Erin Schrobilgen has had pretty good success at the site of Saturday’s Class 3A Sectional at Niles West.
Oak Park-River Forest’s top girls cross country runner has advanced each of the last two years out of the Niles West Sectional and hopes to be on track for another state meet berth when the sectional begins at 1:30 p.m. in Skokie.
Schrobilgen, a junior, was the fourth of seven qualifying individuals out of last year’s sectional with a 16th-place finish. In 2010, she did even better as the third individual during her freshman season and placed ninth overall.
Schrobilgen and the rest of her teammates advanced to the sectional on Saturday with a fifth-place finish at the Lake Park Regional in Roselle. The Huskies scored 123 points behind Schrobilgen’s ninth-place finish (18:09.9). One of OPRF’s biggest surprises was freshman Haley Thompson (18:52.2) to come across as the team’s second runner in one of the first varsity meets of her career. Thompson was a top-20 finisher overall.
The Huskies will struggle to qualify for state as team in a sectional that features state favorites New Trier, West Suburban Silver champion Glenbard West, and York, Maine South and Glenbrook North.
“I was pretty happy with my race [Saturday],” Schrobilgen said. “It was a fast course. They are all fast courses. I knew I was running a fast time. I know I have a lot more in me.”
For the second consecutive week, Schrobilgen will be running on a campus course. The Lake Park Regional is run around the school’s east campus. Niles West is held at the school grounds around the athletic fields with a finish inside the football field.
The Huskies will be seeking their first state team berth since 2006. Schrobilgen, who is a starting soccer player in the spring, has been the only Huskies runner in the state meet the last two seasons. She placed 81st at state a year ago and was 61st as a freshman.
Schrobilgen has been a regular among top-five finishers in many of her major meets this season. She was fifth in the conference meet at Schiller Woods, third at OPRF’s Gummerson Invitational and fourth in the Royal Cadet at Marmion in Aurora.
The addition of Thompson has been a boost. Schrobilgen has found a workout partner for after school runs.
“She is a phenomenal runner, especially in the last part of the season,” Schrobilgen said. “She has been running with me during workouts and I look forward to seeing her run in the sectional.”