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Evergreen Park’s competitive dance team performs a routine that vaulted the Mustangs to sixth in the state on Saturday. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Competitive Dance State Finals | Evergreen Park has sixth sense again

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer BLOOMINGTON — For the second straight year, Evergreen Park’s competitive dance team qualified for the second day of state competition. For the second straight year, the Mustangs were the first team to perform on the second day. And for the second straight year, they finished sixth in the state in…

Shepard's cheerleaders won the coed division of the Bradley-Bourbonnais Sectional and will head to state. Photo courtesy of Shepard High School

Area Sports Roundup: Shepard, Sandburg and Marist win cheerleading sectional titles

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer The area collected three sectional cheerleading championships and head into the state competition with a head of steam. Sandburg, Marist and Shepard came out of sectional competition with trophies and will compete in the IHSA state finals, to be held Friday and Saturday at Grossinger Arena at Illinois State University…

Grace Hynes, a senior at the University of Chicago and a Mother McAuley graduate, shot 17-for-36 from the field and 10-for-13 from the free-throw line during a two game stretch that included a win over previously unbeaten New York University. Photo courtesy of University of Chicago Athletics

College Notebook | Grace Hynes helps Maroons end NYU’s unbeaten run

By Mike Walsh Correspondent Mother McAuley alum Grace Hynes was the University Athletic Association’s Athlete of the Week in women’s college basketball for the timeframe ending January 17. Hynes, a senior at the University of Chicago, had 22 points and 10 rebounds as the Maroons’ handed top-ranked New York University its first loss of the…

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Boys Basketball | TF North ends Oak Lawn’s win streak at seven

By Steve Millar Correspondent Oak Lawn had a seven-game winning streak snapped last week in Calumet City, but Spartans coach Jason Rhodes knows it’s still been a heck of a January for a team thriving despite the loss of its leading scorer. Junior guard Corey Lee scored 14 points and senior guard Ayham Salah finished…

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Girls Basketball | Trunk a treasure late as Sandburg tops Lockport

By Randy Whalen Correspondent On Senior Night at Sandburg, it was a freshman who saved the Eagles. Zoe Trunk stole the ball and hit a layup with 10 seconds to play, completing Sandburg’s rally from a 12-point third-quarter deficit in a 37-34 victory over Lockport on Jan. 26 in Orland Park. The Eagles (15-12, 3-3)…

Sophia Figueroa, a sophomore at Sandburg, wrestles for the Andrew co-op.

Girls Wrestling | Sandburg’s Sophia Figueroa eyes state tourney bid

By Steve Millar Correspondent Sophia Figueroa is fired up for the girls wrestling postseason. The Sandburg sophomore competes for the Andrew co-op girls team, which also includes wrestlers from Stagg. As a freshman last season, Figueroa fell one win short of qualifying for the inaugural IHSA girls wrestling state finals. She was pinned by Lincoln-Way…

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Boys Basketball | Evergreen Park breaks out, but can’t overcome Hillcrest

By Steve Millar Correspondent Evergreen Park coach Jim Sexton knows he has a team capable of putting up big offensive numbers behind a bevy of strong shooters. That just has not happened consistently this season for the Mustangs, who have struggled to score more often than not. The offense, however, had a breakout performance last…

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Boys Basketball | Adam Stuursma scores 30, helps rally Chicago Christian to win over Shepard

By Steve Millar Correspondent Chicago Christian went into last week’s game against crosstown rival Shepard having lost eight games in a row. It didn’t seem likely the Knights were going to end that streak when they went to halftime down by 16 points. Knights coach Kevin Pittman implored his team to focus on slowly chipping…

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Boys Bowling | Stagg charges to first state finals appearance

By Randy Whalen Correspondent For Stagg, it’s a first. For Sandburg, it’s a return trip. Both teams survived the Plainfield North Sectional at Town & Country Lanes in Joliet to advance to the state tournament. The finals will be Friday, Jan. 27, and Saturday, Jan. 28, at St. Claire Bowl in Fairview Heights. The Chargers,…

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Boys Bowling | Reavis rolls to sectional title, sixth straight trip to state

By Jason Maholy Sports Editor A strong all-around team effort and a runner-up performance by Ethan Deluna powered Reavis to the championship of the IC Catholic Sectional and a trip to the state tournament. The Rams totaled 6338 to top second-place Glenbrook North by 100 pins on Jan. 21 at Bowlero in Glendale Heights. Lyons…

McKendree sophomore tight end Jordan Sprycha, and Oak Lawn alum, finished third on the Bearcats in receiving touchdowns with five, and tied for sixth in both receptions (22) and receiving yards (193) for the 2022 season. Photo courtesy of McKendree Athletics

College Notebook: Ex-Spartan Sprycha balling with Bearcats

By Mike Walsh Correspondent The fall of 2022 was successful both in the classroom and on the football field for Jordan Sprycha. In the classroom, the Oak Lawn graduate was one of eight McKendree University chosen to the 2022 College Sports Communicators Academic All-District Team. CSC Academic All-District Award nominees must be a starter or…

