High School Sports Notes
January 6, 2013 9:16PM
Updated: February 8, 2013 6:12AM
After a fifth-place finish at its own 12-team invitational on Saturday, Lincoln-Way coop athletes are hoping for bigger things in the future.
“We hope to be up on the podium in the next couple of years,” sophomore Kaihla Pohrte said of a possible top-three finish.
The team had a chance to compete with some of the top programs in the state including Fremd, which won the Lincoln-Way event 19 out of 22 years. The Vikings posted a 146.425 score to Lincoln-Way’s 135.250.
How far away is Lincoln-Way to a team like Fremd?
“It’s hard to say because I don’t know our full potential yet,” Pohtre said. “If we work on our skills and clean them up I think we can get closer to them but they are a really good team. A lot of their girls do club and they are really good. Kudos to them.”
The Lincoln-Way squad has some talented underclassmen who could help close that gap. Of the five Lincoln-Way finishers, four are either freshmen or sophomores.
Porthe finished sixth in the all-around, sophomore Shelby Wiktor 13th, senior Sam Duggan 15th, freshman Jalyn Hobbs 24th and freshman Mallory Winter 28th.
Plainfield North continued its upswing with a strong showing at Saturday’s Bengal Bowling Invite at Oak Forest Bowl.
The Tigers averaged 930 over six games and finished second, behind only defending state champion Andrew.
“We need confidence boosters and this is something that will give us that,” Plainfield North coach Dan Strubel said.
The Tigers started both the morning and afternoon sessions strong, putting up 972 in the opening game and 982 in Game 4.
“It’s the best we’ve bowled all season,” Strubel said. “The 982 was our best game of the year. We spared the best we have all season and that’s what we’re looking for.”
Taylor Wilmoth led Plainfield North with 1,238 pins, good for fifth place.
“Taylor works really hard on her game,” Strubel said. “She’s really improved her mental game this season and that’s helped a lot.”
Emily Batara (8th, 1,162), Audrey Krasauskis (12th, 1,112) and Lauren Streba (16th, 1,096) also had strong showing for North.
The Tigers are hoping to parlay their recent successes into a strong postseason.
“I think we have a pretty good chance to do well at sectionals,” Wilmoth said. “We just have to keep a positive attitude.”
Joliet Central is getting healthy and into form at the right time.
When coach Pat O’Connell penciled in his lineup card Saturday at the Lincoln-Way Central duals, he said it was the best crew he’d put together all season.
“We’re pretty much at full strength now,” O’Connell said.
Leading the way is undefeated Trayvon Zabala and Sharod Wilson. The pair helped Central finish 2-1 amongst quality opposition on Saturday.
“They’re both at the top of their game right now,” O’Connell said. “Zabala in particular right now.
“We’re looking to have a legitimate shot to win regionals this year. It’s going to be tough to beat Minooka and Joliet West, but we think we’ll have a good shot at it.”
The Steelmen won’t travel far for their first state tournament series. Joliet Central hosts a nine-team regional field on Feb. 2.
Providence, Plainfield South, Bradley, Normal, Normal West and Moline round out the field.
While some of his teammates have garnered more recognition, Lincoln-Way Central’s Bryce Gorman is quietly having a strong season. The junior placed third at the loaded Granite City Invitational over winter break.
“I’m just really looking to qualify for state and possibly medal,” Gorman said.
Lincoln-Way Central swimming coach Marlo Varnado had good things to say about his team during last week’s meet at Lockport.
“We think the season is going well,’’ Varnado said. “The guys are being very competitive. Some of the goals have been met already. They’re not satisfied. A lot of the guys want to make it to state.’’
Returning state qualifiers Cody Moris and diver Ryan Kojder have been the leaders with Mike Ramos and Ryan Sterling also turning in good races.
“The best thing is they’re gradually seeing progress,’’ Varnado said. “In every meet there’s always something to work on, but yet there’s always something to be happy that you’ve improved on. Just about every meet we’ve seen that.’’
Central has a meet Tuesday at Lincoln-Way North and a home meet Thursday with Homewood-Flossmoor.
“I just want the guys to keep working hard,’’ Varnado said. “Sometimes in the middle of the season around this time there’s some staleness that takes place. I just want them to realize you’re taking steps in increments to your ultimate goal.’’
(bullet) Circle the calendar: Two big meets to attend--the Sandburg Invitational is Friday and Saturday and the Lockport Invitational is Jan. 18 & 19 that includes Lincoln-Way Central and Stagg.