Monthly Archives: April 2012

4/30 Photo Of The Day: Chicago Skyline

I took this photo yesterday from the Important Bird Area near Montrose Harbor in Chicago, IL.

Leave a comment

Filed under Photography

4/29 Photos Of The Day: 2011 Wisconsin Football Photo Review

Congrats to the six Badgers drafted by NFL teams this past weekend: Kevin Zeitler (Bengals), Peter Konz (Falcons), Russell Wilson (Seahawks), Nick Toon (Saints), Bradie Ewing (Falcons) and Brad Nortman (Panthers). Also, good luck to the guys who signed on as undrafted free agents, including Antonio Fenelus (Colts), Aaron Henry (Raiders), Louis Nzegwu (Falcons), Jake Byrne (Saints) and Patrick Butrym (49ers).

Thanks for your great UW careers, here are some photos I took at Badger games in 2011:

Rose Bowl; Wisconsin vs TCU, Jan. 1st

Camp Randall; Wisconsin vs UNLV, Sept. 1

Soldier Field; Wisconsin vs Northern Illinois, Sept. 17

Lucas Oil Stadium; Wisconsin vs Michigan St., Big Ten Champ Game, Dec. 3

Leave a comment

Filed under Photography, Sports

2012 NBA Playoff Predictions: Will The King Get A Ring?

Seeing red at the United Center, the home of the Chicago Bulls.

I know it’s unfair to post these picks after six of the eight first round series have already tipped off, but I still wanted to get my prognostications out there. I have the benefit of knowing the awful, depressing, monumental, history-changing news that Derrick Rose will miss the rest of the NBA playoffs with a torn ACL. Pardon me while I cry… Here are my picks:

Eastern Conference

FIRST ROUND

Bulls over 76ers in 6

Heat over Knicks in 4

Pacers over Magic in 6

Celtics over Hawks in 7

SEMIFINALS

Bulls over Celtics in 7

Heat over Pacers in 6

FINALS

Heat over Bulls in 5

Western Conference

FIRST ROUND

Spurs over Jazz in 5

Thunder over Mavericks in 5

Lakers over Nuggets in 5

Grizzlies over Clippers in 7

SEMIFINALS

Spurs over Grizzlies in 7

Thunder over Lakers in 6

FINALS

Thunder over Spurs in 6

NBA FINALS

Heat over Thunder in 6

Finals MVP: LeBron James

1 Comment

Filed under Photography, Sports, Sports Predictions

Boys Tennis: Blackhawk Invite At West Aurora Rained Out

Leave a comment

Filed under Photography, Prep Sports Reporting, Sports

Boys Track: West Aurora Captures First Place At Oswego Outdoor Invite

West Aurora’s Royce Golembeck prepares to launch in the pole vault.

Paced by a dominant performance in the field events, West Aurora’s boys track and field team took first place at the Oswego Outdoor Invite on Friday.

The Blackhawks tallied 161 points while Aurora Central Catholic finished in second place with 129. Host Oswego followed close behind in third place with 110 points while East Aurora ended up in fifth with 45.

“The field events got us off on the right foot and the track followed up with some really good performances,” said West Aurora coach Cortney Lamb. “Overall, it was a real good night for us.”

The Blackhawks won seven individuals events, including five of the six field events.

Aaron Kennebrew finished on top in both the high jump (6 foot, 1 inch) and triple jump (40-09.5). The junior jumper set a personal record in the high jump.

“I want to get better every single meet. I listen to my coaches, I trust them completely,” said Kennebrew. “My philosophy is to get better every single practice, every single meet so I’m ready for the big meets coming up.”

The Blackhawks swept the top three spots in both the shot put and the discus with Lijah Spears finishing on top in both events. Spears was followed by David Aleman and Shaq Redmond in the discus. Jorgeluis Ramirez and Aleman finished second and third in the shot put.

With a final jump of 12-06, pole vaulter Royce Golembeck finished first in his event for the second straight meet. Golembeck also took first in the pole vault at the Peterson Prep at Kaneland last weekend.

