Updated: April 26, 2013 6:28AM
Boys Track & Field
Just because Crete-Monee lost 18 of its 23 points from the Class 3A state meet with the graduation of hurdler Rashad Hulbert doesn’t mean the Warriors are starting the outdoor season from scratch.
Hulbert moved on to LSU after he won the 300-meter hurdles and was second in the 110 hurdles, but Crete-Monee still returns three members of its 1,600 relay that helped the Warriors finish 10th at the state meet, best among Southland teams.
Tyler Whittler, Taris Simmons and Marcus Terrell ran with Hulbert on the squad that was fifth (3:21.71) in the finals behind Belleville West, Minooka, Bloom and Springfield.
“Tyler was an all-conference cross country runner in the fall and is in exceptional shape,’’ coach Brian O’Donnell said. “He should establish himself in multiple individual events as well as a key member of our relays.’’
O’Donnell said Rich Central transfer Quenten Nash will be an important part of the relays and Quentin Hardaway “should be a force” in the short sprints and sprint relays.
Crete-Monee’s outdoor schedule starts April 4 with the Hawk Classic at Hillcrest.
girls water polo
Lincoln-Way North has high expectations coming off a 23-6 season and North coach Kendra Will thinks the Phoenix can repeat last year’s success, thanks in large part to its experience.
“We have a pretty solid returning team,” Will said. “We have a large group of seniors who have been playing together since their freshman year.”
The Phoenix is off to a strong 8-2 start, with the highlights including three wins over crosstown rival Lincoln-Way East, and a 15-8 blowout of a Bremen co-op squad that’s had plenty of recent success.
North also was the champion of the Hinsdale Central Tournament.
North’s losses came in an 8-7 nail-biter against Sandburg and a 6-4 defeat against Lincoln-Way Central in Saturday’s championship game of the Lincoln-Way East Invitational.
Senior Cheyenne DeGraff, a standout swimmer, is off to a fast start. She scored five goals in the first win over Lincoln-Way East and found the net four times against Bremen.
Other key seniors for North include Sam Klosak, Keriann Clarin, Carlie Petraitis and goalie Kelly Pender.
The Phoenix is looking to defend its SouthWest Suburban Red title.
“We’ve improved every year since North opened and hope to continue that,” Will said.
Some teams have returning conference champions that will almost guarantee their teams will be successful.
Oak Forest coach John Amoni, however, has a roster full of champions who are not yet varsity tested.
The Bengals hope the weather gets warmer so they can get a look at a host of juniors who dominated on the sophomore level last year. Eight of the team’s 15 juniors on this year’s roster won South Suburban Blue Conference tournament titles last year and several went unbeaten in the conference during the dual season.
Matt Nadeau and Eddy Young were singles champs as sophomores for the Bengals in 2012 and will showcase their talents on varsity for the first time in 2013.
The doubles teams of Tom Dajenais-Rami Alloussi, Steve Leavy-Dan Brady and A.J. Sampag-Wyatt Kurtz also came out on top in the SSC Blue.
“It’s always hard to win with juniors, but we hope they can continue their success that they had as sophomores,” Amoni said. “Lemont is the strongest team in our conference and they will be tough to catch but we still hope for a strong season.’’
The Bengals also have four seniors on the roster, with twins Sami and Mike Alloussi hoping to provide leadership.
It’s a sharp start for Lincoln-Way Central’s No. 1 doubles team of Jana Mudrock and Catrina Cimaroli. The first-year tandem took second in the Downers Grove North tournament after adding a victory in the conference opener against Lincoln-Way East.
“They can see the open area of the court and they have the ability to put the bird there,” Central coach Liz Karales said. “They’re very exciting to watch and are both great competitors.”
Mudrock, a junior, won two matches at state last season with graduated teammate Veronica Baldermann. She’s found chemistry early on with Cimaroli, who is a senior.
“Jana and Catrina work very well together,” Karales said. “They communicate well and are smart.”
Mudrock and Cimaroli will take a tough test on Saturday at the Lockport Invite. The Central duo will likely battle Lockport’s No. 1 team of Carlie Cisarik and Kimmy Nakutis and Lincoln-Way West standouts Lizzie Bradshaw and Emily Keith.
T.F. South continues to look like the top contender in the state. The Rebels notched top honors in No. 1 singles, No. 2 singles and No. 3 singles, and topped the podium at No. 1 doubles and No. 2 doubles at their eight-team tournament on Saturday.