Reese Garland

Oak Park and River Forest High School senior Reese Garland has had a tremendous high school athletic career, competing in volleyball, basketball and track and field.

It’s no wonder that Garland, who will attend the University of Southern California in the fall, won this year’s female Athletic Medal from the OPRF Athletic Council at a special ceremony held in the school May 17.

“It feels awesome,” Garland said. “All the hard work over the past four years has paid off, and to get recognized is an awesome surprise.”

Garland fell in love with USC’s campus and decided that was where she wanted to compete collegiately in track and field.

“USC produces athletes and Olympians,” she said. “The coaches and everyone there were nice, and I just knew that was going to be my home.”

Garland says she’ll cherish her time as a Huskie student-athlete.

“It was a really good experience,” she said. “It was a lot of fun and I made a lot of friends. Not a lot of people get that experience of playing three sports, and I’m excited I was able to do it.”

OPRF’s Kole Sneed competing in 2022, during the OPRF wrestling invitational at Oak Park and River Forest High School. | FILE

OPRF senior Kole Sneed, a University of St. Thomas football signee, won the male Athletic Medal.

The OPRF Athletic Council, a committee comprising faculty and alumni, also named its Athletes of the Year. Senior Emmett Harmon (boys swimming) won male honors, while Grace Koch (girls lacrosse) won female honors.

Boys wrestler Roman Pantazopoulos won the Lee Caruthers Memorial Award for inspirational athlete as he overcame leukemia to compete on the mat this season. And girls wrestling coach Fred Arkin was named Coach of the Year.

Both awards are given annually by the OPRF Athletic Department.

Also at the ceremony, the following senior student-athletes signed their collegiate letters of intent to continue their playing careers:

Patrick Carmody, baseball, Illinois Wesleyan University

J.P. Ferraro, baseball, Illinois Wesleyan University

Reese Garland, track and field, University of Southern California

Francis Heinzmann, baseball, Joliet Junior College

Paul Kitch, basketball, Benedictine University

Audrey McKenna, field hockey, College of Wooster

Eva Mills, dance, University of South Carolina

Isabella Morales, softball, Salem College

Rodney Murphy, basketball, Illinois Institute of Technology

Natalie Quinn, cross-country/track and field, George Washington University

Cole Robertson, football, Jacksonville State University

Peyton Wernet, bowling, St. Louis University

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