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Boys Tennis: Marmion Qualifies 4, Claims West Aurora Sectional Title

Through The Fence: Batavia’s Josh Cogan returns a serve on Saturday.

Marmion continued its historic season on Saturday when two singles players and one doubles team qualified for state as the Cadets finished in first place at the West Aurora boys tennis sectional.

Senior Will Graft and sophomore John Graft took second and third place respectively in singles, while the doubles team of senior Chris Pattermann and junior Jackson Rettig finished third.

“The boys made history. It’s the first time in a long time, if ever, that we won a sectional title,” Cadets coach John Tsang said.

The Cadets went undefeated in the regular season and were champions of the Suburban Christian Conference.

Marmion topped all teams with 25 points, while Naperville Central and Waubonsie Valley tied for second with 18. Batavia (16) came in fourth.

Batavia senior Josh Cogan, who tied for ninth at last year’s state tournament, knocked off Marmion’s Will Graft 6-2, 6-1 in the singles championship.

Cogan, a four-time state qualifier, was able to overpower Graft with his serve.

“The serve felt really, really good. I was hitting it really clean,” said Cogan, who claimed the sectional title for the second straight year. “I got into a rhythm, and I wasn’t really thinking about it. I was just stepping up to the line and hitting it.”

Waubonsie Valley’s senior duo of Deep Chatterjee and Abhi Singh defeated the Naperville Central team of junior Danny Albert and sophomore Wesley Lo 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 in the doubles championship.

With temperatures hovering around 90 degrees, Singh said the third set was mentally and physically challenging.

“It was just mental toughness,” Singh said. “Both teams were really tired, we both won a set, and basically, it was whoever wanted it more.”

Singh qualified for state the previous three years in singles, but Chatterjee will be playing at state for the first time.

The Redhawks’ No. 2 doubles team of Matt Mason and Justin Gillette placed fourth and will be joining Albert and Lo at state. Marmion’s Pattermann and Rettig knocked off Mason and Gillette 6-7, 7-5, 6-1 in the third place doubles match.

West Aurora senior Matt Kuntzi qualified for state after a fourth-place finish. Marmion’s John Graft defeated Kuntzi 6-2, 6-4 in the third place singles match.

West Aurora and Metea Valley tied for fifth place with eight points. IMSA (6), East Aurora (4) and Aurora Central (4) followed.

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

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Girls Track: Oswego East Takes Third, Batavia Fourth At Cold And Windy Carlson-Anderson Classic.

Winter is coming . . . to a track and field meet near you.

Athletes at Friday’s 28th Annual Carlson-Anderson Classic at Batavia High School didn’t just have to worry about their fellow competitors, they also had to deal with frigid temperatures and bitter winds.

Wheaton Warrenville South won its third straight Classic in dominating fashion–it won all four relays and had seven individual winners. The Tigers (188) finished with more than twice as many points as second place Minooka (87.5). Oswego East finished third with 74 points and host Batavia finished fourth with 70.50 points.

Oswego East’s Ariel Michalek, Kyla Price and Aliyah Everson, and Batavia’s Hailey Clabough and Haleigh Theuerkauf were some of the individuals who were able to produce outstanding results despite the less than desirable conditions.

Michalek, the defending 3A state champion in the 3200 meters, ran the event for the first time this season and took first place with a time of 10:56.80. The Wisconsin-bound senior was pleased with her first two-mile run of the outdoor season.

“Breaking the 11 minute mark was a big step,” said Michalek. “I wanted to do that today and I’m glad I did because it means I’m one step closer to breaking my personal record and one step closer to getting to a 10:30 pace.”

Michalek, a former cross country state champion, had also planned to run the 1600 meter race, but pulled out after suffering back spasms at the finish line of the 3200.

Everson swept the sprints, taking first in the 100 meter dash (12.15) and 200 meter dash (25.62). The Wolves’ senior held off strong competition from Wheaton Warrenville South’s Maggie Dandsill and Glenbard North’s Simone Carr.

“I just run my race, it doesn’t matter what the other girls are running,” said Everson. “I just want to do the best I can and not worry about the competition.”

Price continued her strong start to the outdoor season by finishing first in the triple jump (36-06) and second in the long jump (15-10). Batavia’s Tamar Norville (34-10) finished second to Price in the triple jump, while Bulldogs teammate Jessica Hartmann (33-03) finished fourth.

Price missed the end of last season with a stress fracture in her back, but the senior said the injury motivated her to become a better jumper.

“Coming back from the injury, I’m a little bit more determined this year and that’s what has been pushing me to do better,” said Price.

