Zack Gaynor

Another year together should help the Riverside-Brookfield High School boys cross country team all the way around. 

Besides returning six runners from last season’s fifth-place finish at the IHSA Class 2A state meet (235 points), Jack Brady was a late hire as head coach in 2021.

The Bulldogs were ranked No. 2 preseason to Grayslake Central in 2A by MileSplitIL and No. 3 by ILXCTF. 

 “I know that their expectations of themselves is pretty high,” Brady said. “They’ve got some pretty lofty goals.” 

Besides the lifetime-best, third-place state race by graduated Paul Proteau, junior Cooper Marrs (22nd, 15:18.01 for 3.0 miles) earned top-25 all-state honors by overcoming exhaustion to stagger past the finish line. 

Cooper Marrs

Junior Jack O’Brien (30th, 15:39.90) was 14.87 seconds from 25th, followed by juniors Hayden Marrs (139th) and Will Kallas (142nd), senior Zack Gaynor (158th) and junior Brennan Lester (195th).

Key varsity newcomers include sophomore Brady Norman and juniors Evan McMullen and Misaael Herrera. Kallas currently is recovering from a stress fracture.

At the season-opening Trial on the Trail on Aug. 24 at Elmwood Park, the Bulldogs were edged by Glenbard South 30-34 for the title. 

Cooper Marrs (9:49.7) won the 2.0-mile race by 22.1 seconds with O’Brien (10:28.2) and Gaynor (10:34.5) third and fourth and Hayden Marrs 11th (11:08.3). Norman (10:45.4) won the frosh-soph race for the victorious Bulldogs (51 points).

RBHS girls cross country

Bryce Pacourek

The Riverside-Brookfield High School girls cross country team advanced senior Bryce Pacourek and sophomore Gianna Gelb as individual qualifiers for the 2021 IHSA 2A girls state meet.

With their entire sectional lineup returning, the Bulldogs are poised to take the next step.

In the preseason 2A polls, they were ranked No. 13 by ILXCTF and a team to watch by MileSplitIL. 

In her state return to Peoria last fall, Pacourek was 72nd (18:58.33 for 3.0 miles) and Gelb was 151st (19:45.42). She ran a season best at state and missed her lifetime best by just nine seconds. 

Gianna Gelb

At the 2021 Class 2A Fenton Sectional, Gelb (31st) and Pacourek (37th) were the final two state-qualifying individuals. The Bulldogs were 10th (227 points), three places and 58 points from the last state team-qualifying berth. 

Juniors Maria Dalton and Lily Kocourek, seniors Jojo Rodriguez and Mia Wagner and junior Maiana Nelson return from the sectional lineup. Others to watch include senior returnee Ava Connerty and freshman Abby Ford.

At the season-opening Elmwood Park Trial on the Trail on Aug. 24, RBHS (45) was second to Nazareth (36). Pacourek took second (12:25.4 for 2.0 miles) and Kocourek (10th), Dalton (11th) and Rodriquez (14th) also were top 15. Gelb was third in the frosh-soph race (13:36.3) with the 16th fastest time overall.