Friar Boys XC: 2021 Class 2A State Champions

On Saturday in Peoria, the Fenwick Boys’ Cross Country (XC) Team made history by becoming the first Chicago Catholic League high school in history to win a XC state title!

By Mark Vruno

The Fenwick Boys’ Cross Country Team made Illinois High School Association (IHSA) history on November 6. “Ours is the first CCL [Chicago Catholic League] team to ever win a state championship in cross country,” Fenwick Athletic Director Scott Thies ’99 proudly reports. “A HUGE congratulations to Head Coach Dave Rill and assistants Gus Coronado, Brixton Rill and Dan Wnek!”

A breakdown of how the Friars ran and placed:

  • Grayden Rill 8th place 15:06.34
  • Nate Mckillop 20th place 15:17.35
  • Dean O’Bryan 33rd place 15:37.33
  • Zac Daley 43rd place 15:44.54
  • Lee O’Bryan 87th place 16:05.68
  • Carl Lukas 123rd place 16:21.04
  • Christian Kline 205th place 17:07.96
Junior All-State XC runner Grayden Rill (Chicago).

Grayden Rill ’23 (Chicago), who has been the team’s steady leader all season, and Nate Mckillop ’24 (Elmhurst, IL) earned All-State honors for their performances. But it was sophomore Dean O’Bryan (La Grange, IL) who really raised some eyebrows this past Saturday in Peoria by running at personal-record pace, beating his own best time by a whopping 40 seconds! “Dean might have won it [the title] for us,” proclaims Head Coach Dave Rill ’87. “He was consistently our sixth-place runner all year, then comes in third [33rd overall] at state!”

Grayden Rill adds, “Saturday’s race was our end goal since summer, and we had a good day. Shoutout to our sophomores who stepped up! We now have two sophomores, Nate Mckillop and Dean O’Bryan, who are both in the top five best sophomores in Fenwick history — and they are a lot of the reason we took home the title Saturday.

Sophomore Nate McKillop (Elmhurst) placed 20th at the boys Class 2A state meet to earn All-State honors.

“I am so proud of all of my boys,” the All-State junior continues. “We have worked so hard since track last year for this goal, and all those miles payed off. I loved seeing all of my teammates buy into the sport and buy into this goal that we made back at camp in the summer: to be one of being one of the best teams in the state. And from this goal we turned into the best team in the state and the best cross-country team in Fenwick history.”

“This state championship is extra special for me,” concludes Coach Rill, who was an All-American while at Fenwick, because two of his sons are part of the team. “I’ve been able to coach Brixton [Class of 2014], who now is an assistant coach, and now Grayden. I cannot tell you how proud I am of these guys. We went from being last place at the last state meet to first. We believe this is only the second time that has been done.”