By Bob Skolnik
A strange, but successful, season for the Riverside-Brookfield High School boys cross country team ended not with a bang but with stunned disappointment.
Last week, just four days before the IHSA Regional meet, the team was informed that they could not run and that they all had to quarantine, because one team member had tested positive for COVID 19.
The team got the word Oct. 20 in a group message, just a few hours after what coach Tony Enright termed perhaps the best practice of the season.
"As soon as I found out [about the positive test] I alerted the administration. They followed up, they made the call to keep everyone safe," Enright said. "Our guys are disappointed, but they're more supportive of the runner that has it and following up to see how he's feeling, and he's doing a little bit better each day."
If they had been able to run at the regional meet on Oct. 24, the team would have likely qualified for the season-ending sectional meet. RBHS had been ranked 15th in the state in Class 2A, the division for medium-sized schools, by the website Milesplit.
"Safety first; it's a tough situation," said Brendan Curtin, the associate principle for athletics at RBHS. "I think it makes it tougher, because I think we had a pretty strong team."
A week before, on Oct, 17, the Bulldogs finished second in the Metro Suburban League conference meet with freshman Cooper Marrs turning in an astounding performance becoming the conference champion by winning the race with a time of 15 minutes, 36 seconds over three miles on a windy day in Kankakee.
Junior Paul Proteau, who has traded off with Marrs all season as the team's top runner, finished second in 15:51. Wheaton St. Francis won the meet and dealt the Bulldogs their only loss of the season by placing five runners in the top 10.
Sophomore Alex Terry finished 15th for the Bulldogs (16:55), while freshman Hayden Marrs, Cooper's twin brother, finished 16th (16:59) and senior Peter Kallas finished 17th (17:04).
Wheaton St. Francis went on to finish second at the regional meet where the top five teams qualified for the sectional.
The future looks very bright for the boys cross country team as they had only two seniors, Kallas and Cruz Herrera, in their top seven. Three freshmen were in the Bulldogs' varsity top seven, which is very unusual in boys cross country. Freshman Jack O'Brien finished 26th at the conference meet at 17:36.
RBHS' Pacourek advances to sectionals
The RBHS girls team was able to run at the regional meet held at Cantigny Park in Wheaton on Oct. 24.
Sophomore Bryce Pacourek advanced to Saturday's sectional as an individual by finishing eighth with a time of 19:46.1 over the three-mile course. The girls team finished eighth out of nine teams in the team standings.
Junior Carmen Guerrero was the Bulldogs' second runner, finishing 31st with a time of 21:48.7. Sophomore Mia Wagner finished 43rd in 22:56.6. The final four runners for the Bulldogs finished one right after another with junior Molly Raymond finishing 47th in 23:09.5, senior Lena Brockway 48th at 23:14.1, senior Viktoria Hansen 49th at 23:23 and senior Samantha Perez finishing 50th at 23:26.4.