Latest news from The Southtown Star Online en-us Wed, 28 Jul 2010 14:10:16 PDT Southtown Star logo 84 34 30 Copyright 2014 <![CDATA[ Auto Racing: Clubb brothers flush with success at Grundy County Speedway ]]> Lead story image

It won’t be decided until Sunday who the champions in each division for the season will be at Grundy County Speedway. It’s already etched in stone, though, which will be the top-ranking family. Three Clubbs is the winning hand. Brandon Clubb is having a solid season in the late-model class. The 30-year-old has three heat race victories and has run among the leaders in most of the feature events. He’s on track to finish fourth in points. Meanwhile Cody Clubb, 21, is battling with his 32-year-old brother Jeremy for a spot on the “Top 10” podium at the postseason banquet. … ]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 02:16:25 -0500 <![CDATA[ Baranek: Alexi Pranckus (Andrew), Maggie Murphy (Marist) find success during summer on EVP Tour ]]> Lead story image

Alexi Pranckus and Maggie Murphy can play some pretty mean beach volleyball. But most of the time they’re doing it with smiles on their faces. And they dance, too. It’s all part of the game for this Southland duo, who will be taking plenty of winning momentum into their high school seasons at Andrew and Marist. Pranckus and Murphy, representing the Ultimate Volleyball Club beach program, won all three 18-and-under amateur tournaments they entered this summer on the EVP Beach Tour. “We started playing together last year but we never took first,” Pranckus said. “So this was a big deal … ]]> Mon, 18 Aug 2014 02:12:14 -0500 <![CDATA[ Auto Racing: Grundy County, Illiana speedways looking to halt on-track driver altercations ]]> Lead story image

At short tracks nationwide this weekend the shows will go on as usual. There will be plenty of side-by-side battles, plenty of wrecks, plenty of angry drivers looking for an argument. But it won’t be business as usual. It can’t be. I can’t imagine any green flags dropping until drivers and track owners meet to discuss Saturday’s sprint car tragedy in New York that cost 20-year-old Kevin Ward Jr. his life and probably will haunt Tony Stewart for the rest of his. It’s been almost a week now, with the chilling video being shown over and over of Stewart’s vehicle … ]]> Fri, 15 Aug 2014 02:13:46 -0500 <![CDATA[ Baranek: Ringing endorsement for new Andrew coach Emily McGinnis ]]> Lead story image

If endorsements mean anything, Andrew is getting a real gem in new girls volleyball coach Emily McGinnis. Former Andrew coach Courtney Stoub loves her potential. “I’m excited for the kids,” said Stoub, who resigned to devote time to her new baby boy. “We’ve kind of talked a little bit and I know she has a good volleyball background. “I’m excited and happy for the program and for Andrew and I think she’s going to do a good job.” Jen DeJarld, who had McGinnis as a player and hired her as a freshman coach at Mother McAuley, has seen her work … ]]> Mon, 11 Aug 2014 02:09:56 -0500 <![CDATA[ Auto Racing: Dave Weltmeyer was the first driver to take a stock car around the track at Chicagoland Speedway ]]> Lead story image

Flipping through the notebook ... Here’s a trivia question: Who was the first driver to wheel a stock car around Chicagoland Speedway? If you said “The Dyer Flyer,” Dave Weltmeyer, you would be correct. Weltmeyer was driving for the Roulo Brothers Racing team in 2001 when they were brought on by NASCAR to test a stock car on the speedway before the first race was to be run. Jimmy Vasser was brought in to test an Indy car. “They had three layers of asphalt they were using,” Weltmeyer said. “They had two down, but before they put the third one … ]]> Fri, 08 Aug 2014 02:12:16 -0500 <![CDATA[ Baranek: Oak Forest High School giving its historic athletic images a modern twist ]]> Lead story image

There has been a running joke among Nora Hoguiesson-Fink and her family and friends about one of the photos of her that has been hanging on the cafeteria wall at Oak Forest High School since 1997. “It was right above the water fountain,” she said. “It was pretty amusing. Everyone would always say, ‘Oh, every time we get a drink of water we see your face.’ ” Fink, a decorated four-sport athlete at Oak Forest from 1992 to ’96, looked at the empty space above the water fountain Monday. “Should I have a sad face or smile?” she said after … ]]> Tue, 05 Aug 2014 02:14:18 -0500 <![CDATA[ Auto Racing: Erica Ensor makes impressive midgets series debut ]]> Lead story image

The back of the field is a common and ultimately smart place to be for a driver making his or her first start in a new division. Erica Ensor sure didn’t stay there, though, after starting in the 14th position in Saturday’s Illini Racing Series Sportsman midget feature at Grundy County Speedway. The 17-year-old Sheridan native did what she pretty much has always done during her racing career: head straight for the front. She passed several cars early via the outside and won a couple of side-by-side battles on the bottom. Ultimately, she finished fourth behind Patrick Bruns, Jimmy Clark … ]]> Fri, 01 Aug 2014 02:14:03 -0500 <![CDATA[ Auto Racing: Logan Love makes the turn back to victory circle ]]> Lead story image

