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.

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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

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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

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Boys Tennis: Blackhawk Invite At West Aurora Rained Out

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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.

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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.

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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.

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