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Saturday, May 12, 2012
Oak Park rolls to WSC-Silver Boys title; Schrobilgen steps forward in 4:11.44 1600 meter run

By Mike Newman

Mike Leaderhouse, Malachy Schrobilgen, West Suburban
Malachy Schrobilgen and Mike Leaderhouse run impressive 1600 meter times of 4:10 & 4:11 at the West Suburban Silver

Western Springs, Ill --- All during the day on Friday, the winds on the Lyons Township south campus whipped up from the south at a pace averaging 20 mph. Right before the start of the finals of the West Suburban Conference Boys Silver Division Championships, the winds ceased to exist. Conditions were almost perfect and ripe for fast performances on the blue oval.

Malachy Schrobilgen (Oak Park-River Forest, Oak Park Ill) and Mike Lederhouse (Glenbard West, Glen Ellyn, Ill) were up for the challenge.

Both distance runners were scheduled to run the 1600 Meter Run towards the end of the meet. Both runners took different paths to get to that race. Lederhouse anchored the Glenbard West 4 x 8 relay bringing the team from fifth to third. Lederhouse’s split was 1:52.0 to Glenbard West under 8 minutes. Schrobilgen came to the track ten minutes later and sat behind Chris May (York, Elmhurst Ill) for the first six laps. The Oak Park senior moved away in the final two laps to win comfortably by five seconds. As he left the track, he smiled and said, “That was a nice warm-up.”

By 8 PM, the conditions were nearly perfect and the runners in the 1600 would be foolish if they let this opportunity slip by. The weather dictated a fast pace and a tactical slow run was not going to happen on this night.

The only problem that spectators around the finish line speculated about was who would push the pace for these two elite runners? The answer: none. These two would handle it themselves. “My plan was to try to push the pace from the gun,” said Schrobilgen. “But Mike rushed to the front and I decided to go with him.”

The pace was quick with Lederhouse leading Schrobilgen, Nathan Mroz (York, Elmhurst Ill), and Kevin Proffitt (North, Downers Grove, Ill) through the first 400 in 61.6 seconds. The pace did not waver as the same four passed through the 800 in 2:05.5 in a single file line.

With 700 meters to go, Lederhouse made the move to break the race open, similar to what he did last week at the DuPage County Meet. Schrobilgen pushed to stay close to the Glenbard runner, but the pace broke both Mroz and Proffitt.

At the gun, Lederhouse had close to a second lead and it looked like he would extend it on Schrobilgen on the back stretch. On the final straight away, Schrobilgen  made the final push to get past a tiring Lederhouse and had enough to win: 4:11.44 to 4:12.31. Schrobilgen’s closing 400 was 60.6 seconds.

“Today my goal was to run close to 4:10 as possible,” said Lederhouse after the race. “The pace kind of lagged the third lap. But, I am so excited about it.”

For Schrobilgen, it was redemption for the Oak Park senior in a way. Early during the outdoor season, he lost a pair of races. The first was to William Hennessy (Jacobs, Algonquin Ill) at the Gus Scott Invitational. The next week, it was to Leland Later (New Trier, Winnetka Ill) at the Bob Cohoon Invitational.

“I really did not know what was going on. I had some injuries in the off season, I think I had some residual effects from it. I was afraid to push it. After that DGS meet, I told my coaches I knew I should be doing better.”

The past two weeks he has rebounded. Last week, it was the solo 4:12 at Hinsdale. Then came Friday night’s win. “I'm running where I am enjoying it. I am not running scared,” he said. “This race tonight was I was either here or I would not be in the competition at the state meet. I feel good about it.”

~~ Oak Park’s first conference outdoor title since 1987 ~~

Oak Park dominated the team race in Friday WSC-Silver meet outdistancing York by 55 points. It came down to incredible quality and incredible depth. Tim Hasso’s squad scored in all but one event. It is a good build block for what lies ahead.

“We had three goals at the beginning of the year: win conference, win sectional, and win state. We accomplished one of them tonight,” said Hasso. “There is a natural progression in this sport and not to peak too early. The kids are confident. But you might as well erase the leader board after today because none of that matters. One false start, one dropped baton can change the whole thing. The idea is to advance to the next level. Focusing on places and focusing on doing your very best.

The domination started for the Huskies in the field events. Multi all-stater Carl Heinz won the High Jump clearing 6-10. He missed at three attempts at 7-1. He moved over to the Triple Jump where he won with a leap of 45-7.5.

Oak Park had six wins on the track which included the wins by Schrobilgen in the 3200 & 1600. In the 4 x 100, Oak Park used a lineup of two sophomores and two juniors to win over Downers Grove North by about a second. The Oak Park time of 41.85 is currently the fastest in the state. The same quartet came back and ran 1:28.27 to win the 4 x 2.

Zach Booth, a member of both relays, exploded out of the turn to run 22.50 in winning the 200 Meter Dash. Evan Fisher withstood a slow first lap and being boxed in for the first 550 meters of the 800 Meter Run. He broke away in the final 100 meters for a 1:58.72 win.

Oak Park is another school that will be in the hunt for a state championship in two weeks in Charleston. They have good quality and some strong relays. That’s the recipe that could bring back a trophy to Oak Park.

~~ News of note ~~