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Boys Track: Wheaton North Wins DVC Meet In Dominating Fashion

Wheaton North stole the show at Friday’s DuPage Valley Conference track meet at Naperville North.

The Falcons won five individual championships and two relays on their way to taking first place with 175 points. Wheaton North had more than twice as many points as second-place Wheaton Warrenville South (81).

Naperville Central (78), Glenbard East (71), Naperville North (65) and West Aurora (57) rounded out the top six.

The Redhawks had two individual champions – Mike Juretschke in the pole vault and Sam Bransby in the 400.

Juretschke, a senior, won his first outdoor DVC title by setting a personal record in the pole vault (14-3).

“It feels great to win conference, especially because I’ve been jumping all four years,” Juretschke said. “It was a really big goal of mine to improve as much as I could this year.”

Bransby, a sophomore, defended his DVC indoor championship in the 400 (50.09) and finished third in the 200 (22.10).

“Indoor is a completely different monster, everyone gets faster outdoors,” Bransby said. “You feel like you have to step it up with everyone else, and I was proud to do that today.”

The Redhawks’ 3,200 relay team of Ethan Brodeur, Christian Schafer, Brad Kouchoukos and Forrest Thayer placed second (8:01.56).

Hurdler Michael Jopes placed third in both the 110 and 300 races. Central also got a third place finish from shot putter David Goodalis.

Fifth-place Naperville North was paced by sprinter James Kerns. The senior finished first in a very competitive 100 with a time of 10.86. Kerns also took second place in the 200 (22.08) and ran the opening leg of the Huskies’ third-place 800 relay.

Kerns had his mind set on next week’s sectional as soon as the DVC meet ended.

“This is the last meet before we go to sectionals, so the goal right now is to make sure you have the right time,” said Kerns, whose 100 and 200 times on Friday were below the state qualifying standards. “Winning conference is nice, but as long as I have the time I need to make state, that’s the primary goal.”

The Huskies got third place finishes from Nick Lyon (pole vault), Kareem Midani (long jump), Nick Drendel (3200), Adam Milsap (400) and Jimmy Qiao (1600).

Despite finishing sixth in the DVC, West Aurora coach Cortney Lamb saw a lot to get excited about heading into next week’s sectional meet.

“Overall as a team, we were really good. As far as we’re concerned, we came out and did what we needed to do,” Lamb said. “Great momentum going into next week, I think we’re peaking at the right time. The kids have confidence, the kids are having fun. It’s awesome.”

Aaron Kennebrew delivered the Blackhawks their only individual championship in the triple jump. The junior jumped 44 feet, 2¼ inches on his second attempt in finals, leaping almost a foot further than his previous personal best.

“I had a lot of adrenaline going, so I knew it was going to be a big jump,” said Kennebrew, who also placed fourth in the high jump (5-11). “I just trusted myself and my coach told me to just go after it. I wanted to get first, and that’s exactly what I did.”

Lijah Spears placed in both throwing events for the Blackhawks, taking second in the discus (150-1) and fourth in the shot put (49-4½)

After setting a personal record in the discus at Kane County last week, Spears did so in the shot put on Friday. The senior thrower said he’s peaking at the right time.

“I’m finally doing things right and it’s looking good for me,” Spears said. “I’m going to give it to them next week (at sectionals).”

Despite both running in the “slow heat,” Blackhawk sprinters Benny Prunty (22.28) and Tony Oros (22.82) placed fifth and sixth respectively in the 200.

“I just told them they’ve got to run like they do in relays because they kick butt in those relays,” Lamb said. “They finally did it in the open today.”

The Blackhawks got fourth-place finishes from Charles House in the triple jump and Josh Robinson in the 800, and fifth-place finishes from Parrish McGhee in the long jump and Omar Gomez in the 1600.

Wheaton North, also champions of the indoor DVC meet in March, could not be stopped on Friday. The Falcons won seven total events and had two athletes finish in the top-six of nine individual events (100, 400, 1600, 110 hurdles, 300 hurdles, pole vault, triple jump, shot put and discus).

Wheaton North athlete Zach Gordon won the 200 (21.79), long jump (23-5) and ran anchor on the Falcons’ first-place 40o relay team. The Falcons also got titles from their 800 relay team (1:30.31), Brett Kohler in the 300 hurdles (38.35), Mac Spaulding in the shot put (56-9) and Christian Hollinger in the discus (160-4)

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

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Boys Volleyball: Vasquez, West Aurora Hustle Past Wheaton North

The teams warm up before Thursday’s DVC match at West Aurora.

