourth-place Michelotti joined senior race champion Liam Newhart in earning top-five, individual all-regional honors.

Newhart (15:28.7 for 3.1 miles) won the 5K race by 13.5 seconds after being 12th at regionals last season. Michelotti (15:48.4) improved from 31st as a sophomore and last week’s all-conference sixth.

“It just shows where my training is and just gives me a lot of confidence going into the sectionals race,” Michelotti said. 

“There are some very good teams here. It means a lot to me to be able to place fourth. We’re really looking at position as much as we can these next two weeks, trying to stay together, as close as we can to give ourselves the best chance to podium [top three] at state.”

OPRF senior Nick Parrell (6th, 15:55.5 was 1.6 seconds from fifth, followed by senior Owen Augustine (14th, 16:29.4), junior Lewis O’Connor (18th, 16:35.9), sophomore Andrew Harmon (27th, 17:07.1) in his varsity debut and senior Roan Egan (32nd, 17:18.9).

“Those guys put the effort forth,” OPRF coach Chris Baldwin said. “They’re a resilient group of kids and just proud of the effort they put out there. They were running for each other, trying to bring home a regional championship.”

Newhart and Augustine did contribute to OPRF’s two-team regional title in 2019 in which most assigned teams were sidelined by a Chicago Public Schools teachers strike. 

The Huskies (43 points) edged out LTHS (48) and Downers Grove North (49) for Saturday’s victory after taking second at the West Suburban Conference Silver Meet to Hinsdale Central, which won its own regional Saturday. 

The four teams reunite Saturday 10:30 a.m. at the Waubonsie Valley Sectional, the state’s toughest, but all are expected to be among the seven advancing teams. In the final regular-season polls, the Huskies were ranked No. 3 in 3A by both ILXCTF.com and MileSplitIL.com. 

Newhart, second to Hinsdale Central senior Dan Watcke at the Silver Meet, took charge after being among a huge pack of frontrunners in a pretty conservative 10:08 for two miles.

“It was a very relaxed pace and we all felt very comfortable. When I broke apart, I knew that I was able to cover the move and then make my own, which was something we talked about going into the race,” Newhart said.

“Our No. 4 and 5 [runners] stepped up big time. It wasn’t the prettiest race up front, but we took care of business. And that’s all today was about.” 

The OPRF girls, ranked No. 19 by MileSplitIL, are expected to battle for the final two berths, 11:30 a.m., at Waubonsie Valley with No. 11/11 Batavia, No. 28/15 Glenbard West, and Hinsdale Central, No. 18 by MileSplitIL. The top 10 individuals not among the seven advancing teams also qualify for state.

The Huskies (114) were fourth Saturday, five points ahead of Glenbard West.

Junior Katie Stabb was sixth (18:43.1), 0.7 from all-regional honors, followed by junior Lenny Sterritt (16th, 19:31.9), senior Avery Minnis (23rd, 20:00.4), junior Anne Lynch (34th, 20:53.3), sophomore Malie Cassel (35th, 20:53.5), senior Abby Lofgren (38th, 21:16.3) and sophomore Alana Gerona (40th, 21:29.6).

Fenwick/Trinity

The Trinity High School’s cross-country team had an impressive showing at the IHSA Class 2A Hinsdale South regional, Oct. 22, finishing second with 50 points. Fenwick High School came in fifth with 151 points.

The Blazers were led by freshman Molly McGreal, who finished fourth in a time of 20:02.42, meriting all-regional honors.

“She doesn’t let the moment control her,” said Trinity coach Johann Gonzalez. “It’s cool to see Molly having fun out there with her teammates.”

Trinity had two other runners place in the top 10. Senior Amanda McGreal (Molly’s sister) was seventh with a time of 20:24.96, while classmate Ella Miller was tenth in 20:39.08. Junior Myla Roy was 11th in 20:43.56.

Sophomore Jade Morelli (18th, 21:53.73), senior Alexa Gonzalez (26th, 22:25.11), and senior Laura Murphy (42nd, 23:42.06) rounded out the lineup for the Blazers, who rested #2 runner Jasmine Arzuaga.

“Jasmine tweaked her ankle and we didn’t want to take any chances,” Gonzalez said. “The girls did a great job of stepping up.”

Senior Ava Martinez was Fenwick’s top regional runner, placing 17th in a time of 21:47.40. Other Friars competing were sophomore Emma Brennan (29th, 22:46.04), sophomore Kyra Miller (32nd, 22:54.01), senior Molly Weber (36th, 23:06.26), junior Amalia Anderson (37th, 23.19.47), and junior Ireland Reynoso (45th, 24:14.09).

Bella Daley, Fenwick’s leading runner, dropped out midway through the race due to illness.

“Bella was dehydrated,” said Fenwick coach Kevin Roche. “One of our assistants pulled her off the course because she didn’t look good.”

However, Roche expects Daley to be ready for the upcoming sectional.

“She’s training great and we are excited for what’s to come,” he said of his returning All-Stater.

Both Fenwick and Trinity qualified as teams for the Kaneland Sectional, which takes place Oct. 29.

Fenwick boys 

The Fenwick boys team finished second in the Class 2A Hinsdale South regional, Oct. 22, with 52 points.

Dean O’Bryan led the Friars, finishing third in a time of 16:32.59. Grayden Rill came in right behind him in fourth in 16:34.61.

Fenwick’s other runners were Chris Badja (13th, 17:48.40), Finn Munley (15th, 17:52.24), Benicio Carideo (17th, 18:08.21), Jake Leonardi (33rd, 18:31.36), and Aidan Powers (39th, 19:00.47).

The Friars will compete in the Kaneland Sectional on Oct. 29.

Melvin Tate

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