High School Sports Notes
October 28, 2012 5:16PM
Updated: November 30, 2012 6:17AM
Building off her 40th-place showing at the state meet as a junior, Lincoln-Way West’s Alexis Skiniotes has come back for her senior year with a vengeance.
Earlier in the month at Lincoln-Way North, Skiniotes obliterated the pool diving record set by North’s Jessica Collins (202 points) in 2009, racking up 227.25 points.
She also has won every dual meet she has competed in, along with invitational titles at Glenbrook South, Sterling and Andrew. Her only non-first-place finish was at West’s invite in September, when she came in second.
“Our hope for Alexis would be conference and sectional champion in diving,” West coach Kristen Neuberg said. “The goal at the state meet is making the top 12 to earn a medal, and I think she has a good chance at making it to the (second day) at the state finals and earning her best 11-dive score.”
Skiniotes also finished 25th at state as a sophomore.
Hopefully joining Skiniotes at the state meet will be fellow senior Emily Gallagher who is swimming a second under the state cut in the 100-yard breaststroke. Gallagher set five West records this season, breaking her own previous records on the leaderboard.
Lincoln-Way Central had high expectations coming into the year, but stumbled through a disappointing 8-10-2 regular season.
So what was the difference in the postseason, as the Knights made a run to the sectional final before Saturday’s loss to Sandburg?
“We’ve been trying to get the point across that you have to play a full 80 minutes,” Central coach Sean Fahey said. “We’ve been letting minutes slide and that’s when something would happen to cost us the game. It just clicked in the playoffs that now it’s do or die.”
Fahey said his 11 seniors, including six starters, were the “heart and soul” of the team.
“We had five seniors on the field pretty much all times and they absolutely spearheaded this,” he said.
Senior goalie Mike Dybala posted three straight playoff shutouts, with plenty of help from a back line anchored by senior defender Jeff Neukom.
“We have a lot of seniors and when we got to the playoffs, none of us wanted it to end,” Neukom said.
Fahey hopes the Knights have built some momentum for future seasons.
“Our numbers haven’t been the biggest the last few years,” he said. “Hopefully this built excitement. There’s been a buzz around the school.”
Boys Cross Country
Lincoln-Way Central put together an impressive performance Saturday at the Class 3A Normal Sectional, taking second place behind defending state runner-up O’Fallon.
Leading the way for Central were Chris Kaminski (7th, 15 minutes, 31 seconds), Dru Rozewicki (9th, 15:36), Joey Nelson (18th, 15:52), Tommy Kolacki (22nd, 15:58) and Kevin Fabian (25th, 16:02). The Knights look to improve on their 25th-place finish in last year’s state meet.
Minooka qualified for the state final with just one place to spare, taking fourth at the Normal Sectional.
“Joey Santillo, Alex Pierce and Cam Knudsen all ran impressive races to crack the top 10,’’ Minooka coach Kevin Gummerson said. “We are alive for another week and now we get a chance to prove ourselves at Detweiller.’’
Minooka scorers were Santillo (3rd, 14:54), Pierce (6th, 15:25), Knudsen (10th, 15:37), Cheyne Robinson (37th, 16:23) and Erik Brick (48th, 16:31).
Plainfield East isn’t returning to the state meet as a team, but sophomore Joseph Suarez will be running again at Detweiller Park after finishing fourth (14:59.9) at the Marist Sectional.
“Definitely All-State, top 25, that’s my goal,’’ said Suarez, 105th last year at state. “I have a lot of room for improvement. I think I’ve gained endurance.’’
Girls Cross Country
With Southwest Prairie Conference and regional titles already to its credit, Minooka took second place Saturday at the Class 3A Normal Sectional to qualify for the state meet.
“These girls worked extremely hard to get to where they are today,’’ Minooka coach Kevin Gummerson said. “Morgan Crouch ran her best on the biggest stage so far this season. Laura Simon, Haley McNamara and Kaitlyn Chetney all used their big meet experience to really race at a higher level.’’
Scorers for Minooka were Crouch (7th, 18 minutes, 15 seconds), Simon (14th, 18:45), Chetney (15th, 18:53), McNamara (16th, 18:54) and Caleigh Beverly (19th, 18:59). Minooka will be back at Detweiller Park after finishing 22nd in the 2011 state meet.
Lincoln-Way East also is returning to the state meet after taking fourth at the Normal Sectional. The top finishers for Lincoln-Way East were Samantha Ostmann (8th, 18:17), Kaley McLawhorn (11th, 18:36), Kristy Dertz (23rd, 19:08), Morgan Ford (38th, 19:40) and Angie Bravo (43rd, 19:47).
Fifth-place Lincoln-Way Central earned the final qualifying spot at the Normal Sectional, just two points ahead of Edwardsville. Central’s scorers were Elizabeth Venezio (18th, 18:58), Mallory Johnson (22nd, 19:08), Alena Pacheco (28th, 19:17), J.J. Robinson (30th, 19:20) and Keygan Balaja (35th, 19:36).