West Aurora continued its strong start in the DuPage Valley Conference with a hard fought victory over Wheaton North on Thursday.

Outside-hitter David Vasquez had 11 kills and outside-hitter Eric Roggeman registered 10 as the Blackhawks defeated the visiting Falcons 25-15, 26-24.

“Things weren’t working for us very well, I think everybody on the team would admit that. But we kept at it, we kept fighting, we kept scraping,”  said West Aurora coach Tolis Koskinaris. “Our hustle, our effort won the game for us.”

After comfortably winning the first game 25-15, the Blackhawks fell into a quick 6-0 hole in the next game. West Aurora (10-4, 3-1) fought back to tie the score seven different times before middle-hitter Joe Frommert’s kill gave the Blackhawks their first lead of the game, 25-24.

On the ensuing point, Roggeman and Patrick Ronan set up a match-sealing kill by Vasquez. The 6’2” senior credited the adept passing ability of Ronan.

“Patrick can pass the ball really well, he’s one of the best players in the conference. If he gets a pass up, you can put it down,” said Vasquez. “Patrick put the ball up on that last play, I saw a big gap in the block and swung for it.”

Vasquez said he never doubted his team’s ability to win the match, even when the Blackhawks faced an early deficit in the second game.

“We just came out really slow and it happens sometimes. We came out in a rut, but I always have faith that we can come back from those things,” said Vasquez. “It’s happened to us before, and we’ve came back. You’ve just got to fight through it.”

Middle-hitter James McGrath had five kills and his block on game-point clinched the first game for the Blackhawks.

The kill-leader for Wheaton North (5-11, 0-4) was middle-hitter Alex Jackson with six. Outside-hitter Zachery Sinn had four kills, while setter Alex Donahue had 12 assists and two blocks.

“The first game we spotted them way too many points, and they did the same thing to us in the second game. They were able to battle back a little better than we did,” said Wheaton North coach Ryan Baker. “They played well consistently through out the match, and we didn’t match that.”

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

Instagram of mural in West Aurora’s gym.  I’m a sucker for Indian head logos.

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Boys Baseball: Kevin Fahy Continues Hot Streak As Wheaton North Knocks Off Naperville North

Wheaton North second baseman Kevin Fahy broke out of his early season hitting slump just in time for the start of the Falcons’ DuPage Valley Conference slate.

The senior went 4-for-4 with two RBI as the Falcons defeated host Naperville North 6-1 on Tuesday, a day after he went 3-for-3 in a Falcons’ victory.

Fahy says working with Wheaton North (8-5, 2-0) hitting coach Josh Coan helped turn around his season at the plate.

“Before yesterday, I was in a big time slump. I’ve been working a lot with our hitting coach on mechanics,” said Fahy. “I just wanted to get that first hit to fall, get some confidence after that and work from there.”

Falcons pitcher Lake Bachar turned in a complete game, giving up one run and seven hits while striking out seven and walking none. Bachar also recorded two hits at the plate, including an RBI single in the seventh inning.

“He (Bachar) made a lot of big pitches, and we played really good defense behind him on a windy day where it wasn’t easy to catch the ball,” said Wheaton North coach Dan Schoessling. “I thought we did a good job of not giving them chances.”

Bachar stepped up his game with runners on base, stranding seven Huskies. The Huskies had runners on first and third with one out in the second inning before Bachar struck out Kevin Garon and Marques Winick to get out of trouble.

“I was just thinking about throwing strikes and getting the hitter. I wasn’t thinking about the runners,” said Bachar. “I felt pretty good all day, the goal was just to attack the hitters and get ahead of them.”

The Falcons took a 1-0 lead in the second inning after River Williams scored on a sacrifice bunt by Ed Norris.

The Huskies answered quickly, as Pat Mollo’s RBI single in the bottom half of the inning tied the score at 1-1.

After the Falcons took a 2-1 lead in the third inning on an RBI groundout by Williams, Fahy extended the Wheaton North lead to 4-1 with a two-run single in the fourth inning.

The Falcons got two insurance runs in the seventh inning on RBI singles by Ryan Jordan and Bachar.

Naperville North center fielder Mariano Long went 2-for-3 with a double, triple and deep fly out to center field.

