The Riverside-Brookfield High School boys track and field team competed in the Friar Invitational short-handed last week.
“We were missing a lot of kids because of the prom,” RBHS coach Tim Olson said. “We didn’t try to set anything up to win a particular level [at the Friar Invite], we just tried to get as many kids involved as possible.”
The strategy paid off as several athletes performed well.
Juniors John Glover and Mateo Nunez turned in the most notable results for RBHS.
Glover won the 110-meter high hurdles in 16.32 seconds and the 300 hurdles in 43.10. His pair of first-place finishes was particularly impressive considering a lack of recent inactivity due to injury.
“Glover was coming off a hamstring injury and really hasn’t run for two weeks,” Olson said. “It’s really promising that he was able to perform so well and not reaggravate (the injury) or hurt himself. I think his best meets are yet to come.”
Nunez won the 1,600 (4:36.07) and finished second in the 3,200 (9:39.09).
“Mateo has been a workhorse for us all year,” Olson said. “He doesn’t like losing, so he came out pretty determined in the [1,600 meters]. He was leading the [3,200 meters] for a good stretch, but the kid from Fenwick [Jack Darrow] had a real nice finish to win the race.
“Mateo is a little kid who doesn’t look like much, but on the track he’s one of the toughest competitors I’ve coached.”
In the 1,600, RBHS sophomore Jack Sagan finished second behind Nunez with a time of 4:49.77.
The Bulldogs’ best result in the relays occurred in the 3,200 race. Freshman Josh Ranft and sophomores Angel Alarcon, Connor O’Brien and Sagan came in second (8:30.59) behind St. Viator (8:18.79).
“That was a great effort by those guys,” Olson said. “They broke our school record for the best sophomore 3,200 time.”
While their younger talent was on full display at the Friar Invitational, Olson values the importance of senior leaders like Dean Zigulich, Zach Witken, Jeremiah Clarkson and Andrew LeMesurier.
“We only have five seniors but what we lack in quantity is made up for with high quality athletes,” Olson said. “Our seniors have won three straight conference titles in a row. They are very focused on making it four in a row but will need help from the underclassmen.”
Zigulich, a three-sport athlete at RBHS, is an all-conference pole vaulter.
“Dean has done a lifetime [personal record] in the pole vault of 12 feet, 6 inches,” Olson said. “He just missed 13 feet which puts him right in the conversation for a state qualifying height of 13-7. I think he has a good chance of getting downstate this season.”
Witken runs the 400 and 800, Clarkson competes in the sprint relays and 300 hurdles, and LeMesurier is the lone senior among a very talented group of distance runners.
The Bulldogs have a handful of regular season meets left before the Metro Suburban Conference Championship on May 13.
After the conference meet, RBHS will compete in the Morton Sectional in Class 3A on May 20, with hopes of qualifying as many athletes as possible to the state finals at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston.
“Truthfully, in the past I have looked ahead because the group we graduated had multiple years of success getting downstate,” Olson said. “With this group, the focus is on just trying to get better every day at practice.
“We’re also in a pretty good place physically. The people we need to contribute should be healthy at the end of the year.”
Dimailig leads Fenwick
Senior Gregory Dimailig finished first in the 100 (12.02) and second in the 200 (23.58).
In one of the best races of the day, the Friars’ Jack Darrow edged RBHS junior Mateo Nunez to win the 3,200. Darrow crossed the finish line at 9:38.31, followed by Nunez at 9:39.09.
Other notable performers included Joe Cozzi (second in the 800/2:03.72), Patrick Barnett (third in the 1,600/4:50.31), Riley Mullen (third in the 3,200/10:17.39) and DeShawn Barr (fourth in the 300 hurdles/52.83).
The quartet of Darrow, Barnett, Brendan Copp and Cozzi recorded a time of 3:39.54 to earn second in the 1,600 relay.
In the varsity team standings, St. Viator won the Friar Invite with 144 points, followed by Notre Dame (115), Fenwick (112), RBHS (93), St. Patrick (60) and Legal Prep Charter Academy (14).
Notre Dame won the frosh-soph level with a score of 174, while RBHS (142) was second and Fenwick third (132).