Riverside-Brookfield High School senior Paul Proteau enjoyed quite a breakthrough from his fastest 1,600-meter run ever at the 2021 IHSA Class 3A boys track and field state meet.
Proteau hopes for perhaps even greater success after his second-fastest 1,600 on April 29 in 4 minutes, 30.02 seconds to win Homewood-Flossmoor’s Dick Beebe Invite.
At last year’s state meet, Proteau ran a personal-best 4:20.76 for 13th place, dropping 13.48 seconds from sectionals.
“[The April 29 race] was definitely a step forward. It’s been going a bit sluggish. Hopefully I’m in good shape for conference and sectionals,” Proteau said. “I hope I can get close to that [4:20] at sectionals. That was a great race, definitely unexpected. I think it’s doable again.”
Proteau also anchored RBHS’ winning 3,200 relay (8:25.81) at H-F with Jack O’Brien, James Dalton and Will Kallas by more than two minutes after being given a fairly comfortable lead.
Muhammad Salem (10-8 in pole vault) and Dalton (400 in 53.39) were third, O’Brien (1,600 in 4:33.88) was fourth, Luke Smithing was fifth in the 300 intermediate hurdles (42.87) and seventh in the 110 high hurdles (17.34) and Zach Gaynor (800 in 2:07.94) was sixth.
Proteau, who will run collegiately at Wisconsin-Oshkosh, just missed the 4:20.70 manual-time school record at state. In cross country, he again stepped up at state last November by taking third in Class 2A with a personal-best time.
“That was a fun race. I was aiming for fifth,” Proteau said. “The 4:20 was a great conclusion to that [track] season.”
The top two sectional finishers qualify for state as well as entries that achieve state-qualifying standards at the meet. This year, RBHS is joined by distance powerhouse Lyons Township at the Morton Sectional on May 18. In decent conditions, Proteau will probably need to achieve the 4:23.68 qualifying standard at the meet, unlike 2021.
“Sectionals for sure will be really competitive,” Proteau said. “There’s definitely a lot of pressure to go back to run the state meet. If I don’t qualify, I know I’ve had a great high school career.”
The Bulldogs (19-2, 7-0 in Metro Suburban Conference) made it 17 straight victories on May 2 as pitcher Jack Niekrasz (5-1) threw a two-hit shutout in a 10-0, five-inning victory over Ridgewood. Rex Dockendorf and Owen Murphy both doubled with two hits and two runs batted in.
RBHS defeated Aurora Christian 7-1 on April 28, Joliet Catholic 3-0 on April 27 and Elmwood Park 14-1 on April 26.
Against Joliet Catholic, Murphy pitched his second perfect game this season along with 18 strikeouts. Murphy (triple), Connor Chapulis and Dockendorf had two hits and Ryan Novak doubled.
Murphy now is 5-0 with no earned runs and just four hits allowed in 34 innings along with 88 strikeouts, one walk and one hit batter. He’s also hitting .525 with 12 homers and 49 RBIs.
Cooper Marrs (.420, 16 RBIs), Sean McDermott (.377, 21 RBIs), Dockendorf (.362, 14 RBIs) and Jake Tyler (.353, 15 RBIs), Ryan Novak (.322, 18 RBIs) and leadoff hitter Luke Yachnin (.328, 32 runs) are among other top hitters.
Novak (3 for 4, double, 2 RBIs), McDermott (2 for 3, 2 RBIs) and Marrs (2 for 3, double) led the victory over Aurora Christian. Wyatt Murphy (5-0, 1.20 ERA) threw a complete-game three-hitter with nine strikeouts.
Murphy (double) was 3 for 4 against Elmwood Park. Dockendorf (triple) and McDermott had two hits and Marrs contributed three RBIs.
The Bulldogs (8-4, 4-3 in MSC) had two five-inning victories in defeating St. Edward 14-0 on April 28 and Ridgewood 20-5 on April 26.
Zoe Levine hit two home runs en route to six RBIs against Ridgewood, and Emily Organ was 4 for 4 with four RBIs. Lianna Noel (3 for 3, 2 RBIs) and Organ (3 for 4, 2 RBIs) excelled against St. Edward.
Pitchers Ellary Hastings and Mariah Urbina worked both games and combined on a one-hitter against St. Edward.
Injured senior Hannah Organ rejoined the batting order April 28 with one at-bat. She is hoped to resume pitching this week.
RBHS girls track and field
RBHS junior Bryce Pacourek won the 3,200 (12:29.16) by 44.28 seconds at T Oak Forest Invite on April 28. The Bulldogs (29 points) were ninth.
Aja McKay was second in high jump (4-9), Remy Hilpp was fourth in pole vault (7-6) and sixth in triple jump (31-11.5), Gianna Gelb (800 in 2:36.73), Lily Kocourek (1,600 in 5:56.56) and the 3,200 relay (Gelb, Kocourek, Maria Dalton, Maia Nelson in 11:25.89) were fifth and Joaliz Rodriguez (300 low hurdles in 53.97) was sixth.
RBHS boys volleyball
The Bulldogs (10-15) had a frustrating day at the Hersey Invite on April 30, losing all five matches with three going three sets.
RBHS lost to South Elgin 25-17, 17-25, 16-14; Lakes 25-22, 25-23; Hersey 25-17, 25-17; Glenbrook South 21-25, 25-13, 16-14; and Conant 22-25, 25-14, 15-6.
Tournament leaders were Michael Burns (47 kills), Kenny Fedorski (20 kills, 30 digs), Landon Harazin (92 assists), Ryan Buckley (37 digs) and Angel Herrera (8 total blocks).
Against South Elgin, Burns’ 16 kills was his second-highest match total this season and Buckley had 14 digs. Fedorski (12 digs) and Burns (11 kills) reached double digits against Glenbrook South.
The Bulldogs are 2-2 in Metro Suburban Conference play after the close 25-19, 23-25, 27-25 loss Wheaton Academy on April 26. Buckley had a single-match best 15 digs.
The RBHS girls (2-5) lost to Fenwick 15-7 on April 26 and Lyons Township 21-7 on April 27. The Bulldogs’ goal distribution in both games came from Ava Regan (4 goals, 36 for season), Maggie Durkin (2 goals, 22 for season) and Alyssa Pencak (goal).
The RBHS boys (3-8) defeated Northside 13-0 on April 25 and lost to Hinsdale Central 13-3 on April 26.
RBHS girls soccer
The Bulldogs (7-8-2, 5-1 in MSC) earned their second straight victory by shutout with a 3-0 victory over Aurora Central Catholic Thursday.
RBHS water polo
The RBHS girls (8-15) won their second straight by beating St. Charles East 18-9 April 26.
The RBHS boys (12-10) lost to St. Ignatius 19-11 on May 2.