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Football Forecast: Week 8

With two weeks remaining in the regular season, Millar has a three-point lead over Vorva and Wally. All three picked Argo over Oak Lawn in this week’s GOTW and there is little variation in their picks overall, so the current leader is guaranteed to still be ahead come Week 9. Maholy and Whalen are lurking in fourth place, and the former has an opportunity for upward movement this week if things play out in his favor.

That Argonauts-Spartans matchup, by the way, has some potential playoff implications. The winner will be sitting on four victories heading into the final week of the regular season. Both have tough games in Week 9, with Argo facing Shepard and Oak Lawn up against Evergreen Park. The Astros are themselves in a fight for their playoff lives and will take on Reavis this week, while the Mustangs can all but assure themselves a spot in the postseason with a win tonight over Eisenhower.

 

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Teams honored and trainer mourned at SD230 meeting

By Jeff Vorva

There was both celebration and sorrow at the Consolidated High School District 230 meeting on Nov. 16.

The board recognized a pair of state champions – the Stagg unified volleyball team and the Sandburg Class 3A cross country team.

But there was some sadness to the meeting as longtime Sandburg trainer Dave Kreis was honored with a moment of silence. Kreis died of cancer on Nov. 11.

“Dave was good-hearted and great with the kids,” Supt. Robert Nolting said. “We will miss him very, very much.”

Kreis, 42, was honored by his uncle, Dave Athans on Nov. 14. Athans, a long-distance runner, ran on the Sandburg track for 42 hours and during portions of the race was joined by friends, family, Sandburg athletic teams and Eagles Principal Derrick Smith, who was able to run 42 laps.

At the meeting, the Stagg unified volleyball team was recognized for winning the Special Olympics of Illinois Fall Games at Harlem High School in Machesney Park the final weekend of October.

Athletes on the team are Steven Barajas, Dawid Lalik, Alex Paluch, Dariusz Szymczak and Aleksander Stopka. Unified partners are Grace Evans, Tara Green, Mia Robinson, McKenna Robinson and Karsyn Williams.

Sandburg’s boys cross country team shows off its state championship trophy at the District 230 meeting.

The Sandburg boys cross country team showed off its Illinois High School Association championship trophy to the board. They won the title at Detweiller Park in Peoria on Nov. 6.

Members of that squad are Declan Tunney, brock Rice, Sean Marquardt, Grant Giblin, Trent Anderson, Ibrahim Tineh, Evan Deimling, Jonathan Vales, Luke Atzman, Damian Martinez, Matthew Coleman, Nick Kut and Will Kupczyk.

Speaking of sports

The sports theme continued at the meeting as the board approved seven vendors for spring sports for uniforms and equipment totaling $26,924 at Sandburg, Stagg and Andrew.

Don’s World of Sports of Palos Hills, Santo Sports Stores of Chicago Ridge and Palos Sports of Alsip were winning area vendors that joined bidders from Tampa, Dallas and West Warwick, Rhode Island.

The board also approved a hockey agreement with the Orland Park Eagles Club to provide participation opportunities for Sandburg students and provide a liaison within the district to assist with eligibility and communication.

Calendar talk

The draft of calendars from 2022 through 2025 are being reviewed and will be presented for approval at the December board meeting.

For 2022-23, there will be 177 attendance days for students, four institute days, two parent/teacher conference days and 11 holidays.

Record number of runners come out for 33rd Turkey Trot

Patrick Foster crosses the finish line at the 33rd Orland Park Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning. Foster, an Orland Park native, also won the event in 2019. Photo by Jeff Vorva

By Jeff Vorva
Correspondent

In 2019, Patrick Foster won the Orland Park Turkey Trot for his first top finish in a competitive race.

This year, he was back in the winner’s circle.

Foster, an Orland Park native who now lives and works in Madison, Wisconsin, finished the 2 1/2-mile race in 14 minutes, 19.9 seconds on Thanksgiving morning on a course near Village Hall.

Amanda Tracy, a former Marist runner from Orland Park, was the first female to cross the finish line, with a time of 16:30.2.