Despite the Huskies’ inconsistent start to the season, Naperville North (4-8, 0-2) coach Mark Lindo believes the team is on the verge of breaking out.

“I think we’re very close, I think we’re on the cusp. Our approach is good, and if our approach is positive like it was today, good things will happen to us,” said Lindo. “I think we’re close to being a competitive baseball team and our guys know that.”

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

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Checking In With The Best Teams I’ve Seen This Season

Glenbard North (5-1, 3-1), tied for second in the Dupage Valley Conference

Glenbard North QB Brian Murphy escapes a tackler against OPRF

WHAT HAVE THEY DONE SINCE WE LAST MET?

Week Five: 31-21 win versus Aurora West

Week Six: 6-10 loss at Naperville Central

REMAINING SCHEDULE:

Week Seven: vs Wheaton-Warrenville South (3-3, 1-3)

Week Eight: at Wheaton North (5-1, 4-0)

Week Nine: vs Naperville North (4-2, 3-1)

RANDOM STATS:

Have outscored opponents 216 to 51

Opponents have tallied 25 wins

Star running back Phil Jackson has rushed for 605 yards and 12 touchdowns

OUTLOOK:

The Panthers offense struggled last week as Glenbard North lost their first game, 10-6 to Naperville Central. Phil Jackson went over 100 yards rushing again, but he was only able to reach the end zone once. Most troubling for the Panthers, starting QB Brian Murphy was knocked out of the game with an injury. Murphy runs well and he had a break out game through the air three weeks ago against Glenbard East when he threw for 229 yards and two touchdowns.

The Panthers end the season with a tough stretch of games against three of the best teams in the Dupage Valley Conference. That stretch could get even more challenging if the Panthers are missing their starting signal caller.

Wheaton North (5-1, 4-0), first place in the Dupage Valley Conference

Wheaton North QB John Peltz winds up to throw

WHAT HAVE THEY DONE SINCE WE LAST MET?

Week Six: 38-7 win versus Aurora West

REMAINING SCHEDULE:

Week Seven: vs Naperville Central (4-2, 3-1)

Week Eight: vs Glenbard North (5-1, 3-1)

Week Nine: at Wheaton-Warrenville South (3-3, 3-1)

RANDOM STATS:

Have outscored opponents 196 to 95

Opponents have won 28 games

QB John Peltz has thrown for 970 yards and 9 TDs, he also has 6 rushing TDs

OUTLOOK:

The Falcons have won four straight games, but the competition is about to get a lot tougher. Their previous three opponents have combined to win three games this season. However, their next three opponents have combined to win 12 games, and are all part of the four-way tie for second place in the DVC.

The Falcons are led by quarterback John Peltz who has thrown for 970 yards and nine touchdowns this season. Peltz is the best quarterback I have seen this season, and the Falcons will need him to keep performing at the level he has been playing at if they are to hold on first place in the DVC.

Montini (4-2, 2-1), tied for second in the Suburban Christian (Blue) Conference

Montini star WR Jordan Westerkamp

LAST GAME: 33-14 win versus St. Francis

REMAINING SCHEDULE:

Week Seven: at St. Edward (4-2, 1-2)

Week Eight: at Walther Lutheran (1-5, 0-3)

Week Nine: vs Wheaton Academy (1-5, 0-3)

RANDOM STATS:

Have outscored opponents 171 to 117

Opponents have won 33 games

WR Jordan Westerkamp has 28 receptions for 514 yards and 9 TDs

OUTLOOK:

After starting the season off 2-2, things are looking up for the defending 5A State Champions. The Broncos have won their last two games against solid conference opponents, Aurora Christian and St. Francis, and have done so in impressive fashion. Montini has outscored their last two opponents 88-28.

Montini’s schedule was front loaded. They lost two early games, but both defeats came at the hands of 6-0 teams, Loyola and Marian Central.

Montini got a boost last week from the debut of quarterback John Rhode. Rhode, a transfer from Marian Central, missed the first five games of the season while recovering from a thumb injury. Rhode took over the quarterbacking duties at halftime, and looked great, tossing three touchdowns in the second half. Two of those touchdowns were caught by star wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp.

The Rhode-Westerkamp connection may take the Broncos to another state championship this season.

