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St. Rita junior James Brown opened the year verbally committing to North Carolina. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Local Hoops Wrap: Scuffling St. Rita eyes big March

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer They have never had a nickname, such as the Fab Four. But that title could have applied. The foursome of James Brown, Morez Johnson, Josh Pickett and Jaedin Reyna came to St. Rita High with high expectations, with all four receiving scholarship offers from Northern Illinois before playing a single…

Mother McAuley's Ellie White, a Michigan recruit, earned a national player of the year award in volleyball. Photo courtesy of Mother McAuley

Area Sports Roundup: Mother McAuley has another national POY; Red Stars’ scorer has new last name

By Jeff Vorva Staff writer How many national players of the year can one team have? If you are the Mother McAuley volleyball team, you can have more than one. The Class 4A state champions are cornering the market in that regard. Less than a month after senior Gigi Navarrete won a national player of…

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College Notebook | Stagg alum on fire in pool for Illinois-Chicago

By Mike Walsh Correspondent One of the top performers at the recent three-day House of Champions Invitational held at the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis natatorium was UIC women’s swimmer Taira Juronis. Juronis, a Stagg graduate, won the 200-breaststroke with a time of 2:16.49, nearly two seconds faster than the second-place swimmer. Juronis also bested her…

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Boys Basketball | St. Laurence looks to keep good times rolling in 2023

By Steve Millar Correspondent A young St. Laurence team is hitting its stride and starting to believe. The Vikings took momentum into the New Year by winning four straight games at the Jack Tosh Holiday Classic to capture the tournament’s consolation championship. “It was a pretty big boost getting those four wins,” sophomore guard Zerrick…

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Boys Basketball | Stagg looking for a spark as conference play begins

By Randy Whalen Correspondent The return of Connor Williams and a fast start provided Stagg hope for its first back-to-back wins in nearly a month. A stifling Lockport defense and a slow finish thwarted that possibility. The Chargers scored only 13 points over the final 23:44 of the game and fell to the Porters, 43-31,…

Shepard celebrates coach Tony Chiuccariello's (front row, second from left) 300th career victory on Dec. 27 and two days later celebrated winning the Elgin tournament. Shepard High School photo

Local Hoops Wrap | Four area teams win holiday titles; Shepard coach Chiucciarello notches 300th victory

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer With the odds of 8-to-1, 16-to-1 or even 32-to-1 of winning a holiday basketball tournament, championships are not easy to come by. But the area produced four champions — two boys teams and two girls teams — at the end of December as Mount Carmel won the 16-team Pekin Tournament,…

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Boys Basketball | Freshman guard Jennings lifts Richards at Hinsdale Central Classic

By Steve Millar Correspondent Coming off a tough loss to open its slate at the Hinsdale Central Holiday Classic, Richards got a welcome boost from its youngest player. Freshman guard Marcus Jennings, playing in just his third varsity game, led the Bulldogs with 17 points in a 65-58 win over Morton. Senior guard Eddie Hrebic…

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Boys Basketball | Morton gets one win at Hinsdale Central Holiday Classic

By Steve Millar Correspondent After a tough start to open the Hinsdale Central Holiday Classic, Morton came away with a much-needed victory in its third game. The Mustangs, led by senior guard Adrian Anderson’s 16 points, topped Glenbard East, 73-70, in consolation action on Dec. 28. It was a welcome result after sustaining two consecutive…

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Boys Hoops: St. Rita finishes fourth at Proviso West Holiday Tourney

By Steve Millar Correspondent St. Rita went into the Proviso West Holiday Tournament as one of the event’s “big three” teams, along with Chicago Public League powers Whitney Young and Kenwood. The perception was those three teams were far above the rest of the field. In the end, however, the Mustangs finished fourth. St. Rita…

Lenoir-Rhyne's Andre Jefferson (32) chases Tusculum's Tre Simmons (2) out of the pocket during Saturday afternoons game at Moretz Stadium in Hickory. Ernie Masche/Record

