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Boys cross country team looks to repeat as Regional champions

RB+students+in+action+during+their+Conference+race.
RB students in action during their Conference race.

RB students in action during their Conference race.

Courtesty of Larry Forberg

Courtesty of Larry Forberg

RB students in action during their Conference race.

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After taking first place in their MSC Conference meet on October 16, the boys cross country team prepares for their Regional meet on October 21. They go into the meet with confidence, especially with how they’ve fared in recent years.

“Last year we won Conference, we won Regional, and we won Sectional, which is the first time in the school’s history that we’ve done all three of those. We finished 11th in state. There have been teams that have finished higher than 11th in state, but that was the best finish since I’ve been coaching,” said coach Larry Forberg, English teacher and assistant track and field coach here at RB.

Forberg has been coaching cross country for fifteen years, and has his own experience with the sport.

“I started running in eighth grade, and I competed in high school cross country and high school track. Since then, I’ve been running on and off for about forty years. I’ve run ten marathons. If I start one I can’t quit, no matter how much pain I’m in,” said Forberg.

RB will face off against schools including Wheaton Academy, Glenbard South, Montini, Nazareth, St. Laurence, and St. Rita, with Wheaton being their toughest competition. The Bulldogs will host the meet at Sundown Meadows in Lagrange. The top six from Regionals will move on to Sectionals, and the top five from that competition will move on to state.

Forberg’s goals for the season included taking first place in the Conference, Regionals, and Sectionals, and to place in the top seven in the state championship.

“I have high hopes for the whole team. I think our top three runners: Jacob Wardzala, Jack Sagan, and Connor O’Brien could be All-Conference, All-Regionals, All-Sectional, and possibly All-State. One of the ideas that we’ve been stressing is that our top three, Jack, Jacob, and Connor, will get us into the top ten in state because they’re that strong. To get us in the top five, it’ll come down to our #4 and #5 runners. #4 is Jason Noel, and our #5 is Ryan Hahn,” said Forberg.

The top five all finished within the top eight in the Varsity 3 Miles Race, with junior Chris Magno taking first place in the Open 3 Miles Race. RB took first place overall in Varsity and Open, and the Frosh/Soph team took fourth place overall.

After Conference, the team is cut down to its top twelve runners, no matter the age. A solid underclassman runner is sophomore Steve Hailey, who is among those top twelve. Five of the top twelve will actually compete in the meet, with the other seven on standby as alternates.

Sagan is extremely confident in how the team will perform.

“Our plans are just to run our race and take care of business. We are the best team in the Regional and we know we just have to relax, stay calm and run strong and everything else will play out how it needs to,” said Sagan.

Forberg is extremely proud of his team, and emphasizes self-improvement, regardless of wherever they finish. This group of Varsity runners is one of the best he’s ever coached, and he has nothing but high hopes for them. He’s interested to see how the team responds to losing their top senior runners.

“I’m hoping that some of the freshmen and sophomores who have joined the team for the first time will remember their [the seniors’] work ethic. Once again we just want to train the runners so they can be proud and successful of their accomplishments. It’s not always about running the fastest time, it’s about becoming the best runner you can be,” said Forberg.

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Free of Bull, Full of Bulldogs
Boys cross country team looks to repeat as Regional champions