Harper Noren of the Illinois Lightning Track Club shows her form in the long jump on June 25 at Shepard. Photo by Jeff Vorva
Area Sports Roundup: Lightning strikes at Shepard
By Jeff Vorva
There was a lot of rain and a little bit of thunder at the Illinois Lightning Track and Field Club’s open track meet, which was held at Shepard on June 25.
The meet was open to everyone, from children as young as 4 (one 3-year-old also participated) to adults. More than 100 boys, girls, men and women ran, jumped or threw.
“This is an event that we want to bring in people of all ages,” said longtime Shepard girls track coach Scot Rybarczyk, who is also the Lightning’s head coach.
The Lighting is a new club team based in Palos Heights. It was founded by former Astros track athlete Kiki Boyd and features 55 athletes.
Some of the coaches on the staff boast impressive credentials. They include former Bloom coach Lonelle Poole, retired Thornton and Rich Township coach Jimmy Daniels, sprinting coach Jasmine Daniels, Shepard throwing coach Clint Connelly, Eisenhower girls coach Tony Sosnowsiki, Bremen coach Bill Griffin, Reavis throwing coach Jeff Kreil, and Shepard graduates Kathy Mydra and Rainah Folk.
Among the Shepard alums who competed included Jamil Mashni, one of just four Astros to medal in the IHSA state meet, taking ninth in the shot put in 2010. He tried his luck in the shot put and discus.
Mashni, 30, said he threw over 50 feet in the shot in the rain on June 25, not far off of his 55-2.25 that he heaved as an athlete at SIU-Edwardsville. The mortgage loan originator at Rocket Mortgage was happy to see an event like this take place.
“I came out here and broke 50, man — that’s cool,” he said. “It’s been nine years since I held a shot like that.”
“This was awesome. I wish there were a few more faces of people that I graduated with, but it’s still a great turnout and I’m seeing a lot of familiar faces.”
The meet drew athletes and teams from a variety of places including Rush Athletics of Plainfield, the Chicago Thunder Track Club and the University of Chicago Track Club.
Rybarczyk said there will be another meet at Shepard on July 23, and he is hoping for triple the teams and athletes.
Excitement in Omaha
Former Brother Rice baseball star Kendall Pettis is a member of Oklahoma’s baseball team, which finished second at the NCAA Men’s College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska.
He played in all five World Series games and collected two hits, drove in a run and scored twice.
On the season, the sophomore hit .259, scored 45 runs and drove in 27.
Orland Park native and former Marist standout Jack Brannigan was also in Omaha for three World Series games with Notre Dame and had two hits. For the season, he hit .291 with 12 homers and 46 RBI. He was also 2-2 on the mound, with a 7.36 ERA and a pair of saves.
Another Brother Rice alum who had some baseball excitement in Omaha was Michael Massey, who plays for the Triple-A Omaha Storm Chasers. He cracked a home run June 23 in a 5-3 home victory over Columbus.
Massey, who opened the season on the Kansas City Royals’ Double-A Northwest Arkansas squad, was called up to Triple-A in mid-June.
Fun in Springfield
The Chicago Wolves beat Springfield (Mass.) 4-0 in Game 5 on the road at the MassMutual Center to win the Calder Cup championship on June 25. It’s the fifth championship in club history.
Orland Park native David Gust scored one of the goals in the championship game.
In his second season with the Wolves, Gust had 16 goals and 20 assists.
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