For years, Oak Park-River Forest High School Coach Tim Hasso has built up his program using a simple model…by doing it the same way that conference rival does York does it. “We have tried to do it the same way that they have. They are very successful at it.”
On Friday night, the Huskies overcame some stiff obstacles early in the meet to over take the host Dukes and win the West Suburban Conference Silver title in Elmhurst.
“We had 2 false starts. We had a disqualification in the 4 x 200 Meter Relay,” said Hasso. “These kids overcame that and showed character tonight.”
What also came out from Oak Park is that they should be considered a serious threat to upend Lake Park’s two year stranglehold on the 3A title this May in Charleston. At the Joe Newton Fieldhouse on Friday night, two of their brightest stars stepped up to lead their team.
Returning state High Jump Champion Carl Heinz did what he was expected to do in his signature event. He entered the competition at 6’ 6”, after all his competitors were out and cleared 6’ 8” to win the event. He went over to the Triple Jump and won the event with a jump of 43’ 10”, nearly a foot behind his previous seasonal best of 45’ 2”.
Distance all-stater Malachy Schrobilgen showed that he is recovered from an Achilles injury that hampered him in December by winning both of the distance races that he entered. In the 3200 Meter Run, he stayed on the shoulder of Downers Grove North’s Kevin Proffitt and pulled away in the last half mile to win by 6 seconds in 9:27.53.
“You have to give props to Proffitt,” Schrobilgen said afterwards. “No one was willing to take the pace out and he did. All I wanted to do was just win.” It was also a matter of saving enough energy for later in the evening in the 1600 Meter Run and going up against All State Miler Mike Lederhouse of Glenbard West. Lederhouse proved that he was ready for the challenge by running a 1:58.3 opening leg on Glenbard West’s 4 x 800 squad at the beginning of the meet.
What was expected to be a fast race turned into a tactical affair. No one wanted to push the pace early. In fact, the opening 400 was run by the pack in 69 seconds. The sophomore race before that went out faster. Over the next 400, Profitt, doubling back from the 3200, picked up the pace a little, but there was a strong pack together as they passed 800 in a pedestrian 2:16.
The race started at that point. Lederhouse went to stretch out the pace. Schrobilgen responded and was right on the Glenbard West runner’s right shoulder. Also respnding were the York duo of Billy Clink and Chris May and Proffitt as well. What once was a pack was now a strung out line.
With 450 meters to go, Schrobilgen shot by Lederhouse with a move that he could not respond to. May went past Lederhouse and went after the Oak Park senior. The gap was too big as Schrobilgen won the race by over 2 seconds over a surprising May with Lederhouse having to settle for 3rd. Schrobilgen ran his last 400 in 61 seconds.
“The pace kind of fell into place for me,” Schrobilgen said. “The pace got progressively quicker. That’s the way I like to race.”
What Oak Park found on Friday night was a third star. Evan Fisher captured the 800 Meter crown leading from wire to wire and winning by more than a second over York’s Matthew Plowman. Fisher came back 30 minutes later in the 600 Meter Dash and pulled away in the 2nd lap to win in a PR of 1:24.60. he capped off a fine night by running a 50.8 anchor to lead his quartet to victory in the 4 x 400 Meter Relay.
After the race was over, Fisher walked back to his team area. His teammates were yelling “Fisher….M.V.P!!!” He deserved that yell on this night.
Oak Park’s other win was a surprise. Harrison Gay got off to a great start in the 55 Meter High Hurdles and had enough to win over pre race favorite Matt Harris of Lyons Township. Harris won early in the Long Jump with a leap of 23’ 2”.
Perhaps the biggest performance of the evening belonged to Paul Golen of York HS in the Shot Put. He was having a tough night trying to find his technique early in the competition. After the fifth round, he was in third, trailing Tom Schutt of Glenbrad West and Ryan Callen of Hinsdale Central. On his last effort, Golen let out a scream as he relased the shot. It went beyond the 50’ mark on the field house floor. His put of 54’ 10” was the 2nd farthest throw in the state. While he jumped around in jubilation, he realized Callen and Schutt still had a final throw.
Callen went first and his shot was out there close to where Golen was. However, it was 3 inches behind the York athlete. Schutt, an all-state football player, could not catch Golen either with his last effort 6 inches behind. Golen let out a sigh of relief and continued on with his celebration.
On the track, the performance of the night belonged to Jordan Munar of Downers Grove North. Munar, who said afterwards he was more relaxed after two false starts rocked the finals of the 55 Meter Dash, zoomed out of the blocks and finished in 6.51, the fourth fastest time in the state.
45 minutes later, Munar trailed after the first two hundred of the 400 meters. He rallied on the back stretch and pulled away from Connor Furlong of Hinsdale Central to win by over a second. In his thrird race of the night, he powered out of the blocks to easily win the 200 Meters by close to a second over Jamal Payton of Proviso West.
The most exciting finish of the night was in the 4 x800 Meter Relay. Billy Clink of York came from behind in the last 100 meters to pass Oak Park’s Nick Reyes in the final 30 meters to pull of the win for the Dukes. Clinks split was 2:00.1
The only record of the evening came in the Pole Vault. York’s Nick Sgarbosa admitted after his event that he was in the doctor’s office earlier in the day suffering from a flu that had hamered him the last two days. Sgarbosa over came the adversity and set a conference record with a clearance of 15’ 3”.