Spring sports wrap up an exciting season

It would be impossible to capture every winning play and amazing moment from this year’s spring sports season at Oak Park and River Forest High School. Below are just a few highlights that showed exceptional Huskie spirit.*

Varsity Boys Lacrosse wrapped up their regular season with a huge, exciting and heart-palpitating match on May 10. Things didn’t look too good for the Huskies after the third quarter. They were down 7-4, but with a goal early in the fourth quarter, the door became ajar.

With the clock ticking past the six-minute mark, OPRF scored again, making the Huskie deficit only one goal. With two minutes left, the Huskies scored a tying goal, sending the game into sudden victory. To add a sweet ending to a tense game, Henry McEachen of the Huskies scored the winning goal in the second sudden victory period.

The OPRF players stormed the field. First-year coach Justin Porter said after the game, “They just dig deep, they fight, they play as a pack, they play as a family, they play for their boys.”

The energy in the stadium that night was electric, and the Huskies entered the postseason with a record of 5-10.

Varsity Boys Volleyball looked good this season, losing only six of their 23 games as of May 22. One of those losses, 2-0, occurred May 16 against the York Dukes. Justin Cousin, who started a role as Head Coach in 2021, was not deterred.“I think that we still have a lot to learn… But hopefully, within the next two weeks, we can find our rhythm and… start to peak,” he said.

The team has been incredibly successful this season. The JV and freshman teams show that this program is thriving.Cousin said, “I’m really excited for the longevity of the program. We have some great seniors leaders, but then we have better JV role players, and hopefully next year they can start to filter into some of the leadership roles.”

Players like Quinn Bozarth and Danny McNeilly, two junior starters for the varsity team, show much promise for the season next year. The freshman team showed incredible promise for the years to come. The Varsity team is 17-6 this year, and OPRF is hosting the IHSA sectionals on May 27 and 30.

Varsity Baseball has had its ups and downs this season. From a devastating 11-inning loss against Leyden High School to walk-off field storms, it seems like the team has seen it all.

But after a season of field changes and pitching shortcomings, the team has a record of 17-17, according to GameChanger, an app used to track scores. Kevin Campbell, second-year head coach, said, “This year we really got our feet wet with doing some bigger things, like going to Tennessee, and beefing up our schedule.” Baseball and softball teams took part in a tournament in Tennessee during spring break.

The schedule this season was much more difficult, with many teams in the West Suburban Conference-Silver (WSC-S) already being powerhouses on the baseball field, but the OPRF baseball team was playing top 25 teams as much as once or twice a week. The goal of the coaching staff for this team was to make sure that the players learn life skills through the sport that they love, while

still winning games. “We want these guys to leave with the best hard work ethic that they possibly can have,” Campbell said.

The baseball team went up against Reavis on May 25 for their first playoff game, after their final regular season game against East on May 20.

Softball is having an incredible season, and quite arguably doesn’t get enough credit for what they’ve done. From off-the-field awareness of sexual abuse and violence to the family created through softball, this program continues to thrive throughout the year.

Second-year Head Coach James Coughlin said, “We didn’t have the best chemistry last year… and this year, they’ve built connections during the off-season workouts… they’ve lived in a house in Tennessee for four-and-a-half days, so they really have built much better and lasting connections throughout and before the season.”

This year, all softball levels at OPRF will win their conference regular season championship. “We only won 10 games last year, and now, we really want to sneak our way into the final four this year,” Coughlin said. According to MaxPreps, the varsity team was 25-7 overall and 11-1 in the conference at press time.

Varsity Girls Soccer currently has a record of 8-8-1. After a win against Maine South on May 16, Coach Christine Johnston said, “There was a lot of energy coming off of that win and hopefully that will be contagious with practice and games to come.” The senior night was a massive success this year, with a 10-0 win against Reavis High School. With the addition of the win, there were many prom-posals after the game. The soccer team had its regional semi-final game on May 16 and won 3-1 against Maine South. “We’re graduating 11 seniors this year,” Johnston said. “It’s been a great year, and we’re hoping to finish strong, and I can’t wait to see what next year has in store for us.”

The Varsity Boys Water Polo season went well with a record of 21-9.

The team entered the playoffs with momentum, but with a fall against Fenwick, their season came to an end in the sectional semi-final.

“These guys have such a connection with each other,” said Coach Bailey Wendt. “It makes every game feel so much more to them. They don’t just want to win for themselves, they win for their family.”

The water polo team is quite a young team. “We have three sophomore starters,” Wendt said, “Everyone on the team has such passion for the sport… water polo teaches these guys to be able to work together. We have to make sure that they work well together and this year, these guys have such great connections, we’ve been very successful, and we can’t wait to see what next year will bring.”

*All rankings and records were taken from Maxpreps.com or during an interview with a coach. Information was current at press time, on May 22.