College Notebook: Richards alum Andre Jefferson earns college gridiron accolades

By Mike Walsh Correspondent The accolades are adding up for Lenoir-Rhyne University football player Andre Jefferson. Jefferson, who prepped at Richards, was one of three Bears named to the Division II Conference Commissioner’s Association All-Super Region Two Second Team for the 2022 season. Lenoir-Rhyne is in Hickory, N.C. The sophomore defensive tackle finished the season…

St. Rita's Todd Kuska, who retired after the 2022 season, will be inducted into the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2023. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Area Sports Roundup: St. Rita’s Kuska to be inducted into Hall of Fame

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer The plaudits keep coming for retired St. Rita football coach Todd Kuska. Kuska, a former player with the Mustangs and head coach for 25 years, has been named to the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame class of 2023. Kuska racked up a 215-93 career mark, which…

Trey Pierce, along with his parents Roderick and Kelly and brother Christian, pose during his signing day after he made it official that he was heading to Michigan. Brother Rice photo

Area Sports Report: Area football players sign letters of intent; SXU hoops stays hot

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer Some of the top football players in the area made their college decisions official on Dec. 21, with one of the literally largest signings coming at Brother Rice. Defensive lineman Trey Pierce, all 6-foot-3, 290 pounds of him, signed a National Letter of Intent to play at Michigan. Pierce has…

Former Sandburg star runner Dylan Jacobs did some amazing things for Notre Dame and Tennessee in 2022. Notre Dame photo

SWR Top 10: Dylan Jacobs’ feats top area’s favorite sports stories of 2022

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer It’s a cliché for newspapers to brag about its area sports teams and athletes when putting together these top stories of the year. But, darn it, just look at what has been going on in the land of the Regional, Reporter, Des Plaines Valley News and Southwest News Herald in…

De La Salle alum Francesca Bertucci, who completed her sophomore season at Northern Illinois, was named the Mis-American Conference Defensive Player of the Year. Photo courtesy of Northern Illinois University Athletics

College Notebook: NIU’s Francesca Bertucci named MAC Defensive POY

By Mike Walsh Correspondent The 2022 season is likely one that will not be soon forgotten by Northern Illinois women’s volleyball player Francesca Bertucci. Not only did the sophomore libero/defensive specialist win four Mid-American Conference’s West Division Defensive Player of the Week, she also was lauded as the MAC’s Defensive Player of the Year. Bertucci,…

St. Rita's Melvin Bell helps up teammate James Brown during last season's sectional loss to Kenwood. The two Class 4A state powers could be on a collision course in sectional action again this year. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Area Hoops Wrap: IHSA releases basketball postseason assignments

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer Most of the holiday basketball tournaments have not even started, but the IHSA has already released its 2023 postseason assignments. For some area schools, the placements into some sectionals are not exactly gifts from Santa. Area teams Reavis, Brother Rice, Hubbard, Marist, St. Rita, Oak Lawn, Sandburg, Shepard and Stagg…

Gigi Navarrete, a Mother McAuley volleyball standout heading to Northwestern, was named the nation's best player in a vote administered by Scorebook.com. Mother McAuley photo

Area Sports Roundup: Mother McAuley’s Gigi Navarette voted best player in the U.S.

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer It was Navar in doubt. Mother McAuley senior Gigi Navarrete easily won a public vote conducted by Scorebook Live for best high school girls volleyball player in the country. Of 30,761 votes cast, 16,197 (53%) were for the Mighty Macs libero. Coming in a distant second was Ava Safara of…

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Boys Hoops: St. Rita hands Brother Rice first loss

By Steve Millar  Correspondent St. Rita came into this season with plenty of hype, boasting a stacked roster led by the top three junior recruits in the state. Three early losses may have left some people questioning whether the Mustangs are legit, but junior forward Morez Johnson said he and his teammates are ready to…

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Chicago Christian seeking new head football coach

By Mike Walsh  Correspondent Chicago Christian is looking for a new football head coach. The Knights’ next coach will succeed Tom O’Connor, who in two seasons in Palos Heights compiled an overall regular-season record of 9-9. This season, Chicago Christian won its last four regular-season games, including a 19-0 decision over Ridgewood in Week 9,…

