HP Wins the CSL North!Tuesday, October 18 2022 - CSL Invite
The CSL Invite for cross country includes 12 teams with 6 from both the North and South divisions. The meet is scored separately by division to determine individual award winners and team champions. Highland Park knew coming into the meet that each race would be challenging. The team hoped to be at or near the top of all 4 boys races. It was going to be an uphill battle with several athletes dealing with illnesses. Those that were able to compete were ready and excited to race.
The first race at GBN on the cold and windy morning was the freshmen 2 mile. Daniel Doyle got out very well. He got passed by a Deerfield runner that pulled away, but battled with 2 other CSL North runners throughout the race. He ended up taking 2nd place for the division in 11:51.09. Henry Gamson had a great race to take 6th place for the division. He ran an 18 second personal best with a time of 12:00.22. This is an impressive time since his timed mile in August was 6:43 and now he is running 2 miles at 6:00 pace. Josh Brown was not feeling well, but still fought hard to finish in 8th place. He ran 12:10.60 despite being sick. Logan Liu had an impressive race as he continued to show how much all of his hard work has been paying off. He ran 12:23.45 for a 28 second personal best and a 10th place finish. That gave HP 4 finishers in the top 10.
Harvey Hayes ran very well as he stepped up for the 5th spot. He ran the 2 mile course in 13:01.83. He just missed winning an award (top 14), placing 16th in the division. Hayes has shown tremendous improvement after running 7:39 for his timed mile in August. Emmit Boxer was right behind Hayes in 13:02.94 for 18th place. This was a 21 second improvement from his race at Deerfield a few weeks ago. Lowell Redmond returned from a minor hip injury to take 21st place. He ran 13:18.75 which shows great improvement for this hard working freshman. His timed mile in August was only 7:54.
Spencer Pedraza has come back strong after being sick recently and ran a 14:17.55. Compared to his 8:05 timed mile in August, this current two mile time averages just over 7:08 per mile. Ethan Glovsky has been battling shin issues the last several weeks and was still able to run a solid 14:28.88. He showed toughness despite missing significant training recently. Noah Carson showed once again that he is a gutsy racer. He ran a personal best 15:06.31 which included outkicking a runner from Niles North.
The freshmen ended up taking 2nd place in the North Division. The Giants had a top seven 2 mile average of 12:32 despite missing Moss Roberts due to illness, who is usually in the top 4 for the team. 7 in the top 21 for the division shows this group has the potential to do great things if they commit to the process and put in the work over the next 3.5 years at HPHS.
Next up was the varsity 3 mile race. This was the race the team had been waiting for in hopes to get redemption from the 2 point loss to Deerfield at the CSL Quad earlier this season. That 2 point loss was used as motivation to work harder and take care of all of the extra details to improve as a team. The Giants knew it would not be easy and it became even more apparent that it would be a significant challenge on race day. HP’s top runner, junior Nate Wehner was really sick, but still planned to race. Then, junior Lukaas Nales threw up on the warm-up and had to be replaced in the top 7. Junior Robert Oboza was told he would replace Nales with just enough time to get in a warm-up before the varsity race.
Despite his condition, Wehner went right with the lead pack from the South Division early in the race. This was a risk, but he knew he needed to put himself in the best possible position to get the individual win in the North Division to help the team win. It was apparent that Wehner was not at full strength, but was battling as best as he could. He finished as CSL North Champion in 15:39.66 with nothing left in the tank at the end. This was an extremely gutsy effort by an individual that wanted to race for his teammates.
Senior Noah Jackson and junior Barak Goldstein raced close together for most of the race and were in a battle with several other CSL North runners including two from Deerfield. Jackson closed hard but ran out of distance to catch a DF and Vernon Hills runner that were just ahead of him. He finished in 6th place with a time of 15:57.87. Goldstein also had a strong finish to get by a Vernon Hills runner in 16:06.78. Both of these runners know they have more to give and will hopefully show that in the State Series.
The team needed a big race out of senior Alex Bradshaw and he delivered. Bradshaw had the best race of his career. After having a disappointing season up to this point with illness, injury, and sub-par racing, it was great to see him have such an awesome race. He got out well and found himself with a few CSL North runners. He stayed focused and determined throughout the race. Late in the race a Deerfield runner passed him, but Bradshaw responded and did not let him pull away. He poured on a big sprint finish to pass the DF runner and nearly catch another runner from Niles North. Bradshaw finished in 10th place with a personal best 16:19:97.
At this point HP had 4 runners in front of DF’s number 3 runner. Sophomore Usiel Rodriguez did not get out quite as fast as the coaches had hoped, but he stayed focused and ran an impressive second half of the race, especially the final mile. Rodriguez was able to move up and pass DF’s fifth runner and almost catch a runner from Maine East down the final stretch. He finished in a personal best 16:38.89 to take 15th place. He missed All-Conference by less than a second.
Robert Oboza ran an inspired race to step up and help the varsity when he was needed. He got out very well and just was not able to hold on in the final mile. His tough racing in the first two miles really helped push Rodriguez to chase him and have the great race that he did. In the end, Oboza ran a personal best time of 16:51.33 for 17th place.