“I didn’t do well the three weeks before Kaneland, so I went in to practice and worked hard,” said Golembeck. “I’m trying to break in a new pole, and it’s turned out nicely for me these last couple meets.”

On the track for the Blackhawks, Vontrel Hawkins took first in the 400 meter dash (50.78) and while Greg Roache won the 110 meter hurdles (16.01). Roache also finished third in the triple jump.

Lamb hopes the Blackhawks’ success on Friday carries over into next week’s Kane Country meet, which will be hosted by West Aurora.

“I couldn’t be more pleased with what happened tonight. They came out and made a good showing,” said Lamb. “We accomplished what we needed to. That’s going to give us confidence going into next week and the following weeks.”

Despite being the smallest school at the six-team event, second-place Aurora Central had a strong showing, winning three individual events and two relays (4×400 and 4×800).

Matt Meyers took home first place in both the 800 meters (2:00.40) and 1600 meters (4:31) while sprinter Joseph Fese won the 100 meter dash (10.84). Chargers athlete Patrick Lefevre finished second in the triple jump and 110 meter hurdles and third in the 300 meter hurdles.

“We have a lot of courage on our team,” said Meyers. “Even though there were 3A teams here, we weren’t intimidated. We really wanted to go after it.”

Third-place Oswego was paced by long-distance runner Caleb Beck, who finished first in the 3200 meters (9:31.10) and jumper Alain Dixon, the champion on the long jump (21-00). The host Panthers also won the 4×100 and 4×200 relays.

Beck blew past his competition in the 3200, finishing 45 seconds ahead of second place Ricky Barajas of East Aurora (10:16).

East Aurora rounded out area teams in fifth place. Blazing sophomore Desmond Gant once again led the Tomcats, finishing first in the 200 meter dash (22.58) and third in the 100 meter dash (11.11).

“I wanted to run under 22.5 in the 200, obviously I didn’t do that, but I still felt I ran good tonight,” said Gant. “I can do better though, so I’ve still got work to do.”

I wrote this story for the Chicago Sun-Times, Aurora Beacon and yourseason.com. It appears here.

2 Comments

Filed under Photography, Prep Sports Reporting, Sports

Girls Soccer: Gianna Dal Pozzo Scores Three Goals In Two Minutes As Neuqua Valley Tops Geneva

The teams take the field before Thursday’s Naperville Invitational quarterfinal.

Neuqua Valley junior Gianna Dal Pozzo scored three goals in just over two minutes of second half action as the Wildcats defeated Geneva 4-2 in Thursday’s quarterfinal of the Naperville Invitational.

The Wildcats move on to face undefeated Naperville North tomorrow night at Naperville Central in a semifinal of the Naperville Invitational.

It took Dal Pozzo just 2:07 to tally her first-career hat-trick and for the Wildcats to take complete control of the game played at Naperville Central.

“It was the greatest feeling ever,” said Dal Pozzo. “We had a lot of chances in the game. I just knew we had to finish them to get ahead, and that’s what I did.”

With the Wilcats trailing 2-1, Dal Pozzo took a pass from sophomore forward Olivia Schmitt and scored from 10 yards out to tie the game at 2-2 with 26:42 remaining in the second half.

Just 38 seconds later, Dal Pozzo gave the Wildcats a 3-2 lead with a header after receiving a perfect corner entry from junior midfielder Hope D’Addario.

“We’ve been working on corners a lot and executing them, and Hope just played a great ball,” said Dal Pozzo. “I saw it coming over the defender so I was backing up and just came right through it and put it on the far post.”

The junior forward capped off her two minute scoring binge with another goal assisted on by Schmitt. Dal Pozzo fired a laser from 10 yards out to put the Wildcats up 4-2 with 24:35 remaining in the second half.

Dal Pozzo’s hat-trick was the Wildcats’ third straight, as Neuqua Valley forward Zoey Goralski scored three goals in back-to-back games coming into Thursday.

Goralski scored the Wildcats’ first goal of Thursday’s game just two minutes into the second half. The junior tied the game at 1-1 when she unleashed a shot from the far right corner of the field that went through the fingertips of Geneva keeper Marissa Schroyer and into the back of the net.

