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Oak Park and River Forest HS earn state titles with incredible performances – NBC Chicago

Some Illinois high schools have never had one athlete win a state championship in boys track and field, but in just one weekend, Oak Park and River Forest High School had three of its athletes take home state titles.

Junior Caleb Schulz started slow but finished fast, zooming across the finish line to capture the title in the 100-meter dash. You can call him a state champion, or the fastest high school student in the country of Lincoln.

“I just turned on the jets halfway through and hoped for the best,” Schulz remembers. “When I finished the race I looked at the screen and thought, ‘Oh come on, come on, come on, come on,’ and then it appeared. Everyone starts going crazy, I immediately looked at my mom, and she’s just jumping for joy.”

Kwabena Osei-Yeboah is also a junior and also a new state title winner in the long jump. The man they call “Gee Gee” ended the Huskies’ longest drought in an individual event and won their first long jump championship since 1924.

“The match was fantastic. Best show jumpers in the state, right?” says Osei-Yeboah. “But I knew I could do it. I had complete confidence in my ability to close the door completely.”

OPRF’s third and final state champion is Kaden Garland, who capped his high school career by beating everyone in the shot put. Garland, who will throw at USC next year, had done everything he could for four years to win gold, so the result was extremely satisfying.

“Every contribution you’ve made in practice so far has come to this moment, and you’ve done it and done it well,” Garland says.

The three champions were able to celebrate individually in Charleston last weekend, and then with their entire team. When the state meet concluded, OPRF was crowned 3A state champions. Athletes say the bus ride home was one they will never forget, with laughter, cheers and, for head coach Tim Hasso, even a few tears.

“They take great pride in wearing orange and blue and being part of Oak Park River Forest High School,” Hasso said. “So to come back to this place and share that with the school and the community means a lot.”

The team state title is the 18e in school history, but the first since 1987. No school in IHSA history has more state boys track and field championships.

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