Senior Angel Zeferino has given so much to the HP Boys Cross Country Program, but on this day he just did not have it. He got out solid and was just unable to hold his usual pace. As always, he tried his best and kept pushing, but he faded back to 23rd place in 17:10.28. Despite having an off race, Zeferino’s intense competitiveness has helped push this team to where it has gotten at this point of the season. That is being CSL North Conference Champions!
The team won the CSL North Division with 38 points as Deerfield took second with 46 points. HP was also 2nd overall behind New Trier. It was a feeling of great accomplishment for this team after not winning the conference championship for 3 years. The hope is that those returning will work hard over the next 365 days to help win another championship in 2023.
The sophomore 3 mile race got out fast and was led early by HP sophomores Dylan Dominguez and Brian Hatoum. They got out really well and raced together nearly the entire race. After getting caught by the pack, a DF runner pulled away from the two. Late in the race, Hatoum started to put a small gap on Dominguez. During the final sprint, Dominguez moved ahead of Hatoum before they both came across the line with nearly identical times. Dominguez finished in 2nd place for division at 16:46.19. Hatoum ran a 24 second personal best for 3rd place in 16:46.77. The next CSL North finisher was 50 seconds behind them.
Robby Mendoza continued his strong season and earned an award by placing 11th. He ran an 18:59.97 after barely breaking 20 last year for 3 miles. Luke Byrnes has had an incredible last few races. He has dropped multiple minutes from his time and has been racing very tough. He finished in 21st place for the division while running a 20:35.89. This was almost a 2 minute personal best. Also, his timed mile in August was 7:44. Now, he is running well under 7 minutes per mile pace for a 3 mile race! He has shown that hard work really pays off. Charlie Ludington had his best race of the season to finish in 23rd place. He had a fantastic last mile and outkicked a DF runner to finish in a personal best 20:46.28. His previous personal best was 21:36. This was also almost 2 minutes faster than his personal best from last season.
Mateo Diaz had a solid race, finishing the 3 miles in 21:28.32. Despite not being a personal best time this season, it was still over a minute faster than his PR from last year. Sean Bell had a huge improvement in his time for 3 miles. He ran 22:09.81 after running 24:59.6 in his other 3 mile race at the Loyola Flight Night.
Brody Schultz had a big personal best. He improved his 3 mile time this season by 41 seconds. He crossed the line in 22:35.67. Lincoln Seidman was not far off his personal best for 3 miles. He pushed himself and ran a solid 22:55.06.
The sophomores ended up in 3rd place, just 5 points behind Niles North. These sophomores will need to continue to work hard to see how much more improvement they can make and how many of them can make it into the varsity race next season.
The team was hoping to have several guys fighting for the top positions in the JV race. Junior Zach Coren got out well and led a pack of HP runners through the mile. This included juniors Doug Anderson and Yonatan Garfinkel. By the end of the race, Anderson had a strong kick to finish in 7th place for the North Division. He ran 17:21.04 for the 3 mile race. Garfinkel was the next HP finisher at 17:24.47 for 9th place. Junior Eli Neiman started further back, but moved up during the race to take 11th place in 17:25.79. He had the fastest final mile for any HP runner in the JV race. Coren faded back to 18th place in a time of 17:50.43. Juniors Nolan Schott and Connor Edelstein also had slower starts but moved up well throughout the race. Schott crossed the line in 17:57.45 for 20th place. Edelstein came through in a personal best 18:09.81 to finish in 23rd place. All of these hard working runners were hoping for faster times, but just did not have the races they were hoping for at the end of a long meet. The 6 juniors will all be hungry to come back ready and significantly faster next season at this meet.
Seniors Enrique Lipezker and Davide Albiani raced together for a portion of the race. They both ended their high school cross country careers at HPHS with personal best times for 3 miles. Lipezker ran 19:10.65 for 32nd place. Albiani finished in 37th place with a time of 19:36.07. It was great to have these two seniors get their best times in their final race.
Junior Andrew Kern has battled injuries all season after coming into the season in great shape. He stayed committed to the rehab for his injuries and hoped to be able to race at the conference meet. Kern was able to race and gave it his all to finish in 20:09.21. It was not the time he was hoping for, but the coaches were proud of his effort through adversity. Not far behind Kern was senior Ramey Heimgartner. He has come so far over his career at HPHS. He ran his final race in a personal best time of 20:13.72. This was an over 20 second personal best. Junior Tyler Rosenthal showed that sprinters and jumpers can run cross country. He raced tough and finished in 20:47.94.
The JV team ended up taking 3rd place. A majority of the HP runners return next year and will look to make an even bigger impact on the team in 2023.
It was an overall successful day for the Giants despite numerous runners being sick and some even missing the meet. The team had 12 three mile personal bests and one tied PR. HP also had 9 two mile personal bests. In each race the team placed in the top 3 for the division, including winning the varsity team race. The day included 4 varsity All-Conference athletes for the team and the CSL North Individual Champion. Now the team sets its sights on the State Series. They will need to be resilient to overcome any obstacles that lie ahead.