ELMHURST – Glenbard West senior Will O’Brien battled simply to be healthy enough to compete at the West Suburban Conference Silver Division meet Friday at York.
“I had to cross-train for basically the whole month of April, hoping I wouldn’t lose any fitness,” O’Brien said.
In only his second race back, O’Brien came away like fellow seniors Rory Cavan, Tyquan Cox and Corey Williams – an individual conference champion. O'Brien won the 800-meter run in 1:56.28, a margin of .04.
With their six individual titles and other inspired efforts, the Hilltoppers finished second for the second straight season.
The ultimate goal was their first conference title since 1978, but the Hilltoppers (123.5) were defeated by Oak Park-River Forest (155), which captured its third consecutive title.
York (90), Lyons Township (83), Downers Grove North (65) and Hinsdale Central (29.5) were third through sixth.
Last season, the Hilltoppers finished second 136-121.
“We really gave it all we had,” Cox said. “It’s crazy how great of a program we’re becoming. I love my seniors and we can still do some big things. The season’s not over yet.”
Cavan won the 3,200 (9:18.32) and 1,600 (4:19.67) to become the Hilltoppers’ first conference champion in those events since Greg Hill in 1978. The races then still were the 2-mile and 1-mile.
Williams won high jump on a 6-3 tiebreaker. Cox won the long jump (lifetime-best 22-4 1/2) and the 100 (11.19), was second in the 200 (22.21) and anchored the second-place 400 relay with Oscar Berrun, Diego Villalobos and Kam Bedford (43.31). Villalobos was second in long jump (20-9 1/2) and triple jump (44-8 3/4).
York senior Brendan Hill won pole vault (13-2), Lyons Township junior Iogan Costello-Southfield and seniors Owen Schaufelberger, Xavier Armand and Aidan McBride won the 1,600 relay (3:26.44) and Hinsdale Central seniors Alec Hill and Matt Kusak, junior Carter McCarroll and sophomore Piyush Mekla won the 3,200 relay (8:03.10).
A returning state qualifier, Hill claimed pole vault on a tiebreaker and later was part of the second-place 1,600 relay with Eric Sylvester, Josiah Scott and Daniel Klysh (3:29.07).
“I feel strong. I feel fast. Just got to do a couple of more things to clean everything up,” said Hill, whose personal best is 14-8. “Today was a bit of an off day.”
Also second for the Dukes were Michael Moriarty (800 in 1:56.32) and the 800 relay of Inemesit Akpakpan, Chris Radcliff, Matt Austin and Jimmy Hoffman (1:31.40).
“We know we can go under 1:30,” Radcliff said. “We’ve just got to iron out those handoffs, know they’re nice and smooth, so that we can we move to state.”
The Lions’ season-best 1,600 relay time followed Robbie Cicciarelli (6-3 in high jump) and Christian Gatsas (13-2 in pole vault) sharing top heights but ending up second on tiebreakers.
McBride (personal-best 40.01 in 300 intermediate hurdles) and the 3,200 relay of Drew Dilcher, Jocqael Thorpe, Sean McDermott and Jack Ehlert (8:06.29) were second.
“I was .01 from getting a 39, which is a little bit upsetting,” McBride said. “It’s nice having a season best at this meet but I know I have a little bit more in the tank to go.”
Three Downers North seniors finished second – Jack Roberts (1,600 in 4:21.92) and Trevor Murphy (3,200 in 9:24.06) and Trenton Cintron (144-3 in discus) with lifetime bests.
Six inches from first, Cintron added 12 feet to his best from the previous week. Murphy dropped 16 seconds and beat the 9:28.74 state-qualifying standard for the first time.
“I’m ecstatic right now,” Murphy said. “The workouts have been showing me time and time again I should be here. I guess today was the day I got there.”