Despite having trouble staying warmed up, Theuerkauf earned first place in both the discus (108-7) and shot put (39-03).

“I was pretty happy with my performance just because of how cold it was outside,” said Theuerkauf. “It was tough. I know I should be able to prepare for that, but I didn’t do it that well. I could have done a better job staying warm.”

In one of the most exciting races of the day, Clabough out-leaned Minooka’s Lucia Rossi for first place in the 300 meter hurdles by .28 seconds (47.68 seconds to 47.96 seconds).

“We always practice leaning, no matter what, at the line,” said Clabough. “If I didn’t lean, I probably wouldn’t have gotten her.”

The senior also took second place in the 100 meter hurdles (15.40 seconds) and set personal records in both hurdles races.

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

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Keith Carter, Proviso East Too Much For Batavia

Proviso East guard Keith Carter drives to the hoop. Photo from the Chicago Sun-Times.

Proviso East 90 Batavia 44

Proviso East showed why they’re worthy of their No. 2 ranking with a wire-to-wire domination of Batavia Saturday night in Maywood.

The Pirates’ relentless, full-court pressure was too much for the Bulldogs. Batavia (4-9) turned the ball over 33 times as Proviso East (13-0) cruised to a 90-44 victory.

“We always hang our hats here at Proviso East on defense,” said Proviso East coach Donnie Boyce. “I think Keith Carter really sets the tone for us. Keith is a four-year varsity player, and I thought he did a good job tonight of really balancing our scoring and playing great defense.”

Carter led the Pirates with 24 points. Guards Paris Lee and Paris Burns both had 10 points, while guard Michael Nicholas added 15 off the bench.

“I thought in the first half we really set the tone with our guard play. Keith Carter, Paris Burns and Paris Lee, they really are the ones that get us going,” said Boyce. “We created our offense off our defense.”

Batavia had a 2-0 lead before the game even tipped off. Proviso’s Sterling Brown was called for a technical foul after he dunked during warm-ups, and Batavia’s Cole Gardner was awarded and made two free throws.

Gardner also made the game’s first basket, and the Bulldogs grabbed an early 4-0 lead. However, Proviso East responded quickly with a 28-1 run to take control of the game.

Proviso East expanded their lead with a 23-0 run to end the second quarter and headed into halftime with a 60-15 lead.

The Bulldogs had more turnovers in the first half (18) than points scored.

Cole Gardner led Batavia with 15 points.

Proviso East had ten players register points. Center Trashaun Carrol had 10 points off the bench, and Brown had 9 points.

I wrote this story for the Chicago Sun-Times and yourseason.com

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Nazareth Runs Past Riverside-Brookfield

Nazareth 44 Riverside-Brookfield 6

Nazareth lived up to its nickname once again Friday night as the Roadrunners ran past Riverside-Brookfield 44-6 on homecoming in Riverside.

“It was just all-around a great game for us,” said Nazareth linebacker Aeneas White. “Our coach came in this week and talked to us about how important this game was, it being their homecoming, and how amped up they’d be for the game. We just came out here and did what we were told to do.”

Nazareth took a 7-0 lead just two minutes into the game when quarterback Sam Poulos threw an 18 yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Carl Jackson.

Running back Kevin Curtin then put Nazareth up 14-0 after he ran one yard for a touchdown on the Roadrunners’ next drive.

White recovered a fumble on the ensuing Bulldogs possession and returned it 58 yards for a touchdown, putting the Roadrunners up 20-0 at the end of the first quarter.

“We just played like we have the whole season. Fundamentals, mechanics, that’s how it gets done,” said White, who also contributed on offense with two carries for 83 yards.

Matthew Ramsey’s 27 yard field goal put the Roadrunners up 23-0 with 6:30 left in the second quarter. Ramsey also had six touchbacks on kickoffs.

The Roadrunners got back into the end zone on their next possession. Running back Joshua Moore ran 34 yards for his first touchdown of the game, putting Nazareth on top 30-0.

Moore led the Roadrunners with 13 carries for 118 yards and two touchdowns.

Moore has played well since taking over the number one job after Rudy Romagnano injured his ankle on the first snap of Nazareth’s win over Joliet Catholic on Sept. 30.

“He’s [Moore] not really filling in, him and Rudy are like the one-two-punch, so he’s just taking on more of the load,” said Nazareth Head Coach Tim Racki.” Him and Rudy are tight friends, so he takes pride in taking on more of that load.”

Racki is hopeful that Romagnano will return this season.

“He’s a real tough kid. We hope to get him back, but when, I don’t know,” said Racki.

Poulos finished off the first-half scoring for the Roadrunners with a one yard touchdown run in the final minute of the second quarter. Nazareth led 37-0 at halftime.