Brother Rice’s Ahmad Henderson shoots a game-winning 3-pointer against Fenwick his sophomore season. He has also had last-second game winners in his junior and senior seasons. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Hoops Wrap: Ahmad Henderson’s late-game heroics lift Rice over Marist

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer There is no rule that says Ahmad Henderson needs to sink a game-winning basket at least once a season. If there was such a rule, the Brother Rice senior would follow it to perfection. Henderson worked his closing-seconds magic in one of the area’s hottest rivalries in a 49-48 victory…

Evergreen Park's competitive dance team is heading back to the state meet after winning its first sectional. Evergreen Park High School photo

Area Sports Roundup: Evergreen Park dancers make history with first sectional crown

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer Evergreen Park was the only team from the area to place in the state’s top 12 in competitive dancing last season. The Mustangs, who finished a program-best sixth in the state in Class 1A in 2021, are seeking an even better showing this year. Evergreen Park made history by winning…

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Boys Basketball: Improving Sandburg still seeking first conference win

By Randy Whalen Correspondent Sandburg coach John Daniels doesn’t have to give to his team what he refers to as the “let’s play hard” speech. The Eagles play hard. But as Daniels acknowledged after a 53-43 loss at Lockport on Jan. 17, they “have to play better.” David Vargas led Sandburg (9-14, 0-3 entering this…

Chicago Hounds CEO James English (left) and head coach Sam Harris. (Supplied photo)

Major League Rugby coming to SeatGeek Stadium

Chicago Hounds expansion team to play games at Bridgeview facility By Bob Bong A new professional sports team will be playing its matches at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview next month. The Chicago Hounds, an expansion team for Major League Rugby, will be calling Bridgeview home when they begin their inaugural season in February. “We’re honored…

Nazareth graduate Kaylen Evans hit seven of Morton College's 22 3-pointers Thursday in Cicero. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Hoops Wrap: Morton women go wild from long-range in win over McHenry

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer That Morton College’s women’s basketball team drilled 22 3-pointers in a 111-44 victory over McHenry County might seem amazing. What is more amazing is that it was the second time this season the Panthers had that many treys in game. After the win over McHenry in the Skyway Conference battle…

Stagg freshman Noah Jones (holding plaque) rolled a 300 to help the Chargers capture the boys bowling program's first team regional title. Photo courtesy of Stagg High School

Area Sports Roundup: Freshman Noah Jones rolls 300, leads Stagg to first boys regional title

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer The Stagg boys bowling team had never won a postseason tournament. That changed Jan. 14, thanks in part to a sensational postseason debut by Noah Jones. In the second game of the Oak Lawn Regional at Palos Lanes, Jones rolled a 300. He wasn’t perfect the rest of the way,…

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College Notebook | Sandburg grad Oblena has big season for Illinois-Chicago volleyball

By Mike Walsh Correspondent Illinois-Chicago women’s volleyball player Jaclyn Oblena was one of two Flames named to the Missouri Valley Conference Scholar-Athlete Team. Oblena, a Sandburg graduate, was named to the First Team. Oblena, a junior libero, appeared in all but one set this season for the Flames, leading the team with 394 digs (3.46…

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Boys Basketball | Depth the difference for Marist in win over Marian Catholic

By Steve Millar Correspondent Keshaun Vaval got off to a slow start, scoring just two points over the first three quarters in Marist’s game last week against Marian Catholic. To add to his underwhelming performance, the sophomore guard committed a potentially costly turnover in the fourth quarter. He knew at that point he had to…

Penelope Hocking of Penn State was taken in the draft in the first round by the Chicago Red Stars. Penn State photo

Red Stars hire new GM, draft four players amid flurry of moves

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer For the past couple of months, the Chicago Red Stars watched player after player leave without replenishing the roster, which was down to 17 players. That changed last week, with the team drafting four players (who must still be signed) and adding two waiver-wire pickups. The Stars last week also…

Chris Toth was a two-year starter at Aurora University, where this season he earned Associated Press Division III All-American honors, among other accolades. Photo provided by Aurora University

Paving a path to the pros?

