Home News Harley Rizzs brings home gold for St. Laurence

Harley Rizzs brings home gold for St. Laurence


St. Laurence junior Harley Rizzs had no doubt that he had won the race.

Even if for a few seconds, thousands of people in the stands and the public-address announcer thought Rockford Boylan’s Rasheed Johnson was the winner. But Rizzs knew better.

“I knew I won it,” Rizzs said. “When the commentator on the PA said it might be Johnson, I’m like, ‘No way.’ I looked over and saw 10.66 pop up and me at No. 1 — I just clapped with excitement.”

Indeed, Rizzs was right.

He became the first individual track state champion in school history with a 10.66-second run in the Class 2A 100-meter race, beating Johnson’s 10.67 and Mascoutah’s Noah Feldt with a 10.69.

Earlier that day, Rizzs helped make more history, joining Quinton Williams, Vincent Enoch and Monroe Thompson Jr. as the first relay team in school history to win a state title. They ran a 49.41 in the 400 at O’Brien Field on the campus of Eastern Illinois in Charleston.

The Vikings tied for fourth place with Glenbard West at 32 points, just missing taking home a trophy by one point. Benton took third place with 33.

That result has Rizzs and his teammates fired up to not only bring home a trophy but to win a state championship in 2025.

Rizzs, who’s also a running back for the football team that took second in the state last fall in Class 4A, now has two team titles on his mind.

“This year for football, we actually want to go out and win it,” he said. “And in track, I want to go for the two-peat (in the 100 meters), win the state championship as a team and go No. 1.”

Rizzs pointed out that he and Thompson are scheduled to be back next spring, and speedster John Hannah III is a “hidden gem” who missed the season with an injury.

Chase Kwiatowski, a junior quarterback from Lake Central, Indiana, has run an 11.3 in the 100. According to his post on the social platform X, Kwiatkowski is transferring to St. Laurence, and Rizzs can’t wait to see how that plays out in both sports.

“And we have a sophomore who runs low 11 as well,” Rizzs said. “We’ll be able to coach up these new guys and get them in a relay and just keep going.”

St. Laurence's Harley Rizzs, a junior sprinter, takes a practice run in Burbank on Thursday, May 30, 2024. (Jeff Vorva / Daily Southtown)
St. Laurence’s Harley Rizzs, a junior sprinter, takes a practice run in Burbank on Thursday, May 30, 2024. (Jeff Vorva / Daily Southtown)

This year’s relay team did well with Williams, a senior and Xavier track recruit, leading off.

“My job was to go out and catch the person in front of me,” Williams said. “I had to stay with the pack, and that’s what I did.”

After Rizzs worked some of his magic, Enoch took over. A Benedictine football and track recruit, Enoch broke his right ankle twice as a sophomore but was thrilled to be back as a senior.

“I just had to hold the lead,” he said. “We have three fast guys on our team, and my job as the third leg was to bring it home to Monroe.”

Thompson, a junior, finished the job.

“When I was going to the infield, all of my teammates started hugging me,” Thompson said. “It was great.”

St. Laurence coach Brian Reed was happy with two historic finishes, but he also was glad to see Rizzs in the mix for both.

“Harley, hands down by far, is one of the best athletes we have on the team,” Reed said. “He had four races going from prelims into finals with less than 24 hours of rest, and that is really, really tough for a sprinter.

“For him to come back in the finals race and run 10.66 was incredible. He really fought for it. He leaned at the line and won by one hundredth of a second. It was absolutely insane.”

Jeff Vorva is a freelance reporter for the Daily Southtown.

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