Giants 2nd on Varsity and 1st in Open at Loyola Flight Night

Thursday, October 12 2023 - Loyola Academy Flight Night

Highland Park competed at Loyola Flight Night on a cold and windy night. The meet includes music provided by a DJ and a course that has lights around it so the flighted races can take place in the dark. The meet is a lot of fun but also offers a great opportunity to prepare for the conference meet the following weekend. The Giants performed very well with a bunch of personal bests and fantastic efforts. 

The first boys race was the frosh-soph. Sophomores Josh Brown and Logan Liu led the way for HP. They were both around 15th place midway through the race. They worked together to move up, especially in the final mile. Brown had a strong kick (1:15 final 400) to take 8th place in 17:18.8. This was 2:02 faster compared to his time at this meet last year. Liu also had a good kick (1:17 final 400) to finish in 10th place in 17:20.3. His improvement compared to last year at this meet was an incredible 3:10! Sophomore teammate Truman Evans stayed with Brown and Liu through 2 miles before fading back some in the final mile. He finished in 17:42.7 to earn 18th place. 


Freshmen Abel Reese and sophomore Lowell Redmond were close together throughout the race. Reese finished in 18:57.3 while Redmond crossed the line in 19:01.3. 


Sophomore David Miller ran a personal best 19:20.0. The next 3 finishers for HP were all freshmen. Each ran a personal best for 3 miles. Nate Goldberg led the way for this trio with a huge personal best. He ran 19:54.1 compared to the 21:20 he ran in Peoria. Gabriel Jackson finished in 20:07.1 while Makena Duggan ran over a minute faster compared to Peoria with a 20:10.5. Not far behind the 3 freshmen was sophomore Gal Raviv. He battled through a knee injury to still run 20:19.9 and be 2:05 faster than what he ran last year at this meet. Two more HP runners finished in the 20s with personal best times. Sophomore Joey Naftzger continued his impressive streak of improvement with a 20:43.9. Freshman Joaquin Martinez went from 22:32 in Peoria to 20:47.8 at this meet. 


Another HP freshmen pack finished together with personal best 3 mile times. Addison Courtman-Simanek had an excellent finish to lead the pack in 21:49.4. Benny Obradovic ran nearly a minute faster than he did in Peoria with a 21:55.1. Cameron Wiswald and Karl Bankson each raced in their first 3 mile races of the season. Wiswald ran 21:56.9 and Bankson finished in 21:57.5. It was fun to watch this group push each other to faster times, especially in the final 400. 


Freshman Joaquin Rivera ran a nearly 2 minute personal best for 3 miles. He finished in 23:17.9 compared to his time of 25:08 in Peoria. Freshman Maksar Oyurskiy completed his first 3 mile race of the season. He finished in 26:46.2.


The frosh-soph ended up taking 6th place, but was just 4 points behind Prospect. Last year at this meet, HP’s top finisher in the frosh-soph race only ran 19:09. This year, the team had 6 runners ahead of that time. The future looks bright for these young Giants if they commit to putting in the work over time that it takes to be their best. 

The next boys race was the Open. Junior Usiel Rodriguez led the way for the Giants. He battled up front and ended up just 8 seconds behind the leader. Rodriguez took 2nd place for the open race in 16:53.1. Senior Luke Rhoads was the next HP finisher. He crossed the line in 17:26.6. The Giants had 2 more top 10 finishers. Seniors Nolan Schott and Yonatan Garfinkel went back and forth during the race. In the end, Schott’s strong finish earned him 8th place in 17:36.7. Garfinkel was a few seconds behind Schott in 17:41.9. Senior Connor Edelstein rounded out the top 5 for the team. He finished in 17th place with a time of 18:19.7. 


Junior Qunetin Kelley had an awesome finish to run 19:01.9 for 3 miles. Seniors Oliver Baterdene and Andrew Kern pushed each other in the final mile to run 19:30.6 and 19:34.5. Junior Luke Byrnes improved his time from last year by 1:57 seconds to run 20:13.4. Senior Ben Kerch battled through a strained calf to still run 20:56.8. Junior Teddy Bloom was the next HP finisher running 22:05.2. Junior Logan Berghoff pushed to a finishing time of 23:21.1. Senior Ryan Griffith finished in a time of 25:20.5. 


The Giants won the Open race as a team. They finished ahead of second place New Trier 46 to 38. It was a great performance by the HP runners in the Open race. 

The flight part of the meet was next. The first flight consisted of the 6-10 runners from all the teams. The goal of the team was to work together as a pack. All 5 HP runners (seniors Zach Coren, Eli Neiman, and Lukaas Nales plus sophomores Henry Gamson and Lucas Hoobler) got out together in the first mile at 5:25. The pack started to break up by 2 miles. Coren, Neiman, and Gamson came through the 2 mile mark together. Nales and Hoobler were back several seconds. Neiman started to pull away with Coren and Gamson just a few seconds back with 400 to go. Coren had a tremendous finish to cross the line in a personal best 16:32.5. Neiman also finished well in a personal best 16:33.7. Gamson was several seconds back in 16:41.3. Despite not finishing where he wanted to for the team, he was still 2:39 faster than last year at this meet. Nales ended up finishing in 16:54.2 while Hoobler crossed the line in 17:07.2. 


In the 2nd flight, the 1-5 runners from each team competed. Senior Nate Wehner and junior Brian Hatoum came through the mile with the leaders in 4:54. Senior Barak Goldstein was just behind them at 5:00. Junior Dylan Dominguez and senior Robert Oboza got out well and came through the mile shoulder to shoulder in 5:09. Wehner and Hatoum were within 1 second of each other at the 2 mile with Goldstein back some distance battling with runners from Barrington. Dominguez and Oboza were right together at 2 miles like they have been doing all season. In the final mile, Hatoum pulled away from Wehner and finished in a personal best 15:09.8 for 3rd place. Hatoum’s time was 2:13 faster than last year at this meet! Wehner fought hard to hold off the next Barrington runner and finished in 4th place with a time of 15:27.8. Goldstein hung on for 9th place in 15:44.7. Dominguez had a fantastic final mile, running 5:12 and closing in a 1:13 (the fastest final 400 on the team at this meet). He finished in 11th place with a time of 15:50.3. Oboza couldn’t match Dominguez in the final mile, but he still ran over a minute faster than last year at this meet. He came across the line in 16:05.8 for 14th place. 


The varsity ended up taking 2nd place behind a very good Barrington team (41-31). This was a great team performance for HP and sets them up well for Conference and the State Series. The varsity is still looking for their best overall race with each guy having their top performance. That is still to come as the team improves their focus and commitment to the details during the final part of the season. Race execution will also be crucial in these final weeks. Giant success still to come for HP!