St. Laurence graduate Toriano Clinton rewrote many of the record books during his career at the University of Indianapolis. Photo courtesy of University of Indianapolis

College Notebook: St. Laurence alum rewrites Greyhound record book

By Mike Walsh  Correspondent As senior seasons go, it’s tough to top the one authored by University of Indianapolis running back Toriano Clinton. Clinton, who prepped at St. Laurence, was one of three Greyhounds chosen for the 2022 D2CCA All-Super Region 3 Team, and the only one to make the first team. This fall, Clinton…

Jon Gordon, left, poses with Marist runners Matt McKee, Frankie Wagner, Brayden Bartecki and assistant coach Zachary Maslanka at the team's cross country banquet in November. Gordon died Friday. Marist High School photo

Area Sports Roundup: Marist, Nazareth mourns deaths of coaches

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer   It was a sad week for two area schools. The Marist and local running communities were saddened by the death of Jon Gordon on Dec. 9, two days after sophomore Nazareth baseball coach Mario Ortiz. Gordon, the RedHawks’ boys track and cross country coach since 2017, died Dec. 9.…

The sign that the holiday basketball season is here is at Oak Lawn, where the Spartans began hosting its tournament on Saturday. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Area Hoops Wrap: Holiday tournament season starts early at Oak Lawn

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer Oak Lawn got a jump on the rest of the area basketball world when its girls holiday tournament opened for business Dec. 10. Most area boys and girls holiday basketball tournaments take place the week before or the week after Christmas. But Oak Lawn has a tradition of hosting its…

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Boys Hoops: Evergreen Park holds strong, tops Oak Lawn

By Steve Millar  Correspondent Nolan Sexton had for a long time been looking forward to Evergreen Park getting another shot at Oak Lawn. The Spartans beat the Mustangs during each of the junior guard’s first two seasons, including a second-half comeback victory in 2021. Sexton knew exactly what the Mustangs needed to do to make…

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Boys Hoops: Stagg rides hot shooting to win over Sandburg

By Randy Whalen Correspondent The Stagg defense made sure it was not a happy homecoming for John Daniels. Connor Williams scored a game-high 16 points and added seven rebounds, the Chargers made 11 3-pointers and their defense held Sandburg scoreless for nearly 13 minutes en route to a 49-21 victory Dec. 9 in Palos Hills.…

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Boys Basketball: Marist stays unbeaten through two weeks

By Steve Millar Correspondent Marist came into the season with some question marks after losing a pair of key players to transfers and elevating several newcomers, including three freshmen, to the varsity roster. The young RedHawks are, however, off to a blazing 6-0 start. They held on for a 57-55 win on the road Nov.…

Jaeden King of St. Xavier gets ready to score one of his 39 points against Trinity Christian College on Nov. 30. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Local Hoops Wrap: Transfers shining for Saint Xavier in early going

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer The transfer portal is turning college athletics upside down, and Saint Xavier men’s basketball coach Robert Ford is enjoying it. And taking advantage of it. Jaeden King came to SXU in 2021 after transferring from NCAA Division II Tiffin University. Prior to that he played at Western Illinois. He is…

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Migrants coming to Ford City

. Nearly a thousand coming this month to Holiday Inn . By Tim Hadac The Pritzker Administration is converting a vacant hotel in the Midway area to a shelter expected to house as many as 950 migrants. The action is occurring quickly, with migrants expected to move in this month. In a press release posted…

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CTA hiring means more rail service

. Orange Line sees 11% jump . From staff reports The Chicago Transit Authority has announced that because of what they described as continued, aggressive recruiting, hiring and training efforts, it has added 8.5% more scheduled rail service in recent weeks for a total of 9% more scheduled service added since April 2024. Locally, there…

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LeaderShop Alumni Association to host peaceful rally during Thursday board meeting

The LeaderShop Alumni Association, a group of volunteers, previous staff members, former board members, funders, donors, and stakeholders who are community minded and energized by the mission of The LeaderShop, will host a peaceful rally in support of change to current leadership for the nonprofit agency. The rally will be held during The LeaderShop Board…

