Beverly Review: Schaible caps stellar year with solid state meet

by Scott Fredericks As a freshman last year, Peter Schaible was the best runner on the St. Rita High School cross-country team.

This year, he became one of the best in the Chicago Catholic League and the entire state.

Schaible recently finished 52nd in a field of 209 runners in the Class 2A state crosscountry meet at Detweiler Park in Peoria on Nov. 5, completing a season that saw the talented sophomore achieve some impressive milestones.

He wasn’t fazed by his initial trip to the pinnacle of Illinois prep cross-country.

“I was ecstatic to get there, but I was getting more nervous as the race got closer. Once I started, I started thinking to myself that it wasn’t that bad and I was doing pretty well,” said Schaible. “I’ve never experienced anything like it. It was a dream come true for me. I had been dreaming about it the whole year. It was my motivation for going to practice and working hard. Our coach would always remind us about our goals of making it to state, and that kept me going.”

Schaible recorded a personal- best time of 15:44, shattering his previous personal-best by 14 seconds. He ran a 4:52 first mile to put himself in a good position.

Schaible navigated the second mile in another strong split before pushing himself through the most difficult part of the course in the final 800 meters.

“I knew the hill was coming at the end of the race, and I knew it was going to be brutal,” said Schaible. “Once I got to the hill, I just started pushing myself as hard as I could. It was my last race of the year, and I wanted to leave everything out there. I just kept thinking about my mechanics and kept my knees up and trucked through the hill. The crowd was going nuts, and that helped pushed me through.”

Schaible is already thinking about returning to the state meet and finishing even higher next season.

“I’m starving to get back down there,” said Schaible. “The whole atmosphere makes you want to keep coming back. Everything I do during track and field, the miles I put in during the summer and the cross-country workouts next season will all be geared to me getting back to state. I’m going to work as hard as I can, and hopefully I’ll get back there.”

Schaible’s state meet was just one of many successful races this season for the talented sophomore.

He was eighth in the varsity race at the Chicago Catholic League championship at Midlothian Meadow on Oct. 15. Schaible, who broke 16 minutes on the 3.1-mile course, was the only sophomore among the top eight finishers.

He parlayed that momentum into a regional championship the following week at the Class 2A Riverside-Brookfield regional at Sundown Meadows Forest Preserve in Countryside.

Schaible then punched his ticket to the state meet with an 11th-place finish in the challenging Nazareth Academy sectional at Niles West High School. He was the top individual qualifier in the sectional.

Schaible’s improvement from his freshman campaign to this year was astounding. Last year at regionals, he clocked in with a time of 16:55 before completing the difficult course in the Lockport sectional in 17:55 to end the season. Schaible’s sectional performance this year was more than 90 seconds quicker than last year’s.

“Peter has the ability to find a personal challenge in each race, and then he takes that as motivation to battle through the grueling pain that will inevitably arrive as you push yourself past old limitations and out of your comfort zone,” said St. Rita cross-country Coach Rory Haran. “He comes from a family that believes in working hard and striving for higher standards, and he takes great pride in that. He races with a chip on his shoulder, which is necessary for success in cross-country. The Catholic League and the state of Illinois are both loaded with talented distance runners. To make a name for yourself requires untold months and years of quiet, unrecognized work to improve. Most kids don’t want to do that. Peter does.”

In recognition of his success as a student-athlete, Schaible was recently selected as the St. Rita sophomore class Mustang of the Month for November.