During the height of COVID-19 in 2020, the Turkey Trot was run in waves the Saturday before Thanksgiving. But this year it was back in its regular time slot and the result was a record 960 entrants and 822 finishers. There were 296 finishers in 2020.

Foster was an alternate on the 2015 Sandburg cross country team, when the Eagles won their first IHSA Class 3A state championship.

The 2021 team won the second state title this fall, and Foster enjoyed it from afar.

“I was following them on my phone,” he said. “I was following them the whole season and it was exciting.”

Eight hundred-plus runners were following Foster on Thanksgiving morning, but he said he was racing more for fun than competition. He did not run the race in 2020.

“I just wanted to come out here and have fun,” he said. “I got a chance to see some people I haven’t see in a while. I saw some people from high school. Seeing each other at the start of the race was fun. I was able to talk to them for five or 10 minutes.”

Former Lockport runner Michael Barber, who now runs at Carthage, was the runner-up, Robbie Sieczkowski took third and 2020 champ Griffin Lehnhardt finished fourth.

Tracy had never tackled the Turkey Trot before and said she wasn’t sure what to expect.

Amanda Tracy, 19, won the women’s division of the Turkey Trot. Photo by Jeff Vorva

“I had no idea I would win it,” said Tracy. “I ran my pace, I felt good so I just went with it.”

At Marist, she joined three other runners in the 3,200-meter relay who qualified for the state meet in 2019.

Her senior track season was wiped out by COVID but she landed a spot on the cross country roster at St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana.

She was the second-highest finisher for the Belles in the NCAA Division III Great Lakes Regional race on Nov. 13 when she set a personal-best 6K time of 24:35.5.

She said she has been running for five years.

“I just wanted to try something different,” she said. “I loved it. I love the environment. Racing is fun.”

Tracy was the only female to run in under 17 minutes this year’s Turkey Trot.

Margaret Sobolewski was the runner-up with a 17:02.4 and Lindsey Gerhardstein was third with a 17:42.4.

Many athletes won age-group trophies.

Among the males, Cooper Kacerovskis (9-under), Brayden Gaffud (10-14), Michael Barber (15-19), Foster (20-24), Noah Rigoni (25-29), Zachary Dahleen (30-34), Daniel Dominik (35-39),Nick Tokarz (40-44), Miguel A. Hernandez (45-49), Manny Chavez (50-54), Steve Amann (55-59), Jim Rolette (60-64), John Warren (65-69) and Edward Behena (70-over) were champions.

The female winners were Hazel Kao (9-under), Lindsey Gerhardstein (10-14), Tracy (15-19), Kate Wille (20-24), Sobolewski (25-29), Rachel Reyes (30-34), Julie Gebel (35-39), Kelly Lynn (40-44), Paula Garspardo (45-49), Sherry Wille (50-54), Margaret Marron (55-59), Shelli O’Grady (60-64), Gloria Hill Hupe (65-69) and Margie Tucker (70-older).

More than 800 runners competed in this year’s Turkey Trot. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Girls Basketball: Shepard, Knights among four area teams to open season at Bobby Bolton Classic


Oak Lawn coach Mark Sevedge helped guide his young team, which features only one senior, to third place at the Bobby Bolton Classic. Photo by Jeff Vorva

By Jeff Vorva
Correspondent

Four area teams competed in the eight-team Bobby Bolton Classic at Richards, and each showed some bright spots and had some sloppy moments.

That was to be expected. Richards, Oak Lawn, Chicago Christian and Shepard were all opening the season with young teams.

According to their rosters, 15 of 54 players on those teams are seniors and nine are either freshmen or sophomores.

The bad news is that none of them finished 4-0 at the tournament. The good news is that none finished 0-4.

Lincoln-Way East beat Thornton 67-29 in a non-area battle for the championship on Saturday.

Oak Lawn beat Richards, 47-17 in an all-Oak Lawn tangle for third place.

Chicago Christian finished sixth and Shepard took seventh.

Here is a closer look at the four local squads.

