Pirkl Qualifies For State, Cross Country Teams Both Find Success


At the Illinois High School Association Boys Cross Country Sectional meet last weekend, Jadon Pirkl did something that had not been done at OLCHS since 2011. He qualified for the IHSA State Finals and will compete against some of the fastest long-distance runners in the state this weekend.

Individually, Pirkl placed second at the conference meet, placed third at the regional meet, and placed 13th at the sectional meet. And while Pirkl’s accomplishments are impressive, the whole season was quite a success for the Spartan runners. The boys team took fifth place at the South Suburban Conference Red meet three weeks ago, and it placed fifth at the regional meet two weeks ago. In fact, the top five runners each clocked times under 18:00, and they qualified for last week’s sectional as a team for the second year in a row.

Angel Reyes was another key component to the Spartans’ success. He placed 13th at conference and 20th at the regional with an all-time personal best of 16:37.

The boys cross country team includes Pirkl, Reyes, Dominic Niceforo, Jose Rios, Gavin Hampton, Zach Olejniczak, and Morgan Dykstra.

“This season’s success is only the start,” said head coach Salvador Montes. “We are going to continue to build off of this season and continue improving as a team.”

On the girls side of cross country, the Spartans completed a very successful season as well. The team finished second overall in the SSC Red. Emma McGrath led the way finishing seventh and earning all-conference honors, while Sadie Hartmann finished 11th out of the 40 runners. The frosh/soph team also finished second in conference. Salsabeel Awwad finished second and Natalia Cetera finished fourth.

At the IHSA Regional, Oak Lawn finished fifth and advanced to the sectional meet as a team. McGrath finished 10th and earned a spot on the podium with a time of 20:00.

“Every girl on the team ran a personal best,” said head coach Caitlyn Glynn. “Two freshmen were a part of this regional squad that scored points for the team. This makes the future look very positive.”

At the IHSA Sectional, there were no state qualifiers, individually or as a team, but McGrath finished 67th out of 137 runners. She was the leader of the team for the whole season and served as a role model for the other runners.

“She ran with the boys during practice to challenge herself and better her skills,” Glynn said. “Her work ethic and determination to succeed ended in a result of finishing 10th and a personal-best time of 20:00 at the regional meet.”

Glynn was truly proud of the team as a whole and felt satisfied with the results for the season.

“This 2019 team was a family,” she said. “Each member brought something unique to each practice and meet. The athletes were determined to succeed and pushed each other ‘all out’ every day. As a result, we survived and succeeded.”

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