Oak Park and River Forest HS racks up state titles in incredible performance

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Some Illinois high schools have never had a single athlete win a state championship in boys track and field, but in just one weekend, Oak Park and River Forest High School had three of its athletes take home state titles.

Junior Caleb Schulz started slow but finished fast, zooming across the finish line to capture the title in the 100-meter-dash. You can call him a state champion, or the fastest high schooler in the Land of Lincoln.

“I just put on the jets halfway through, and I was hoping for the best,” Schulz remembers. “Finished the race, I looked over at the screen, and I was like, ‘Oh c’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon’, and then it popped up. Everyone starts going crazy, I immediately looked at my mom, and she’s just jumping for joy.”

Kwabena Osei-Yeboah is also a junior, and also a new state title winner in the Long Jump. The guy they call “Gee Gee” ended the Huskies longest drought in an individual event, winning their first Long Jump championship since 1924.

“The competition was fantastic. Best jumpers in the state, right?” Osei-Yeboah says. “But I knew that I could do it. I had full confidence in my ability to fully close the door.”

OPRF’s third and final state champion is Kaden Garland, who capped his high school career by outthrowing everyone in the Shot Put. Garland, who’ll throw next year at USC, had spent four years doing everything in his power to win gold, so the result was enormously satisfying.

“All the contribution you’ve done so far in practice has come up to this moment moment, and you accomplished it, and did it well,” says Garland.

The three champions got to celebrate individually last weekend in Charleston, and then they got to celebrate with their entire team. When the state meet ended, OPRF was crowned 3A state champions. Athletes say the bus ride home was one to remember with laughing, cheering, and for head coach Tim Hasso, even some crying.

“They take a tremendous among of pride wearing the orange and blue and being part of Oak Park River Forest High School,” says Hasso. “So to come back to this place and share that with the school and community means a ton.”

The team state title is the 18th in school history, but the first since 1987. No school in IHSA history has more state championships in boys track and field.

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