 

Oak Lawn
Two Spartans opened the tournament with a pair of double-doubles as the lone senior on the team, Mia Kennelly, had 17 points and 11 rebounds while junior Kate Dillon had 11 points and 10 boards in a 57-38 victory over Shepard.

Both were at it again in the second round in the wi over Richards, with Dillon scoring 19 points and pulling down 10 rebounds while Kennelly finishing with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

In a 62-22 loss to Lincoln-Way East, Kennelly scored half of the Spartans’ points.

In the win over Richards, Dillon led with 16 points and Shatha Abdeljaber added nine.

Richards’ Jada Cork takes contact as she is in the middle of two physical Thornton players at the Bobby Bolton Classic. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Richards
The Bulldogs opened its own tournament with a 43-25 victory over Chicago Christian as sophomore Iyanah Crosby made her varsity debut by hauling down 17 rebounds.

Junior Deniza Fuentes and senior Jada Cork led the way with nine points each.

In round two, the Bulldogs whipped Eisenhower, 63-25 as junior Julie Niemeyer had 15 points and nine rebounds while Crosby had nine points and nine rebounds.

The final round of pool play saw them drop a 44-33 game to Thornton, with Niemeyer scoring 12 points.

Chicago Christian freshman Charity Love moves up court against Eisenhower in the Bobby Bolton Classic. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Chicago Christian
Karl Frixen’s squad is not only young, it was a little out of sorts without having the full team in practice during the preseason as players were involved in cross country and the volleyball team, which had an extended season after finishing third in the state in Class 2A.

The Knights got off to a tough start, scoring a combined 53 points in losses to Richards and Thornton.

Then, against Eisenhower’s Grinnell-style offense, they exploded for 51-16 victory as freshman Charity Love led with 12 points and junior Molly Bugos added nine.

Love had nine points in a 58-29 setback to T.F. South in the fifth-place game.

Shepard freshman Brianna Spain handles the ball in a game against T.F. South in the Bobby Bolton Classic. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Shepard
After two losses, the Astros came close to making it an all-Palos Heights fifth-game affair as they made a furious fourth-quarter comeback in a 49-47 loss to Thornton Fractional South in the third round of pool play.

Gianna Spain led the Astros with 17 points.

They found success in the seventh-place game with a 51-21 victory over Eisenhower. Robin Stevenson had 18 points and Brianna Sweas came up with 10.

Pro soccer report: Red Stars lose Dames after losing in NWSL title game

Rory Dames, shown during the NWSL semifinals in Portland, resigned at the Chicago Red Stars coach a day after the team played in the league’s championship game. Photo by IMI

By Jeff Vorva
Correspondent

After a bizarre season that saw many of their best players injured for much of the time, a 5-0 loss to open the season and the thrill of making it to the NWSL championship game, Chicago Red Stars coach Rory Dames announced late Sunday night he was resigning.

“For 11 years, I have dedicated myself to help build the Chicago Red Stars into one of the top international clubs,” Dames said in a statement. “Effective today, I’m refocusing my attention to my family and future endeavors, and I am resigning as coach of the Chicago Red Stars.

“I’d like to thank the Chicago Red Stars organization, the fans and the players who I have had the opportunity to work with in their professional soccer careers. I look forward to watching the Chicago Red Stars and the NWSL continue to grow and evolve while supporting their players.”

The club said it will work to immediately transition his responsibilities to the assistant coaches while the search for a new head coach takes place.

In an odd twist, no specific official from the team commented on the resignation and a news release merely quoted “the Chicago Red Stars” as a whole.

“Under Rory’s leadership we have been a remarkably consistent and excellent club on the field.” the release stated. “We continually evaluate our team and front office environment, and given the dynamic change underway in the league, it is time to begin the next chapter of the Red Stars with a search for new leadership of the team.”

Dames started coaching the team in 2011 and had a 68-43-47 record after the team joined the NWSL in 2013. That included coaching the Stars to a league record six straight playoff appearances.

In a bizarre year for the 10-team NWSL, Dames, Houston Dash’s James Clarkson and Kansas City’s Huw Williams were the only coaches to start and finish their respective seasons.

