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Last spring, Travis Trevizo, John Kingzette, Alex Amaya and Keegan Buttimer carried the Riverside-Brookfield High School 3,200-meter relay team to a historic third place finish in the IHSA boys track and field state finals. That quartet became the first-ever RBHS relay team to medal at state, and they set a new school record with a scintillating time of 7 minutes, 54.25 seconds.
If the Bulldogs celebrate another magical run this spring, perhaps their recently completed solid indoor campaign will serve as the foundation. RBHS took third place at the Metro Suburban Conference Championships hosted by Fenton on March 13 and also notched a fourth-place showing at the Lemont Invite on March 17.
Alex Huffhines, a 6-foot-6 senior, recorded leaps of 6 feet, 1inch in the high jump at both tournaments to capture a pair of first-place medals and score 35 points overall.
At the MSC Indoor, Trevizo finished first as well in the 800 meters with a time of 2:11, while David Swon (long jump) and Caylon Cutts (triple jump) also medaled. Freshman Marvin McKenzie enjoyed an outstanding debut performance with medals in the 50-yard dash, long jump and four-lap relay.
"Obviously, the two big names back for us this year are Travis Trevizo and John Kingzette," said third-year head coach Tim Olson. "I think we have several other guys like Caylon Cutts in the triple jump and Alex Huffhines in the high jump who could qualify for state. And we have a freshman in Marvin McKenzie who is a special talent."
In Lemont, the Bulldogs' 3,200 relay team of Trevizo, Spencer Purcell, Chris Dziagwa and Kingzette ran a time of 8:38 - good for second place.
With all-conference winners like Trevizo, Kingzette, Huffhines, Cutts and Bryce Bartlett back in the fold, Olson has plenty of experience and talent to field another strong outdoor squad.
"Our goals are similar every year, which is to do as well as we can in conference and qualify an many individuals and relay teams as possible for state," Olson said. "Glenbard South is the clear-cut favorite in our conference, but we should field a very competitive team."
RB girls 6th at MSC indoor
Although the RBHS girls track and field team only competed in the Metro Suburban Conference Championships during the indoor season, coach Michelle Koehler is excited about the team's potential for a strong outdoor campaign.
The Bulldogs captured sixth place, scoring 16 points in the MSC indoor event held on March 15 at Glenbard South. Top performer Maggie McLaughlin took second place in the 3,200-meter run with a time of 12:45, while Danielle Witken (7-0 in the pole vault) and Janae Dabney (13-7.5 in the long jump) both garnered a fifth-place finish in field events. Jackie LaBelle leaped 4-6 in the high jump for seventh place, while Claire Bollnow finished seventh in the 1,600 meter run (6:09).
"A lot of our girls are still recovering from winter sports or injuries," said Koehler, who shares head coaching duties with Bob Bensfield. "We have a very young team with a lot of juniors new to track and field, as well as freshman. There's a learning atmosphere this season."
With so many fresh faces in the mix, the Bulldogs thankfully return 10 seniors for leadership and experience. Sprinter Cynina Mason, who runs the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes along with relays, has appeared downstate every year since her freshman campaign.
McLaughlin, a state qualifier in cross-country, is a skilled one-mile and two-mile runner. Another senior poised to make an impact in the middle distance events is Katy Linhart, who will split time playing for the RBHS soccer team as well.
Juniors Miranda Ryan and Alma Rodriguez will likely comprise half of the Bulldogs' 3,200 relay team, while Witken (sprinter, pole vaulter), Bollnow and sophomore Sarah Melone will also see action in the lineup. Freshmen Renee Kunkel, LaBelle and Dabney offer plenty of upside particularly in field events.
The boys and girls track teams will host the Annual Gary Johnson Bulldog Relays welcoming in 11-team and 12-team fields, respectively, on Saturday, April 7 at 10 a.m. at Shuey Stadium.
"It's a great way to start off the season," Koehler said. "It's really a highlight of our outdoor season, and we always get a great crowd."