Despite Rosa’s Injury, Scouts Have Encouraging Performance At Conference


Carson Ward, Staff Writer

After a long and grueling season, the Scouts cross country team had their hard work pay off at the conference meet last Saturday. 

Despite an unfortunate injury to senior Ben Rosa, the varsity team turned in a fifth-place performance thanks to senior Nate Schmitt’s second-place finish. 

The JV and Frosh/Soph teams both finished among the top three, showcasing the impressive depth of the team and assuring the coaches that the Scouts have a bright future even with the losses of seniors Schmitt and Rosa next year.

Coming off of an extraordinary junior season in which he finished second in state, Schmitt suffered an injury while training over the summer. However, he did not let that setback stop him from having a remarkable season. 

After a fifth-place finish in the Lake Country Invitational, Schmitt delivered second-place performances in the Libertyville and Pat Harland Invitationals.  He continued to shine on Saturday, finishing the three-mile race with a 14:49 time, a season-best.

“I’m very happy with how the race went. I have been trying to build myself back up to the shape I was before my injury and catch back up to the runners who had beaten me at the start of the season, and I’m happy to say that I’m where I need to be to perform at my best in the state series,” Schmitt said. He came in first place at regionals last year, and is looking to repeat that performance this Saturday.

We had guys rise to the challenge that I didn’t expect would.

— Nate Schmitt, Senior

Unfortunately, Rosa suffered bad cramps mid-race and was forced to drop out. This was a major setback for the Scouts as Rosa has been a key contributor for the team.

Rosa has won the Lake County Invitational, numerous dual meets, and finished in seventh place or better in every invite he has run this year. Thankfully, he will be ready for regionals. 

Solid performances from juniors Kaleb Whiteside, Nick Tegel, Ethan Haller, and Peter Elliott helped to overcome the injury. Whiteside’s performance was particularly impressive, coming in 16th place and earning himself a medal.

“I had a good race and felt good, but I am ready to give more as we head to the postseason,” Whiteside said. “One of the Libertyville runners passed me at the end which I’m mad about, so I know I have to keep pushing myself.” 

The junior varsity team is full of talented runners who are all deserving of being on the varsity roster, evident by their back-to-back invite victories heading into Saturday.

They finished in third place, led by senior Danny McKiernan’s fifth-place finish and senior Jack Arch’s eighth-place finish. McKiernan, Arch, and all of the other JV runners shined, but arguably the most impressive performance was by senior Sam Rappin. 

On September 14th, Rappin woke up and had major difficulties breathing. After going to the hospital, he learned that he had suffered a collapsed lung, putting his season in jeopardy. Thankfully, he was cleared in time for the conference meet. Despite not being able to practice the vast majority of the season, Rappin still managed to run a 19:36.

“My muscles weren’t very prepared because of the lack of practice, but I’m still happy I was able to finish the race in under 20 minutes,” Rappin said. “I’m planning on training hard over the winter and going all out in track.”

A major surprise from the meet was the performance of the underclassmen. 

Sophomore Will Meyer came in 12th place with a 17:26 time, and three other Lake Forest Frosh/Soph runners finished with a time under 18 minutes (sophomore Max Yates, freshman Jonas Kobza, and freshman Dylan Burns). The cross country team will lose a lot of major contributors next year, but the emergence of these younger runners will keep the team competitive and primed for deep postseason runs for years to come.

“We had a much more competitive team [top to bottom] than in years past and I’m super happy with how this affected our development. We had guys rise to the challenge that I didn’t expect would,” Schmitt said.

Regionals will take place at West Campus on Saturday at 11:00 a.m. Spectators are encouraged to come by and cheer on the Scouts as they try to advance to sectionals for the third straight year.