Williams was reassigned to another position with the team shortly after the season ended, and with Dames’ resigning Clarkson is the only survivor.

The other seven teams had coaches who either resigned, were fired or reassigned.

Dames is a Chicago native who played high school soccer at St. Viator and Saint Louis University. He played professionally for the Rockford Raptors and in 1997 founded the Eclipse Select Soccer Club, which fields more than 60 teams for area boys and girls in the Chicago area.

Oh, there was a game
Dames’ announcement came a day after the team suffered a 2-1 overtime loss to Washington in the NWSL championship game at Lynn Family Stadium in Louisville.

Things looked promising when Rachel Hill scored late in the first half.

But at that time, impact players Vanessa DiBernardo and Mallory Pugh were hurt and were not able to play in the second half.

Washington’s Andi Sullivan scored to tie it in the 67th minute and Kelley O’Hara added a goal in the overtime and hung on to claim the title.

NWSL Rookie of the Year Trinity Rodman, daughter of former controversial NBA star Dennis Rodman, got the assist on the game-winner for Washington.

In the closing minutes of the title game, Chicago’s Makenzy Doniak’s shot was saved by Aubrey Bledsoe, and the goalie was also able to tip an Arin Wright shot over the bar.

House Keeping
The Chicago House closed the fall portion of the National Independent Soccer Association season with a 3-1 setback to the Cal United Strikers FC Saturday night at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview.

Cal scored twice in the first 17 minutes before Wojciech Wojik put Chicago on the board in the 22nd minute.

The House finished with a 7-9-2 mark,, good for sixth in the 10-team league.

The spring season schedule has not been announced but look for the league to resume in May.

Pro soccer report: Red Stars lose Dames after losing in NWSL title game Copy

Rory Dames, shown during the NWSL semifinals in Portland, resigned at the Chicago Red Stars coach a day after the team played in the league’s championship game. Photo by IMI

 

By Jeff Vorva

Correspondent

 

After a bizarre season that saw many of their best players injured for much of the season, a lousy 5-0 loss to open the season and the thrill of making it to the National Women’s Soccer League championship game, Chicago Red Stars coach Rory Dames announced late Sunday night he was resigning.

“For 11 years, I have dedicated myself to help build the Chicago Red Stars into one of the top international clubs,” he said in a statement. “Effective today, I’m refocusing my attention to my family and future endeavors, and I am resigning as coach of the Chicago Red Stars.

“I’d like to thank the Chicago Red Stars organization, the fans and the players who I have had the opportunity to work with in their professional soccer careers. I look forward to watching the Chicago Red Stars and the NWSL continue to grow and evolve while supporting their players.”

The club said it will work to immediately transition his responsibilities to the assistant coaches while the search for a permanent head coach takes place.

In an odd twist, no specific official from the team commented on the resignation and a news release merely quoted “the Chicago Red Stars” as a whole as saying, “Under Rory’s leadership we have been a remarkably consistent and excellent club on the field. We continually evaluate our team and front office environment, and given the dynamic change underway in the league, it is time to begin the next chapter of the Red Stars with a search for new leadership of the team.”

Dames started coaching the team in 2011 and had a 68-43-47 record after the team joined the NWSL in 2013. That included coaching the Stars to a league record six straight playoff appearances.

In a bizarre year for the 10-team NWSL, Dames, Houston Dash’s James Clarkson and Kansas City’s Huw Williams were the only coaches to start and finish their respective seasons.

Williams was reassigned another position with the team shortly after the season ended and now Dames resigned leaving Clarkson as the only survivor.

The other seven teams had coached either resigned, were fired or reassigned.

Dames is a Chicago native who played high school soccer at St. Viator and Saint Louis University. He played professionally for the Rockford Raptors and in 1997 founded the Eclipse Select Soccer Club, which fields more than 60 teams for area boys and girls in the Chicago area.

Oh, there was a game

Dames’ announcement came a day after the team suffered a 2-1 overtime loss to Washington in the NWSL championship game at Lynn Family Stadium in Louisville.

Things looked promising when Rachel Hill scored late in the first half.