Neuqua Valley (13-3-2) and Geneva (11-3-4) played to a 1-1 tie in Geneva on Apr. 12. Wildcats coach Joe Moreau credited his team’s quick, aggressive style of play for the change in result.

“We were attacking the ball. That’s what we’ve been talking about, attacking and firing shots in the box,” said Moreau. “Geneva is a very fast team, and we were just trying to make them chase. When we hung on to the ball, we got in trouble.”

Geneva senior Catherine Allon scored both of the Vikings’ goals. Allon’s first goal came off a pass from junior Amanda Lulek late in the first half, and the Vikings went into halftime up 1-0 despite being out-shot 14-6 in the first half.

Eight minutes into the second half, the Xavier-bound senior rocketed a shot that caromed off the top goal post and into the net, giving the Vikings a 2-1 lead.

“We worked hard. I can’t fault their effort, we just checked out in a panic for three minutes and it killed us, but you learn from it,” said Geneva head coach Megan Owens. “We lost our focus for three minutes and that’s what the top teams like Neuqua are going to do to you.”

I wrote this story for the Chicago Sun-Times, Aurora Beacon, Naperville Sun and yourseason.com. It appears here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Photography, Portfolio Pieces, Prep Sports Reporting, Sports

Girls Softball: Caitlyn Warren’s Homer Gives Naperville North Edge Over West Aurora In Pitchers’ Duel

Naperville North warms up before the first inning of Wednesday’s DVC game.

Naperville North’s Caitlyn Warren was hoping to make a statement when she stepped into the batter’s box to lead off the eighth inning of a scoreless game against West Aurora on Wednesday.

The senior center fielder made it loud and clear, pounding a home run over the center field fence to put the Huskies up 1-0.

Pitcher Kathleen Hahne worked out of a bases loaded jam in the bottom of the inning as Naperville North hung on to defeat West Aurora 1-0 in a DuPage Valley Conference game.

“Our defense was working so hard but our offense was struggling, so I knew that someone had to step up,” said Warren. “Someone had to set the tone. That’s what I was hoping to do.”

After Warren gave the Huskies the lead in the eighth inning, West Aurora looked poised to tie the game or take the lead in their half of the inning.

Racheal Williams and LaRi Mitchell led off the eighth with back-to-back singles. Both runners then advanced on a passed ball and the Blackhawks had runners at second and third with no outs.

After Ally Wayzer flew out to right field for the first out of the inning, Julianna Evischi reached first base on an infield single but neither Blackhawks runner advanced.

With the bases loaded and one out, Hahne buckled down. The senior pitcher got the second out when she fielded a ground ball off the bat of Alexis Harkless and threw home to get Williams. Hahne then got Molly Jordan to fly out to center field to clinch the fourth-straight victory for Naperville North (13-5, 4-1).

“It was a lot of pressure. I had to hit my spots, I couldn’t throw any balls or wild pitches,” said Hahne, who gave up five hits and no walks in eight scoreless innings of work. “My teammates backed me up a lot and I give them all the credit.”

West Aurora (6-17, 1-4) pitcher Kaylee Hayton also had a stellar performance, giving up one run, seven hits and three walks in eight innings.

Hayton had help from her defense, especially Mitchell in center field. With two runners on base in the sixth inning, the lightning-quick Mitchell made a leaping catch at the wall on a dead-run to rob Kailee Budicin of an extra-base hit.

“When we made that catch, I kept telling the girls we can’t lose this game. With defense like that, they deserved to win,” said West Aurora coach Randy Hayslett, who took over the post last week when Sara Nagy resigned.

“It was a great game, hats off to them. I hope our girls stays positive because they played well.”

I wrote this story for the Chicago Sun-Times, Naperville Sun, Aurora Beacon and yourseason.com. It appears here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Photography, Portfolio Pieces, Prep Sports Reporting, Sports

Girls Softball: Mary Kate Gosselin Drives In Six As Aurora Central Rallies Against Aurora Christian

Both teams gathered in the infield for a prayer circle after Tuesday’s game.

Aurora Central Catholic won its fifth straight game on Tuesday, but it didn’t come easy.

