Keeping Up With the State-Bound Oak Park and River Forest Huskies Girls’ Cross Country Team

Two weeks ago, when I sang the praises of Melissa Isaacson’s “State,” I foreshadowed a return to my sports writing roots as I chronicle my daughter’s cross-country team’s postseason efforts.

Having transitioned some 13 years ago from a long career in journalism to public relations and other forms of communication, I call these “random acts of journalism.” Or, as someone else recently put it, “You can take the writer out of journalism, but you can’t take the journalism out of the writer.”

The state-bound OPRF Huskies, after their sectional success. My daughter, the tallest one, is far right. (Megumi Hoshi photo)

Fortunately, against a historic backdrop highlighted by the tumult of whether Chicago Public School runners could compete during, and after, the CPS teachers’ strike, my daughter and her teammates have performed as well as hoped.

This past Saturday, they advanced from the Sectional at Lake Park High School in Roselle to the Class 3A state finals on November 9th in Peoria.

Here is the feature that I posted on the Oak Park-River Forest Patch page.

I am acutely aware of, and extraordinarily impressed by, the dedication and discipline that cross country athletes must bring to this often-lonely pursuit. An amusing, but spot-on, phrase from long-distance runners is that their sport is other sports’ punishment.

So, I made sure to emphasize those sacrifices with excerpts such as this one:

How they booked a return trip, the school’s 10th since 1979, is a testimony to their hard work and determination. On a day where the temperature dipped into the 30s and the three-mile course made for a muddy slog, the seven OPRF runners brought all their training to fruition.”

Of course, their success means my self-appointed assignment isn’t over. Keep an eye out for their performance “at State.”

Related Posts:
When the Going Gets Tough…Stop Keeping Score?
A Tribute to Frank Deford, The Rare Hero Who Exceeded Expectations