Oak Park-River Forest’s Schrobilgen racing for recordsOak Park-River Forest’s Malachy Schrobilgen leads the pack on the way to a first-place finish at the Peoria Notre Dame Richard Springs Invitational. | Daniel L. Chamness~for Sun-Times Media
Since Malachy Schrobilgen is chasing one of Larry Head’s records, it makes sense that he would set another one.
Schrobilgen, who placed fifth in last year’s IHSA Class 3A state meet, made a triumphant return to Detweiller Park in Peoria Saturday by winning Peoria Notre Dame’s Spring Invitational in a school-record 14:21.
Schrobilgen held off Barrington’s Erik Peterson (14:25) for the win. The last time Schrobilgen faced Peterson was in the state meet, and Peterson placed sixth.
Head held the previous school record of 14:25 in a three-mile race. Schrobilgen is aiming to tie Head as Oak Park-River Forest’s only three-time State medalist. Head placed 25th in 1979, second in 1980 and third in ’81.
Schrobilgen and Sam Watson are the only Huskies to place twice at State. Watson finished 12th in 2001 and eighth in ’02. Schrobilgen placed 19th in 2009 and fifth in ’10.
“Saturday’s race strategy between me and coach (Jose Sosa) worked out,” Schrobilgen said. “I took it right from the gun and pushed the pace. I went 4:38-4:40 in the first mile. I stressed consistency in the second mile and pushed the pace. I could tell Tyler (Yunk of Belvidere North) and Erik fell off the pace.”
Schrobilgen established a new personal record by 11 seconds. He won his second major invitational of the season since winning the season opener in 15:13 at Fenton Sept. 3.
The win at Detweiller Park, site of the state meet, was more impressive, considering Schrobilgen missed the Wauconda Invitational a week earlier to visit a college in Wisconsin. He has narrowed his list of colleges to six or seven, and plans on visiting Syracuse in October.
The Huskies also welcomed back Nicholas Reyes for the first time this season in a major race, as the senior has missed time with an injury and took an ACT exam during the Wauconda race.
Reyes (15:00) was OPRF’s second runner across at Detweiller, placing 18th.
OPRF (262 points) finished seventh in star-studded field of 64 teams, including last year’s Class 3A state champion, York (third place), and last year’s Class 2A state champion, Belvidere North, which placed second. The Spring Invitational champion was Palatine, placing five runners in the top 65.
“I think (Fenton) is a good beginning-of-the season test,” Schrobilgen said. “By getting Fenton out of the way, I can make a game plan for the State course.”
OPRF’s other scorers at Peoria were Adam Wood (80th, 15:37), Andy Drumm (81st, 15:38) and Jacob Decker (85th, 15:39).
The Huskies host their own Gummerson Invitational at Schiller Woods, beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday.