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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…

SXU sophomore Kaleigh Ritter, shown in a match earlier this year, had 63 assists in a five-set loss to Cornerstone in the NAIA national tournament. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Area Sports Roundup: College of DuPage repeats as national football champ

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer The College of DuPage, the only junior college in Illinois with a football program, won its second straight National Junior College Athletic Association national championship with a 14-12 victory over North Dakota State College of Science in Glen Ellyn. Former Richards’ standout Marquel Porter caught a 25-yard pass for the…

Ryan Plowman’s parents, Dan and Jen, receive hugs from the players before Monday night's game. Many knew Ryan from grade school. (Photos by Steve Neuhaus)

Shepard, Stagg teams honor Ryan Plowman

Varsity girl basketball teams from Stagg and Shepard took time out before Monday night’s contest to pay tribute to Shepard student Ryan Plowman, who died earlier this year of complications from mononucleosis. Proceeds from the concession stand were donated to a gofundme campaign in Ryan’s name.  

Team captain Zach Hayes holds the trophy as Coach Tim Racki and the Roadrunners celebrate the school’s fourth state football championship in nine seasons, and first since 2018. (Photos by Steve Metsch)

Nazareth rally celebrates fourth state football championship

By Steve Metsch Two huge cheers rocked the Rooney Student Center at Nazareth Academy in La Grange Park late Monday morning. The first was when Zach Hayes – joined by the coaches and teammates – walked in carrying the IHSA Class 5A state football championship trophy high over his head. The second was when school…

Runners get off to a fast start at the Orland Park Turkey Trot, where a record 1,000 runners signed up. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Orland Park man wins Turkey Trot; St. Laurence runner takes women’s title

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer The number 19 meant good things on Thanksgiving morning. The top two finishers in the 34th running of the Orland Park Turkey Trot had “19” as part of the number on their bibs. Brandon Lukas, 25, of Orland Park, wore No. 7519 and took first place with a time of…

The varsity Orland Park Pioneers team had a huge 2022 season. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Area Sports Roundup: Orland Park Pioneers honored; local hoops teams win Thanksgiving tourney titles

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer Two youth football teams teams were honored by the Orland Park Village Board for winning Super Bowl championships in their respective divisions. The Orland Park Pioneers’ varsity and super lightweight players received awards and recognition Nov. 21 from the board and Mayor Keith Pekau, who has the distinction of playing…

Nazareth players celebrate winning the fourth football championship in the school's history on Nov. 26 in Champaign. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Football Class 5A State Championship: Roadrunners win shootout for fourth state title

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer Nazareth opened the season in August with a 2-0 win over Kankakee. It closed the season the afternoon of Nov. 26 with a 45-44 win over Peoria at Memorial Stadium in Champaign to take the IHSA Class 5A state championship. In between was a rollercoaster of wins and losses and…

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Strong second half lifts Mount Carmel over St. Rita for trip to 7A title game

By Steve Millar Correspondent After the Mount Carmel offense was shut out in the first half by St. Rita in the teams’ IHSA Class 7A semifinal, Caravan coach Jordan Lynch remained confident his offense would get going on a cold, windy night. “It was just a matter of time,” Lynch said. “Penalties were killing us,…

Nazareth coach Tim Racki is taking his sixth team to a state championship football game at 10 a.m. on Saturday. Photo by Jeff Vorva.

Area Sports Report: Nazareth finishes run to Class 5A state title game

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer Nazareth has played in five state championship football games. But the Roadrunners never took a road this bumpy to get there. After opening the season 1-3 and at one point being 2-4, they had to run the table just to make it to the playoffs. Mission accomplished. They beat Leo,…

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Boys and Men’s 2022-2023 Hoops Preview

HIGH SCHOOLS BROTHER RICE The Crusaders finished 24-7 last season and fell 60-49 to Bloom in a Class 4A regional championship game. While almost every key player — aside from forward Jayden Watson, who transferred to Bloom — will be back from last year’s team, there will be a new coach leading the way. Conte Stamas,…

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Girls Swimming: Sandburg 200M relay sets pool record as Eagles dominate sectional

By Randy Whalen Correspondent When Sandburg strode into Lockport for a dual meet in September, some Eagles swimmers noticed something on Porters’ pool record board. The record for the 200-yard medley relay was 1:49.16, set by Lockport’s Lindsey Merk, Oliwia Wolek, Emily Johnson and Kayley Uy during a 2017 sectional. Eagles coach Donna Driscoll told her 200…

Owen Forberg, left, and Josh Smith of Richards examine their letters-of-intent that they signed on Nov 9. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Area Sports Roundup: Runners sign letters, SXU heads to volleyball nationals

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer Back in the early 1970s, Richards had an outstanding distance runner, Ray Giff, who went on to run at Indiana University. History has repeated itself. Richards cross country and track standout Owen Forberg put forth an all-state effort at the cross country state finals on Oct. 5, and four days…

Mother McAuley players celebrate their Class 4A state title, which they won Nov. 12 with a three-set victory over Benet at Redbird Arena. Photo by Randy Whalen

Mother McAuley tops Benet for 16th state title

By Randy Whalen Correspondent Playing with the motivation of losing last season’s Class 4A state title match, Mother McAuley was on a mission to bring home the championship this year. Mission accomplished. The Mighty Macs defeated Benet, 25-22, 17-25, 25-14, for the 4A state crown on Nov. 12 at Redbird Arena in Normal. Ellie White…

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2023 Illinois tax filing season now open

From staff reports The Illinois Department of Revenue began accepting 2022 state individual income tax returns on Monday, the same date that the Internal Revenue Service began accepting federal individual income tax returns. “Taxpayers are encouraged to file electronically as early as possible in the tax season and choose direct deposit in order to ensure…

Palos Park Police Officer Ross Chibe, shown at a village council meeting in 2021, and the Palos Park force are staying on top of a sextortion scam that has become prevalent. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Palos Park tries to stay ahead of the curve on sextortion scams

By Jeff Vorva The Palos Park Police Department is trying to stay ahead of a disturbing trend that has not been talked about publicly very much. When it comes to the topic of sextortion scams, the Palos Park police are monitoring things very closely and Detective Ross Chibe was called on to provide some wisdom…

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Former hospital employee charged in Palos Heights identity theft

From staff reports A Hazel Crest man was charged last week with aggravated identity theft stemming from an incident that happened on December 27. Palos Heights police took a report on December 27 from a patient at Northwestern Palos Hospital who reported their wallet was missing and then observed two unauthorized charges on her debit…

Palos Park Commissioner G. Darryl Reed is running for the council again despite health issues. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Despite serious health woes, Reed ready to keep serving for Palos Park

By Jeff Vorva G. Darryl Reed knows his time on Earth could be short. He gets it. He doesn’t like it. But he gets it. The Palos Park commissioner has been dealing with intestinal failure for the past two years and his doctors have not been sugarcoating it. Reed, a former Marine and lawyer, is…

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LaGrange man charged in Summit phone store robbery

From staff reports A LaGrange man has been charged with the robbery last week of the T-Mobile store at 5640 S. Harlem Ave. in Summit. Michael Lang Anderson, 26, was arrested in LaGrange after he was found hiding under some stairs, police said. Police said he robbed the store on January 10. Community activist Raul…

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…

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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