Cross country reaches fundraiser finish line

The Oak Park and River Forest community rallied around the OPRF Cross Country team by contributing to their fundraisers: a car wash and bake sale.

The boys’ team raised just under $4,000 in their car wash, which took place on Aug. 20. The money will be used for team commodities.  “We love getting bagels after a hard Saturday practice, and, with such a large team, this (money) allows us to do that,” senior Liam Newhart said. 

Additionally, the funds supported their transportation to their meet in Peoria the weekend of Aug. 17, as well as their trip to State which is also located in Peoria.

The athletes sold tickets and raised awareness of the event on social media. 

At the car wash event on Sunday, the athletes energetically washed participants’ cars for $10 at the OPRF Autobay .

They also worked hard to spread the word. Head Coach Chris Baldwin said the runners “did a lot of advertising,” such as “walk(ing) around with signs.”

“Everyone was so into it and (was) participating with such high energy,” said Newhart.  

In addition to raising money, Baldwin said the experience further unified the team. “The more time that the kids come together, the closer they (get),” he said.

Team bonding is important—especially this year, because the boys team has a record-breaking 90 members. 

“It’s just cool to see them laughing, joking, (and) having a fun time together,” said Baldwin. 

The girls’ team also felt the community support and team bonding during their own fundraiser: a bake sale. The team had a stand in the Oak Park Farmer’s Market on Aug 27. 

Junior Lottie Anderson said the support from the community was “overwhelming.” She noted that when community members found out they were raising money, they were very generous and would often tip generously.

The runners worked in shifts, and the stand was up from 8 1 p.m. The team members and the coaches made the baked goods that were sold. 

Head Girls’ Cross Country Coach Ashley Raymond said the bake sale was a huge success, and the team “sold out before noon.” They raised more money than last year’s bake sale effort. 

The team’s money will also contribute to commodities, such as post-race snacks and drinks.

Anderson said she enjoyed “being a part of the Oak Park community at the Farmer’s Market.” She mentioned her appreciation for the support that also came from the boys’ team. 

Newhart said coming into the car wash, he “expected mainly parents showing,” but was pleasantly surprised to see “many friends of ours and even the coach of the girls’ team.”