High School Sports Notes
September 2, 2012 5:46PM
Updated: October 4, 2012 6:20AM
The race for the SouthWest Suburban Blue title looks like it will go down to the wire.
While Lincoln-Way Central appears to be the safe bet in the Red, Lockport, Lincoln-Way East, Joliet co-op and Sandburg are contenders in the Blue.
The four schools jockeyed for position at Broken Arrow in the 12-team conference exclusive Lockport Shootout, with the host Porters topping the group with a stellar 296.
“I was very pleased with the team effort,” Lockport coach Matt Eber said. “All the boys worked well together to post a consistent group of scores to claim a share of the title against a very good Lincoln-Way Central and a strong field overall.”
Sandburg (297), Joliet co-op (299) and Lincoln-Way East (300) all posted excellent scores to remain within striking distance.
Lincoln-Way Central’s Tony Kestel (73) and Bryant Bolden (74) put up the top two scores.
Devynn Boswell (75) finished third for Joliet, with teammates Trent Wallace and Isaiah Smith also in the top 10 with 75s.
Gehrig Hollatz finished fourth with a 75 for Lockport.
Lincoln-Way East is off to an impressive start. Undefeated in dual matches, the Griffins won the 18-team Andrew Cup and put up seconds at the 12-team Marian Catholic Invite and the 19-team Joliet Invite. East’s top player, sophomore Kelly Sterling, should be a force in postseason play. “She had a breakout year as a freshman,” coach Mary McGivern said. “Among her great accomplishments was earning medalist honors at the SouthWest Suburban (Blue) Conference Tournament.” Last season Sterling finished 29th in the state finals.
Minooka, behind returning conference player of the year Rachel Herzberger, will attempt to notch its fifth consecutive Southwest Prairie Conference championship. Minooka has yet to compete in a large-team invitational but sits at 3-1 in duals. Herzberger earned medalist honors in the most recent match, shooting a 45 at Carillon Links in a win over Plainfield East.
Providence’s Maddie Utter is a player on the rise. Utter carded her best score of the season, a 37 at Woodruff, pushing the Celtics to a five-stroke victory over Sandburg. “She has put a tremendous amount of work into her game,” Celtics coach Molly Duffy said.
Lemont rolled through its own tournament, the I-355 Tournament, going 3-0 in pool play before topping Minooka 2-1 in Saturday’s championship match.
The Indians topped Lincoln-Way West 3-1, Plainfield North 2-1 and Lockport 2-1 in pool play.
Adam Stube, Roy Delatore, Tommy Gasienica, Teddy Trifunovski, Eric Whatley and Kyle Hamann were among those making offensive contributions in the tournament as Lemont improved to 5-1-1.
The offensive output was a good sign for a squad that returns just five starters but figures to be strong in the back with Hamann and Ray Stieber leading the way.
“It’s going to be a little hard this season with only five starters back,” Hamann said. “I think we have a lot of young guys who are willing to work hard and give us some good minutes. I think it’s going to be a good season.”
Hamann knows expectations are always high at Lemont, which has won three straight sectional titles.
“I think it’s a good motivator,” he said. “When you don’t have goals at the beginning of the season, you’ve got nothing to reach for at the end. We always want to get back (to a supersectional) and get over that hump.”
Boys Cross Country
After winning the Normal West Invitational on Aug. 25, Minooka faced much stronger competition Saturday at the Hornet-Red Devil Invitational hosted by Hinsdale South and Hinsdale Central.
The loaded field included defending Class 3A state champion Palatine, Neuqua Valley, which was third in 3A last year, as well as state meet teams New Trier, Hinsdale Central and Wheaton-Warrenville South.
Minooka finished eighth in the 16-school meet won by Neuqua Valley. New Trier was second and Palatine third.
Minooka was led by Joey Santillo (4th, 15 minutes, 22 seconds) and Alex Pierce (9th, 15:29). Cam Knudsen (26th), Donaven Paramo (66th) and Erick Brick (73rd) completed the Indians’ top five.
“This meet is a great way to find out where we are as a team,’’ Minooka coach Kevin Gummerson said. “We saw many indicators for potential to be a solid team. It was great to see two guys crack the top 10.’’
Plainfield East coach Rich Gatz expects another good season for the Bengals, who are led by Joseph Suarez, Jake Runnion and Cody Hughes.
Suarez is the top returnee from an East squad that was 22nd in the 2011 Class 3A state meet.
“We’re a young core,’’ said Suarez, a sophomore who Saturday led East to the title of the Wildcat Invitational at Plainfield Central. “We can still go far. We can still do it again, and hopefully even better.’’