Rosa Shines As Scouts Place Sixth In Lake County Invite


Senior Ben Rosa fends off competition at Lake County Invitational to win his first personal title for the Scouts in cross country.

Ryan Peters, Staff Writer

Fresh off of a third place finish in the 1600 meter run at the Illinois State Track & Field Championships last spring, senior Ben Rosa reintroduced himself in spectacular fashion to kick off his final high school cross country campaign. Rosa placed first overall at the Lake County Invite, a 5k course in Waukegan, with a time of 15:27, earning him his first cross country invite title.

Rosa maintained a long-term focus when he spoke of his win. He said, “It was pretty good, but I’m looking forward to progressing even more throughout the season.”

He managed to pull out the win despite the course not being perfectly suited for a runner of his stature. “Yeah, hills and sharp turns are not ideal when you’re 6’4,” he said. 

Along with Rosa, senior Nate Schmitt, the defending Lake County individual champion, placed fifth overall as both helped propel Lake Forest to a sixth place team finish. With the Scouts having qualified for the state meet for the first time since 2008 last year, Coach Matt Jerina was pleased with how his team performed in the first meet of the season when put to the test against the likes of traditional cross country powerhouses such as Barrington, Mundelein, and Warren. 

“Top to bottom, it was really good,” Jerina said. “Obviously, having an individual champion two years in a row is a huge accomplishment. It’s a credit to the guys on all of the work they put in in the offseason.”

Junior Kaleb Whiteside placed 32nd with a time of 16:44, and senior Joshua B. Lane and junior Ethan Haller placed 62nd and 68th, respectively, to round out the top five for the Scouts. The strong performance speaks to the depth of the team as two of last year’s top seven varsity runners missed the meet with injuries.

The Scouts will begin their conference schedule when they compete against Warren next Tuesday with the hope to build off the promising start to the season.