High School Notes
September 22, 2013 8:52PM
It’s going to be a top-heavy SouthWest Suburban Red tournament.
Reigning league titleholder Lincoln-Way Central is forced to contend with another returning conference champion, Lincoln-Way East. The Griffins transferred from the league’s Blue division to the Red this season.
In a recent showdown at the 28-team Providence Invitational, East and Central were neck-and-neck. The two schools topped the field with 305s, but East trumped Central on a scorecard tiebreaker.
If that’s not enough, Central’s Tony Kestel and East’s Matt Contey will face off in a battle of returning individual titleholders.
“It definitely changes the balance of power,” Joliet co-op coach Ed Larson said.
Joliet, which competes in the Blue division, now can focus on Sandburg and Lockport. Joliet’s Trent Wallace will be one of the favorites for individual honors. Lockport’s Gehrig Hollatz and Luke Trent and Sandburg’s Michael Mishek and Nick Adduce also should be in the mix.
After losing several state-qualifying seniors from last season’s team, Lincoln-Way East possesses an incredibly young lineup.
Don’t worry about the Griffins, though.
Coach Kate Gabey is confident in her team’s abilities, whether the athletes are young, veterans or anything in between.
“We have a very young team this season, primarily underclassmen,” Gabey said. “It’s promising for this season and the future of the program.”
Lincoln-Way East has defeated rival Lincoln-Way North in a dual meet and lost Thursday to Oswego in a nonconference dual. The Griffins will be tested in the coming weeks, with meets against Naperville Central, Lockport, Benet and Homewood-Flossmoor.
State qualifier Allison Goldsmith figures to be a key contributor for East, along with Susan Stelmar and Fiona McDermott. Gabey said to watch out for freshmen Kendall Hermann, Michaela Mitchell and Cailin Merck.
“I see great things for these three this year and the future of Lincoln-Way East swimming,” Gabey said. “One goal this season would be to bring the sectional title back to East after such a close meet last year, with Lincoln-Way North beating us.”
Some top players graduated. Some top players didn’t return.
But Lockport’s cupboard was far from bare this season.
The depth of the Porters tennis machine is showing again this year, and coach Bob Champlin was pumped up Saturday after his team tied St. Ignatius for first place in the Porters’ eight-team invitational.
“It was a great day for the tennis program,” he said. “Every entry from Lockport contributed points for the team, and Hana Khatib and Jennifer Lee won the fifth-place match — it was the last match to finish — and it helped secure the tie.”
Tomi Jo Mansell took fourth place in the Flight A singles division, Brit Kupiec and Bethany Plebanek took second in Flight A doubles, Rachel Polke and Eily McCann claimed first in Flight B doubles and Misa Coladipietro and Mary Kate Bucheitt claimed second in Flight B doubles.
“We had teammates in the tournament competing against each other and two of our teams competed for the Flight B doubles,” Champlin said. “The more experience players prevailed.”
GIRLS CROSS COUNTRY
Evon Marie Schlotter, who’ll be retiring after 33 years coaching at Lockport, is in a situation similar to her senior runners.
“The program will be very sad to see the seniors go this year, but I feel like I’m a senior with them in a way,’’ Schlotter said. “We’re all graduating together.’’
Lockport started the season by winning Plainfield Central’s Wildcat Invitational on Sept. 7. The Porters also finished sixth at the Peoria Woodruff invite.
On the team’s depth, senior Aubrey Elwood said:
“You have people pushing you, so you know you have to fight for your spot every week.’’
Lockport has meets at Naperville Central, Rich East and Wheaton North before the SouthWest Suburban Blue meet and the state series.
“I have been very, very blessed,’’ Schlotter said. “We’ve run down at state more than we haven’t in my history here. Kids get in clumps of years where they don’t know what it’s like to not go down to state.’’