Addison Trail (6-0, 4-0), first place in the West Suburban Gold Conference

Addison Trail RB Anthony Messina runs back a kick

LAST GAME: 35-0 win at Proviso East

REMAINING SCHEDULE:

Week Seven: vs Glenbard West (6-0, 4-0)

Week Eight: at Willowbrook (0-6, 0-3)

Week Nine: vs Downers Grove South (6-0, 3-0)

RANDOM STATS:

Have outscored opponents 172 to 13

Opponents have won 22 games

Have posted 4 shutouts this season

OUTLOOK:

Addison Trail is off to the best start in school history thanks to its stifling defense. Led by linebackers Kevin Kent and Mike Imperiale, the Blazers have shut out four of their opponents, and have only given up 13 points through six games.

The Blazers have two tests against undefeated teams left on their schedule, and both games are at home. In between they face a hapless Willowbrook squad that recently lost 48-7 at home to Proviso East on homecoming. First up is a meeting with Glenbard West this Friday night. The Hilltoppers may be without starting QB Justice Odom, who was injured Saturday in a win over Proviso West. AT ends the season with a de-facto West Suburban Conference Championship game against Downers Grove South.

Is the Blazers defense as dominant as the stats suggest? We will find out over the next three weeks.

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Wheaton North Flies Past Glenbard East, 56-12

Wheaton North quarterback John Peltz

Wheaton North 56 Glenbard East 12

Quarterback John Peltz ran for four touchdowns and threw for one more as the high-flying Falcons of Wheaton North defeated Glenbard East 56-12 Friday night in Wheaton.

The five touchdown outburst was another strong overall performance from the Falcons’ junior quarterback.

“Johnny Peltz has done a great job for us,” said Wheaton North (4-1, 3-0) coach Joe Wardynski. “When we’ve asked him to carry the ball, he’s a tough kid and gets positive yards for us, and he’s making good decisions with the ball, we’re not turning it over with him back there right now.”

Wheaton North faced an early 6-0 deficit after Glenbard East (1-4, 0-3) quarterback Joe Kotch threw an 85 yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Mike Fahey on the Rams’s third snap of the game.

“It was frustrating because we know they like to run that route, we practiced it all week and we still had a kid bite on a slant route right there, which was unfortunate,” said Wardynski.

However, the Falcons struck back in resounding fashion with 56 unanswered points.

Quarterback John Peltz’s one yard touchdown run capped off a long drive on the Falcons’ first possession of the game. Kicker Marcin Gawlak’s point after gave the Falcons a 7-6 lead.

Peltz added three more touchdown runs, including an 80 yard scamper to the end zone in the third quarter. Peltz also connected with wide receiver Johnny Daniels on a 32 yard touchdown pass in the second quarter.

Running back Mikey Sammer, who is filling in for injured starter Patrick Sharp, had 16 carries for 113 yards and one touchdown. His 43-yard touchdown run in the second quarter put the Falcons up 14-6.

The Wheaton North defense dominated after giving up the early touchdown. The Falcons picked off Kotch three times, including interceptions by Falcons cornerback Jaylen Howze on back-to-back drives. Kotch has thrown three interceptions in each of his last two games.

Howze returned his second interception of the night 20 yards for a touchdown, putting the Falcons up 28-6 in the second quarter.

“The touchdown was huge, any pick for the defense is huge, and it was because of my team,” said Howze. “There was good coverage over the top which allowed me to have the interception.”

The blowout loss was Glenbard East’s third consecutive loss by more than 40 points.

SCORING PLAYS

FIRST QUARTER

[10:36] GE Joe Kotch 85 yard pass to Mike Fahey (PAT no good) – 6-0 GE

[7:54] WN John Peltz 1 yard run (PAT good) – 7-6 WN

[2:44] WN Mikey Sammer 43 yard run (PAT good) – 14-6 WN

[0:44] WN John Peltz 2 yard run (PAT good) – 21-6 WN

[0:03] WN Jaylen Howze 20 yard interception return (PAT good) – 28-6 WN

SECOND QUARTER

[9:09] WN John Peltz 32 yard pass to Johnny Daniels (PAT good) – 35-6 WN

[4:01] WN John Peltz 4 yard run (PAT good) – 42-6 WN

THIRD QUARTER

[11:38] WN John Peltz 80 yard run (PAT good) – 49-6 WN

[8:40] WN Colton Hrgich 10 yard run (PAT good) – 56-6 WN

FOURTH QUARTER

[10:19] GE Joe Kotch 5 yard run (2-pt attempt no good) – 56-12 WN

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

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