Chicago's Scott Johnson runs in a holiday outfit in the 35th running of the Orland Park Turkey Trot. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Chicago's Scott Johnson runs in a holiday outfit in the 35th running of the Orland Park Turkey Trot. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Cold Turkey Trotting | Young runners heat up Orland Park race held in freezing temps

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By Jeff Vorva
Staff Writer

The temperature may have been freezing, but the winners were not complaining.

The 35th Orland Park Turkey Trot, held per tradition on Thanksgiving, started in 30-degree weather. And the young champs embraced it.

Jack Krusinski, 16, of Palos Heights, won the 2.5 mile event with a time of 14:01.04. The sophomore from Stagg beat last year’s champ, Brandon Lukas, by five seconds.

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Jack Krusinski holds up his championship turkey after the 16-year-old won the Orland Park Turkey Trot. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Jadie Chavez, 18, of the Chicago’s Garfield Ridge neighborhood and a senior at St. Laurence, won the women’s division for the second straight year with a time of 16:57.1.

“I love running in the cold, actually,” she said. “It’s my favorite weather.”

“I really like it,” Krusinski added. “I try to do most of my practice runs at night and in the rain.”

Chavez is coming off a cross country season in which she finished 43rd in the state in Class 2A. She placed 137th in 2022.

“I made it in the top 50 this year, so I was really happy,” she said of her high school season. “It was way better than last year because last year [the course at state] was all muddy.

“I did a lot of work over the summer. I did a lot more mileage than speed work. I put the miles in and it really helped me.”

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Garfield Ridge’s Jadie Chavez won back-to-back Orland Park Turkey Trots. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Krusinski said he played just about every sport imaginable including hockey and volleyball, but once he got into high school he focused exclusively on running.

In the female competition, Nora Dubois won in 9-under, Isabella Van Alst won in 10-14, Chavez won in 15-19, Mary Farhat won in 20-24, Christina Guilfoyle won in 25-29, Michelle Turner won in 30-34, Mary Mortiz won in 35-39, Kelly Lynn won in 40-44,  Rita Suliauskaite won in 45-49, Bridget Young won in 50-54, Therese Lifonti won in 55-59, Shelli O’Grady won in 60-64, Barb Nolan in 65-69 and Paula Scheiwe won in 70-over.

In the male competition, Jase Enstrom in the 9-under, Brayden Gaffud won in 10-14, Krusinski won in 15-19, Robbie Sieczkowski won in 20-24, Brandon Lukas won in 25-29, Kyle Harrington won in 30-34, Matt Swiatkowski won in 35-39, Barry Clarke won in 40-44, Pete Vallianatos won in 45-49, Jim Delisa won in 50-54, Manny Chavez won in 55-59, Gene Lifonti won in 60-64, Larry Bornhofen won in 65-69 and Ronn Ross won in 70-over.

Officials said that 1,000 people signed up to race. There were 897 runners who finished.

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