High School Sports NOtes
September 15, 2013 11:08PM
Updated: September 15, 2013 11:08PM
After 10 hours and 10 minutes of action, the 16-team Lincoln-Way East girls tennis tournament concluded at 6:40 p.m. Saturday with the hosts’ first doubles team of Stefanie Hunniford-Jacqui Michuda winning a tiebreaker over a team from Stagg.
But there was no time for them to hang around.
They were already running late for the school’s homecoming dance.
Their five-match marathon, in which they went 4-1, pleased coached Chris Olson for two reasons.
First, it vaulted the Griffins into a tie for third, which was one of their best finishes in years. Second, it showed Olson their ability to concentrate on the task at hand.
“That was big,” he said. “With homecoming, there is always anxiety with that going on. But they played well and beat a Stagg team that beat them earlier this year so I’m very proud of them. We had a real strong day all around and I was pleased.”
BOYS CROSS COUNTRY
In junior All-Stater Joseph Suarez and senior team captain Cody Hughes, Plainfield East has strong leadership as the Bengals work to solidify their lineup this season.
“He’s kind of like a rock. He’s solid,’’ East coach Rich Gatz said of Hughes. “I know what I’m getting every time out of Cody.’’
Junior Sergio Llanes, the No. 3 runner, is back on the team after playing soccer at East last fall.
“He’s got to get back into the cross country body instead of soccer,’’ Gatz said. “He’s got it. He just has to get back acclimated into the sport.’’
Junior Harris Jordan, the No. 4 runner, has been recovering from an ankle injury.
“From there, there’s a lot of question marks,’’ Gatz said.
Gatz named senior Hershal Walton and sophomores Tyler Kiska, Zach Proffitt and Peyton Rapier as the most likely contributors.
Plainfield East will be among a strong field Saturday in the Peoria Notre Dame Invitational at Detweiller Park.
It’s no secret Minooka has been the premier program in the Southwest Prairie Conference. The school has captured five straight league titles and now looks for its sixth behind a quintet of dependable scorers.
“We have been getting consistent play from Andra Sharp, Alli Lee, Becca Andreano, Ashley Gray and Alex Renison,” Minooka coach Joe Host said. “We have counted those five in all of our scores this year.”
That’s good news for the Indians after graduating ace Rachel Herzberger, the conference player of the year the last two seasons.
Seniors Andreano and Gray are helping pick up the slack, while Lee — a varsity contributor as a freshman last season — continues to perform well.
“(Lee) played in several tournaments over the summer and has worked very hard to improve her game,” Host said. “We are expecting big things this year out of Alli.”
The postseason is months away, but Lincoln-Way West coach Kristen Neuberg and the Warriors know the importance of the first weeks of the season.
With a strong group of 12 seniors returning to the pool, West is ready for whatever the season has to offer.
“The girls are figuring out how to take their training up a notch,” Neuberg said. “That first adjustment is tough, but they know it will benefit them in the long run.”
Lincoln-Way West lost to Stagg 121-58 in a dual meet but won a quadrangular meet against Marian Catholic, Joliet co-op and Crete-Monee. The Warriors also finished third at the Sterling Invitational.
Seniors Tori Tiberi, Gena Tanquilut and Kailey Gallagher have embraced leadership roles, according to Neuberg.
“New and experienced kids are having nice showings, shaving time,” Neuberg said. “We had 34 best times at Sterling, and the times are where they were last November. Whether they keep dropping or plateau a little bit, keep working and be patient.”