Moore ran two yards for his second touchdown of the game just a minute into the third quarter and the Roadrunners led 44-0.

The Nazareth offense had no turnovers and was able to score on its first six possessions of the game.

Riverside-Brookfield avoided a shutout when quarterback Dylan Beketic connected with wide receiver Joe Odeh on a two yard touchdown pass with five minutes remaining in the third quarter.

FIRST QUARTER

[8:58] NAZ Sam Poulos 18 yard pass to Carl Jackson (PAT good) – 7-0 NAZ

[2:06] NAZ Kevin Curtin 1 yard run (PAT good) – 14-0 NAZ

[1:37] NAZ Aeneas White 58 yard fumble return (PAT no good) – 20-0 NAZ

SECOND QUARTER

[6:31] NAZ Matthew Ramsey 27 yard field goal – 23-0 NAZ

[4:30] NAZ Joshua Moore 34 yard run (PAT good) – 30-0 NAZ

[0:36] NAZ Sam Poulos 1 yard run (PAT good) – 37-0 NAZ

THIRD QUARTER

[11:14] NAZ Joshua Moore 2 yard run (PAT good) – 44-0 NAZ

[5:10] RB Dylan Beketic 2 yard pass to Joe Odeh (PAT no good) – 44-6 NAZ

PLAYERS OF THE GAME:

Joshua Moore, RB, Nazareth: 13 carries, 118 yards, 2 touchdowns

Aeneas White, LB/RB, Nazareth: 2 carries, 83 yards; 58 yard fumble recovery touchdown

I wrote this story for the Chicago Sun-Times. It also appears on yourseason.com.

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Week Eight Preview #1: Nazareth at Riverside-Brookfield

Nazareth (6-1, 6-1) at Riverside-Brookfield (2-5, 1-2), 7 pm Friday night in Riverside, IL

Nazareth play-maker Kalium Ewing hauls in a catch

HOW THEY GOT HERE:

Nazareth (First place, East Suburban Catholic) –

Week One: 17-0 win vs Benet

Week Two: 27-3 loss at Carmel

Week Three: 35-19 win at Marian Catholic

Week Four: 35-32 win vs St. Patrick’s

Week Five: 33-20 win at Marist

Week Six: 24-21 win at Joliet Catholic

Week Seven: 42-13 win vs Notre Dame

Riverside-Brookfield (Third place, Metro Suburban) –

Week One: 20-14 loss at St. Francis

Week Two: 49-0 loss vs Lemont

Week Three: 28-0 win at Roby

Week Four: 30-18 loss at Rich East

Week Five: 25-20 loss at Ridgewood

Week Six: 39-21 loss vs Glenbard South

Week Seven: 28-0 win at Elmwood Park

OUTLOOK

Nazareth has been one of the surprise successes of the 2011 season. The Roadrunners have already clinched a playoff spot and currently sit in first place in the very competitive East Suburban Catholic conference. Nazareth went on the road two weeks ago and handed Joliet Catholic their first loss of their season. Head Coach Tim Racki called it a “legendary win” for the program.

The Roadrunners, appropriately, do the vast majority of their offensive damage on the ground. Nazareth had zero pass attempts in their week four victory over St. Patrick’s. Junior running back Rudy Romagnano, the team’s leading rusher to that point, injured his ankle on the first play of the Joliet Catholic game and has not played since. It has not been announced whether Romagnano will play this week, but backup running back Joshua Moore has done well taking over as the team’s workhorse. Moore had 37 carries for 176 yards and a touchdown against Joliet Catholic and 17 carries for 94 yards and a touchdown against Notre Dame last week.

While the Roadrunners have not gone to the air much this year, quarterback Sam Poulos had his most productive game of the year last week against Notre Dame. Poulous completed six of his eight pass attempts for 98 yards and two touchdowns, including a 66 yard touchdown pass to Sean Maloney.

PLAYER TO WATCH:

Kalium Ewing, DB/WR, Nazareth

The Roadrunner play-maker has scored touchdowns in three straight games in three different phases. Ewing returned two interceptions for touchdowns last week against Notre Dame, caught a 45 yard touchdown pass against Joliet Catholic and returned a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown against Marist.

PREDICTION

Nazareth 35 Riverside-Brookfield 13

The Bulldogs, coming off their second win of the season last week, might be able to hang with the Roadrunners for a quarter or two, but in the end the Nazareth running game will be too much.

After playing the 2-5 Bulldogs this week, Nazareth will wrap up the season next week against 1-6 St. Viator. The upstart Roadrunners have a great shot of entering 5A playoffs with an 8-1 record.

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