Gabi Alfaro had three hits and scored four runs and Mary Kate Gosselin had three hits, including a home run, and drove in six runs as the Chargers overcame a 7-0 deficit to defeat Aurora Christian 13-9.

“We really, really weren’t prepared to play. I kept telling them it was a long game, and that turned out to be the case,” said Aurora Central coach Jim Hallahan. “We came back because of timely hitting by the middle of our order, and the bottom of the order got on base for them.”

Aurora Central committed four errors and allowed six unearned runs in the first two innings as they fell into an early 7-0 hole.

The Chargers chipped away at the Eagles’ lead, scoring three runs in the third inning and two in the fourth before finally taking the lead during a five-run sixth inning.

In the sixth, Gosselin drove in Alfaro with a single to center field to tie the game at 7-7. Dani Blake then gave the Chargers an 8-7 lead with an RBI single to right field.

Aurora Central went up 10-7 later in the inning after Gosselin scored on a passed ball and Mary Wileman added an RBI single.

The Eagles responded in their half of the sixth, cutting the deficit to 10-9 after an RBI ground out by Jordan Pittman and a run-scoring single by Sara Morris.

In the seventh, Gosselin capped off her stellar day at the plate with a three-run, inside-the-park homer to give the Chargers a 13-9 lead.

“I’m a power hitter sometimes but it’s usually just doubles or triples,” said Gosselin, who hit her first home run of the year on Tuesday. “To reach home was really exciting, especially to have my team there at home plate to support me.”

Aurora Central (12-10, 5-5) pitcher Sarah Ryan, who struck out seven in 5 and 2/3 innings of relief, retired the Eagles in order in the seventh to clinch the Chargers’ victory.

Alderman went 2-for-3 with two singles and two runs scored, while Blake went 2-for-4 with two singles, one run score and one RBI.

The Eagles had nine hits, all singles. Pittman, Marissa Wilger and Liz Smith each had two hits for Aurora Christian (5-15, 1-7), which lost its ninth straight game.

Coach Rich Hazlett says his team just has to improve its fundamentals.

“We’ve just got to continue to work on the basics,” said Hazlett. “Catching, throwing, hitting. If we can get those things under control, we’ll do well. We’ll hopefully win some games.”

I wrote this story for the Chicago Sun-Times, Aurora Beacon and yourseason.com. It appears here.

Aurora Central hanging out in the first base dugout early in Tuesday’s game. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Photography, Prep Sports Reporting, Sports

4/22 Photos: Peterson Prep Invitational At Kaneland High School

Athletes preparing for the long jump finals with the Kaneland water tower in the background.

Is there anything more patriotic than an American flag flying between football goal posts? I didn’t think so (You might have to squint to see that).

As someone who can’t run fast or jump at all, the hurdles races have always mystified me.

An artsy shot of Kaneland’s scoreboard and the triple jump runway/pit.

Leave a comment

Filed under Photography, Prep Sports Reporting, Sports

Boys Track: Host Kaneland Takes First Place At Peterson Prep Invitational

Workers get the pit ready for the triple jump final at Peterson Prep.

Sixteen teams came to Kaneland High School on Saturday in hopes of winning the Peterson Prep Invitational, but it was the home team that finished first.

The Knights placed in 15 of 18 events, won two relays and had three individual champions on their way to capturing first place with 84 points.

“This was a nice win for us on our home track,” said Kaneland coach Eric Baron. “All these programs are very good. To finish in the top five or top ten here shows you’re a strong competitor throughout the state of Illinois.”

Geneva, who held the team lead going into the final event, ended up in second place with 75 points. Burlington Central, paced by their intermediate runners, captured third place.

West Aurora finished in fourth place with 64 points, Yorkville took fifth with 45 and Oswego East followed closely in sixth with 42. Elgin came in ninth with 30 points, East Aurora finished in 12th place with 16, and Dundee Crown ended up in 14th with 9 to round out area teams.

Kaneland rode anchor Sean Carter to first in the 4×100 (43.78) and 4×200 (1:31.31) relays. The Knights also finished second in the 4×400 (3:26.62).