Sandburg grad Chris Toth optimistic about following his father’s footsteps to the NFL By Mike Walsh Correspondent When your father is able to list blocking for Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino on his resume, chances are pretty good that football is a strong component of your family’s lineage. Such is the case for Aurora…

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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Kennedy Shelby (front row, from left), Karalyn Burke, Jamia Head, Kaitlyn Higgins, Katharine Downey-McGurk, Julianna Black, Helen Joyce. Back row, from left, Tom O'Malley, David Ortiz, Olivia Doran, Katherine Beyer, Paul Lieske, Leo Cassidy, Noah Flores, Noah Valdez, Nicole Reynolds, Bill Sanderson. Not pictured: Kailen Curran and Leo Lesauskis. (Supplied photo)

17 EPCHS students named Illinois State Scholars

Evergreen Park Community High School Principal Bill Sanderson announced that 17 students from the EPCHS graduating class of 2023 have been designated as Illinois State Scholars. The Illinois Student Assistance Commission, the state’s college access and financial aid agency, presents this prestigious recognition of academic achievement to exceptional Illinois high school students annually. This year,…

Rev. Wheeler Parker signs a copy of his book about his cousin Emmett Till at the Summit Library. (Photos by Carol McGowan)

Rev. Parker unveils new Emmett Till book in Summit

By Carol McGowan Nearly 150 people showed up to give support to Summit’s Reverend Wheeler Parker Jr. last week on the day his much-awaited book was released. The book, officially released on January 10, is called “A Few Days Full of Trouble,” and is described as “revelations on the journey to justice for my cousin…

The alleged getaway car for two men who attempted a carjacking Wednesday in Oak Lawn. (Photo courtesy of Oak Lawn Police Department)

Oak Lawn carjacking victim fights back

By Bob Bong Two would-be carjackers picked on the wrong victim Wednesday afternoon in Oak Lawn. Two men armed with handguns attempted to carjack an unsuspecting victim about 3:30 p.m. in the 6500 block of West 89th Place, Oak Lawn police said in a release. The victim was able to gain access to a weapon…

Jim Carberry (center) and other Orland Grassland Volunteers gather for brats and other excellent treats after clearing brush all morning at a past Brats 'N Burn event. (Supplied photos)

Orland Grassland Volunteers to hold annual Brats n Burn

The Orland Grassland Volunteers will celebrate the winter brush clearing season with their annual Brats N’ Burn event on Saturday, January 28, from 9 a.m. to noon. After clearing small shrubs and small trees, they will be burning large brush piles to remove the debris. While they are clearing, the brats will be sizzling on the…

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Palos West students gather mittens for charity

Students at Palos West Elementary in Palos School District 118 recently collected 945 pairs of mittens for the school’s annual mitten drive. The donated mittens were delivered to several organizations in need including a women and children’s shelter in Chicago, Joliet School District 86, a local charity collecting items for the people of Ukraine, and…

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Chicago Ridge man charged in Palos Heights forgery

From staff reports A Chicago Ridge man was charged earlier this month with one count of forgery stemming from an incident that happened in October. Ammar Najjar, 45, was charged January 4 with a felony count of forgery, Palos Heights police said. Palos Heights police took the original report on October 21 from a resident…

The varsity cheerleaders from Shepard High School achieved the highest raw score in program history at the invitational hosted by Oak Forest High School. (Supplied photos)

Shepard JV cheerleaders win at Lockport; varsity records highest score ever

Over the long weekend, the varsity and junior varsity cheerleaders from Shepard High School hit the road twice to compete. They returned with new hardware. The junior varsity team, coached by Cecelia Welker, won first place at the Lockport Invitational and fourth place at the Oak Forest Bengal Invitational. Varsity, coached by Shepard graduate Felicia…

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Worth welcomes new public works superintendent

By Joe Boyle Worth has a new superintendent of public works, and officials did not have to go far to find him. Ed Urban, who has served many years in the public works department, was unanimously chosen to become the new superintendent during the Worth Village Board meeting Tuesday night. Urban replaces Wayne Demonbreun, who had served…

Former Congresswoman Marie Newman was presented a community award from Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau Monday night. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Newman? Yes, Democrat Newman presented with Orland Park award by Republican Pekau

By Jeff Vorva In recent years, Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau had more negative things to say about former Congresswoman Marie Newman than positive. When Pekau, a Republican, announced he was running for Congress in November 2021, he lumped the Democratic Newman in with Sean Casten and Nancy Pelosi and said they “put special interests,…

Former Palos Heights alderman Dolores Kramarski, who died Nov. 2, will have a corner of a street named in her honor. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Kramarski to get an honorary street sign in Palos Heights

By Jeff Vorva It didn’t take long for former Palos Heights Dolores Kramarski to be honored by the city. Kramarski died Nov. 2 after spending 22 years on the city council. On Tuesday, that council voted to install a blue honorary sign at the intersection of Carmichael Avenue and 76th Avenue in her name. Alderman…

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Water line breaks at The Max in McCook

By Steve Metsch A water line break flooded a concession stand and elevator shaft late last month at The Max, McCook Mayor Terrance Carr said. The Max is another name for McCook Athletic & Exposition, the village’s huge facility for indoor sports and gatherings at 4740 Vernon Ave. “Day after Christmas, we got the call,”…

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Short shift: McCook’s newest police officer resigns

By Steve Metsch Much to the surprise of village officials, McCook is looking for a new police officer shortly after hiring one. That’s because the officer who had been was hired on Nov. 7 has resigned. Daniel Lorek, 22, submitted his letter of resignation which was effective Dec. 29, Carr told trustees during the village…

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