By Marty Farmer
Beating the heat proved as difficult as running past opponents at the Riverside-Brookfield Invitational on Friday, Sept. 14 at Sundown Meadows in Countryside.
"The weather was hot," RBHS boys cross country coach Larry Forberg said. "We had a few athletes that were light-headed afterwards, but thankfully our athletic trainer, Mr. Hidalgo, was there to help the athletes. He did an outstanding job."
The Bulldogs dealt with tough conditions and competition well, earning third in the girls race and fourth in the boys.
Seniors Tara Janney and Nadia Kaczmarz powered RBHS with a pair of top 10 times. Janney recorded a time of 20:16.3 (6th) and Kaczmarz 20:26.5 (8th) as the Bulldogs scored 91 points. Senior Cora Lutes (21:33.1/20th), senior Melissa Oliveira (21.51.5/27th), junior Emma Fortman (22:31.6/39th) and freshman Riley Gagne (22:35/41st) were the team's other top runners.
The RBHS boys team took fourth place (117) amid a strong field of teams. Senior Josh Ranft led the Bulldogs with a time of 17:38.3, good for 16th place. Fellow senior David Keen came in 20th at 17:50.1.
Freshman Paul Proteau ran an excellent race, with a time of 18:03.9 to finish 22nd. Senior Conor Raymond (18:21.6/27th), sophomore Quinn Van Nice (18:32/34th), junior Nick Aguirre (18:46.5/38th) and junior Steve Haley (18:47./39th) placed among the top 40.
"We ran well in both the boys varsity and junior varsity races," Forberg said. "On the varsity level, we were led by seniors Josh Ranft and David Keen who finished first and second for our team. Quinn Jacquat and Cruz Herrera led the JV squad.
"We are running strong and the team is eager to improve. We hope that each day we find something to improve upon, making us the best possible version of ourselves."
Although RBHS hosted the invite, Fenwick might as well have called the event its own. The Friars dominated the action with a first-place showing by the girls team and second-place result by the boys squad.
The Fenwick girls won in convincing fashion with a score of 34, well ahead of runner-up Lemont (56), RBHS (91), Glenbard North (96) and Joliet Central (145) in the 11-team field. The Friars placed five of the top 11 runners and produced eight medalists in the three-mile trail at Sundown Meadows in Countryside.
Junior Marie O'Brien led the way with a time of 20 minutes, 06.8 seconds to earn fourth place. Senior Laura Durkin (20:08.8/5th), sophomore Maria Quinn (20:29.9/9th), senior Arlene Amaya (20:32/10th) and sophomore Katie Cahill (20:33.4/11th) also contributed impressive times for Fenwick. Freshman Mikaela Burns and sophomore Delaney Seligmann posted times of 21:20.9 and 21.45.1, respectively, good for 16th and 25th. Senior Mary Bridget Donahue came in 29th at 21:56.4.
Powered by seven all-conference runners in 2017, Fenwick finished second in its conference and regional. The Friars appear on track for similar success this fall.
Displaying program depth, the Fenwick junior varsity girls team scored 48 points, besting 13 other teams to win an RB Invite title as well. JV medalists included Alexa Haeflinger (5th), Mia Scharpf (8th), Ashley Bisaillon (10th), Emelia Elgeness (12th), Abbie Rogowski (13th), Camille Nourie (14th), Molly McCann (17th), Maggie O'Malley (18th), Amaya Gonzalez (24th) and Alex Pavalon (25th).
On the boys' side, Fenwick seniors Joe Wermes recorded a time of 16:55.9 to finish fifth and senior Owen Filbin a time of 17:01.3 for ninth.
The Friars came in second with a score of 59, trailing only Morton (19) which fielded the top three finishers. In addition to Wermes and Filbin, senior Jared Wermes (17:32/13th), senior Eric Janc (17:32.8/15th), junior Chris Brady (17:39/17th) and senior Tyler Cassaro (18:34/35th) scored well for Fenwick.
Led by junior Alfonso Acevdeo (17:43.2/18th), OPRF notched seventh place with 198 points in the team standings. Junior Declan Collins (19:01.9/44th), senior Simon Petrick (19:05.1/48th) and junior Oliver Green (19:10.4/50th) finished among the top 50.
While Trinity didn't score as a team, individual entrants Alexis Cohn and Kate Foley scored very well for the Blazers. Cohn came in third with a time of 19:56.4, while Foley earned 12th with a time of 20:37.8.
"The invite went smoothly," Forberg said. "The other teams seemed pleased with the course and the attention to details to ensure a successful invite.
"A handful of coaches mentioned they love running our course because it is an old fashion cross country course, and not track on grass. We have hills, paths through forests, grass and crushed limestone surfaces. We finish on a hill. It's a rough but rewarding course."