But at that time, impact players Vanessa DiBernardo and Mallory Pugh were hurt and were not able to play in the second half.

Washington’s Andi Sullivan scored to tie it in the 67th minute and Kelley O’Hara added a goal in the overtime and hung on to claim the title.

NWSL Rookie of the Year Trinity Rodman, daughter of former controversial NBA star Dennis Rodman, got the assist on the game-winner for Washington.

In the closing minutes of the title game, Chicago’s Makenzy Doniak’s shot was saved by Aubrey Bledsoe and the goalie was also able to tip an Arin Wright shot over the bar.

Housekeeping

The Chicago House closed the fall portion of the National Independent Soccer Association season with a 3-1 setback to the Cal United Strikers FC Saturday night at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview.

Cal scored twice in the first 17 minutes before Wojciech Wojik put Chicago on the board in the 22nd minute.

The House finished with a 7-9-2 mark,, good for sixth in the 10-team league.

The spring season schedule has not been announced but look for the league to resume in May.

 

St. Rita tops Prospect, advances to second straight state title game

By Steve Millar
Correspondent

After entering the season with huge expectations, St. Rita lost two of its first three games and star senior running back/receiver Kaleb Brown to injury.

While some may have written the Mustangs off, they still believed they had a team that could win a state championship.

“We’ve been able to stick together all year,” senior defensive end Jake Polselli said. “The adversity that we’ve faced these last three years, sticking together has been the main thing.

“We had an unreal group (in the spring). We had arguably the best team in the state.”

Now, St. Rita is one win away from showing it’s the best team in Class 7A.

The host Mustangs rolled to a 42-20 win over Prospect in the semifinals on Nov. 20.

St. Rita (11-2) will take on Wheaton North (12-1) in the state championship game at 4 p.m. Saturday at Huskie Stadium at Northern Illinois University.

It will be the second straight title-game appearance for the Mustangs, who lost to Rochester in the 2019 5A championship game. St. Rita will be looking for its first state title since 2006.

“It’s a credit to our guys, especially after how we started,” St. Rita coach Todd Kuska said. “We were a top-ranked team and all of a sudden, it was like, ‘What happened to St. Rita?’ Well, hey, we’re going to the state championship game.

“Things happened. We regrouped. We’ve played together. Credit to our seniors.”

Brown, an Ohio State recruit, injured his left leg in the first quarter of the season-opening loss to Mount Carmel and missed the rest of the regular season before returning for the second round of the playoffs.

He ran for two touchdowns — a 17-yarder and an 11-yarder — in the first half Saturday night as St. Rita opened up a 35-7 lead before halftime

“I’m 100%,” Brown said. “I’m good. I’m back and better and glad to be back on the field. To end my senior year the right way, it’s unreal.”

While Brown was making big plays offensively, the St. Rita defense was doing its part against Prospect (10-3), as well, scoring a pair of defensive touchdowns in the first half.

Junior Johnny Schmitt returned an interception 7 yards for a TD in the first quarter and senior Jake Polselli took a pick back 22 yards to the end zone in the second quarter.

“I worked really hard in the offseason to make plays in these types of games,” Schmitt said. “It’s great to be out here and I’m so happy to be part of this team.”

Polselli added a second interception in the second half.

“That was great for Jake,” Kuska said. “He’s a senior captain and he came up with big plays. All our guys played hard.”

Polselli’s touchdown made it 28-7 St. Rita with 5:50 seconds left in the second quarter and sophomore running back DJ Stewart capped the dominant half by scoring on a 11-yard touchdown run with one minute left.

Stewart added a 3-yard touchdown run in the second half and finished with 87 yards on 14 carries.

Fellow sophomore Ethan Middleton added 106 yards on just nine carries.

Stewart and Middleton had their roles expand after Brown’s injury and an injury to senior running back Kyle Clayton.

“Without me getting hurt, a lot of that wouldn’t have happened,” Brown said. “It’s definitely a blessing in disguise. They got their mojo going. I like to see my team win. I love it. We’re winning and getting better.

“I’m glad they held it down without me, and now I’m back so I’m glad we can all do it together as a team.”

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