The Mariano’s store in Frankfort would be among the stores transferred to a new owner if the Kroger-Albertson’s merger is approved. (Photo by Bob Bong)

Comings & Goings: Palos Jewel, Oak Lawn Mariano’s to be sold in merger deal

By Bob Bong Kroger and Albertson’s this week released the list of stores the companies plan to sell, should a merger between the grocery giants be approved by regulators. Jewel Food Stores in Alsip and Palos Heights are among the stores listed for sale as well as Mariano’s locations in Oak Lawn, Orland Park, and Frankfort. The…

The Oak Lawn Public Library, 9427 S. Raymond Ave., kicked off its adult and teen summer reading season with a Local Author Showcase featuring a book fair and 30 authors June 12. (Photos by Enrique Reyes, Courtesy of the Oak Lawn Public Library)

Oak Lawn Library hosts Local Author Showcase

By Kelly White Oak Lawn Public Library opened its doors to the summer season and to its local authors. The library, 9427 S. Raymond Ave., kicked off its adult and teen summer reading season with a Local Author Showcase featuring a book fair and 30 authors June 12. “Thirty authors, two hours, and lots of…

Palos Heights native Patrick Bertotelli won the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest July 4 in New York. (Photo courtesy of Major League Eating)

Palos Heights native is top dog in famous eating contest

By Jeff Vorva At one time, it may have seemed impossible for Palos Heights native Patrick Bertoletti to win the Nathan’s Hog Dog Eating contest. After all, Joey Chestnut was roasting opponents year after year by winning 16 titles since 2007 and had a streak of gobbling up championships eight years in a row heading…

Palos Park Mayor Nicole Milovich-Walters is hoping a mobile DMV will return to the village after the July 15 visit was sold out. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

DMV sellout could mean a return visit in Palos Park

By Jeff Vorva Palos Park Clerk Marie Arrigoni announced that appointments for the one-day mobile Department of Motor Vehicles visit to Village Hall are sold out. That’s bad news for those residents who were looking forward to taking care of DMV business right there in town. But it was good news to Mayor Nicole Milovich-Walters.…

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LeaderShop director faces more charges from former staffers

From staff reports The LaGrange-based LeaderShop, a social service agency that recently lost $300,000 in funding, is facing new charges of a toxic work environment, bullying, and inappropriate behavior by Executive Director Alan Morales. Since the story was first published in the Desplaines Valley News on June 24, at least six women have documented their…

Lyons Mayor Christopher Getty presents a copy of the proclamation honoring the Lyons Mustangs Athletic Club for 100 years to President Gary Benedik. (Photos by Steve Metsch)

Lyons Mustangs honored for 100 years of service

By Steve Metsch It’s not often a service organization hits 100 years. But there are not many service organizations like the Lyons Mustangs Athletic Club. “We don’t know of any other organization anywhere around here, maybe in the city of Chicago, but maybe around here that has made it 100 years. It’s quite a feat.…

Eddie Korosa will perform again at this year's Music in the Park series of concerts in Lyons. (file photo)

Lyons’ Music in the Park series starts July 10

By Steve Metsch The popular Music in the Park series will begin a six-week run on July 10 at Veterans Park in Lyons. Bands will perform from 6 to 9 p.m. each Wednesday through Aug. 14, said Ted Tale, director of parks and recreation for the village. Each night will “feature a vendor with food…

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McCook settles with former police officer

By Steve Metsch More than eight months after the process began, the village of McCook has reached a settlement with former police officer John Kosmowski Jr. “This will end this case for once and for all. Gets it out of our hair even though I don’t have hair,” Mayor Terrance Carr quipped during the McCook…

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Countryside police seek grants for tasers and solar-powered cameras

By Steve Metsch The Countryside Police Department is applying for two grants that are intended to help improve safety. Police Chief Paul Klimek told the city council at its June 12 meeting that he is seeking a grant from the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority for tasers. “The state is going to award tasers to…