Dylan Nauert (300 meter hurdles) and Nate Dyer (discus and shot put) won individual championships for the Knights.

“Taking first at a home invite is a lot of excitement,” said Dyer. “Doing it twice, it was definitely a good day.”

Geneva’s Ben Rogers launched himself into first place in both the long jump (21 feet, 8 inches) and triple jump (43-11).

The Vikings’ senior was held back last season by a nagging hamstring injury. This year he’s fully healthy and performing at an exceptionally high level. His mark in the triple jump on Saturday was a new personal best.

“I’d like to keep getting better every meet, I think that’s the goal,” said Rogers. “I think if I can keep getting better each meet, I’m going to end up where I want to be.”

The Vikings also got a big boost on the track from Justin Davis, who finished first in the 400 meters, third in the 200 meters and seventh in the 100 meters.

“We covered the events well, which is what we always preach,” said Geneva coach Gale Gross. “We had to fight through some injuries, but overall the kids did awesome.”

Burlington Central runners Mike Gulik and Clint Kliem both finished in first place in three events. The two were part of the Rockets’ first-place 4×400 (3:25.43) and 4×800 (8:01.69) relay teams.

Gulik captured first in the 800 meters (1:57.28) while Kliem was the champion of the 1600 meter race (4:24.38). Kliem ran the third leg of the 4×400 relay just 25 minutes after setting a personal record in the 1600.

“That last one was just all guts,” said Kliem. “After finishing that mile, I just kept my legs up for five or ten minutes, did a little jog, and tried not to think about the next race. It’s just all basically a mental game.”

Central athletes Ben Damisch (400 meters) and Johnny Reuter (pole vault) both took home second place in their events.

Fourth-place West Aurora was paced by pole vaulter Royce Golembeck, who jumped 13-06 to capture first in his event.

The Blackhawks also got strong performances in the field from Aaron Kennebrew (second place in the triple jump and fourth place in the high jump), Lijah Spears (second place in the discus) and Jonny Gosong (third place in the long jump).

“We came in with a good focused attitude and we did a real nice job today,” said Blackhawks coach Cortney Lamb. “It’s not our best meet, but we have a lot things we can build on.”

Fifth-place Yorkville had no individual champions but runners Jake Callahan (800 meters), Chris Kellogg (1600 meters) and Eric Baker (3200 meters) all finished second in their events. The Foxes also got third place finishes from Jake Hoffert (3200 meters) and Joe Haske (pole vault).

Sixth-place Oswego East was paced by senior Kalmon Stokes, who finished second in both the 110 meter hurdles (15.77) and 300 meter hurdles (40.84). The same Wolves team of Dakoda Skenandore, Andrew Holm, Rene Salinas and Chase Skenandore took home third place in 4×800 relay (8:09.19) and fifth place in the 4×400 relay (3:32.24).

Elgin’s Dennis Moore was definitely the standout athlete for the Maroons. The senior sprinter blazed his way to first place in the 100 meter dash (11.46) and fourth place in the 200 meter dash (23.72).

Moore, along with teammates Terrell Campbell, Derek Moorman and DeVante King, also took home second place in the 4×100 and 4×200 relays.

East Aurora sprinter Desmond Gant accounted for all of the Tomcats’ points. The electrifying sophomore earned first place in the 200 meter dash (23.07) and third place in 100 meter dash (11.61).

“In my opinion, this was the fastest competition I’ve had,” said Gant. “If I’m winning against these guys, I know I can go out at other meets and come in first with a bigger lead. So, that’s my goal now.”

Dundee-Crown’s highest finisher was shot putter Joe Meixner, whose throw of 137-09 earned him third place. The Chargers placed in two relays, earning fifth in the 4×200 (1:33.27) and sixth in the 4×800 (8:14.33).

I wrote this story for the Chicago Sun-Times, Aurora Beacon, Elgin Courier and yourseason.com. It appears here and here. I wrote separate stories for the Beacon and Courier and combined them for the blog.

Leave a comment

Filed under Photography, Portfolio Pieces, Prep Sports Reporting, Sports