Logan Love has his swagger back. The 2011 Grundy County Speedway street stock champion was absolutely dominant Friday, winning his heat and a feature for the first time in two years. He did it in impressive style, finding his way to the front via the outside groove and leading the last half of the main event. Welcome back to victory circle. “This was our fifth night in a brand new car,” the 26-year-old Plano native said. “We thought we would come out (this season) and this is what it would be like. But it took us a while to get … ]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 06:17:18 -0500 <![CDATA[ Baranek: Bowlers use summer leagues to hone skills, stay sharp ]]> Lead story image

One way to stay cool during the summer is to toss some games at the local air-conditioned bowling center. Kevin Kullman, of Lockport, does that twice a week for a minimum of two to three hours, and bowls in a league on another night at Strike ’N Spare II in Lockport. He isn’t necessarily trying to beat the heat. “I treat my game like racers do with their cars in the winter,” the top-average bowler in the Southland said. “I break every little piece down and go through it, get the kinks out. “My grandfather (area short-track stock car legend … ]]> Sat, 23 Aug 2014 06:21:15 -0500 <![CDATA[ Auto Racing: At Illiana, pure racing from pure stocks ]]> Lead story image

Something very cool happened at the end of a very frustrating Saturday at Illiana Speedway. The rainout, the fifth of the season, was the result of a combination of a downpour in the morning and a very unpromising forecast that made it difficult for both drivers and fans to decide whether to come out to the track. Illiana owner/promoter Mike Mikuly, watching the radar and seeing projections for a long break in between precipitation, decided at 1 p.m. to go for it. Word spread via social media, but by the start of practice at 4 p.m. it became apparent the … ]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 06:37:06 -0500 <![CDATA[ Baranek: Valen Manns ups her game on soccer field, volleyball court ]]> Lead story image

Between May 30 and June 23, Lincoln-Way North’s Valen Manns had one of the most excellent adventures a high school athlete possibly could imagine. During this time she: Played on Illinois’ biggest high school soccer stage, recording an assist in a Class 3A state semifinal. Traveled with her club volleyball team to Orlando, Florida, to play in the 2014 AAU Girls Junior Nationals. Competed against some of the best volleyball players in the nation at the Disney Wide World of Sports Complex. Was one of just 14 girls to earn All-American honors in the 17 Premier Division. “I’m still in … ]]> Sat, 16 Aug 2014 06:22:06 -0500 <![CDATA[ Baranek: Division races taking shape at Grundy County Speedway ]]> Lead story image

Halfway home, let’s turn our focus to the goings on at Grundy County Speedway, where there are some hot points battles and one, well, not so much. It’s coming down to a four-man race in the late-model class. With his win Friday night, defending track champion Ricky Baker opened up his lead over Eddie Hoffman to a 689-654 margin. Larry Schuler is right there in third with 630 points, while Scott Koerner is within striking distance at 615. Baker, who broke a monthlong dry spell last week, has four feature wins to go along with four fast-qualifying times and one … ]]> Tue, 12 Aug 2014 06:29:14 -0500 <![CDATA[ Baranek: Heady times for Marist alums Colleen Biebel, Lauren Niemiera ]]> Lead story image

Catching up with former Marist ace pitcher Colleen Biebel isn’t easy. She was a pretty fast mover during a visit last week to her first summer softball camp as the first-year coach of the RedHawks. Biebel went from one station to another, working with outfielders, teaching batting techniques and instructing pitchers from first-graders through incoming freshmen. With Biebel patrolling the grounds, no kid went unnoticed. Denise Bromberek would have been pleased. Her protege has hit the ground running. “I’m very excited,” Biebel said. “Denise has been a great mentor. She built a great program over here. I’m looking forward to … ]]> Fri, 08 Aug 2014 06:27:00 -0500 <![CDATA[ Baranek: Give up? Not Illiana Speedway owner/promoter Mike Mikuly ]]> Lead story image

Let’s meander with Illiana Speedway owner/promoter Mike Mikuly. Saturday’s rainout was the fourth in the 11 scheduled dates so far in 2014, just one away, Mikuly said, from the most washouts he ever has had in a single season since taking over the track in 2000. The last of the street stocks had just taken a qualifying session when the skies opened up with a fury and created gigantic puddles on the quarter-mile. Meanwhile, not that many miles away at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, there was only a hint of rain and the Route 66 Nationals went on without … ]]> Tue, 05 Aug 2014 06:37:04 -0500 <![CDATA[ Baranek: Allie Quigley right at home with WNBA’s Sky ]]> Lead story image

Turkey. Hungary. Slovakia. Poland, Croatia. Romania. Phoenix, San Antonio, Indiana, Seattle. Allie Quigley has played basketball everywhere, man. But there’s no place like home, and to that end the 28-year-old Joliet native today is living the dream at Allstate Arena. Quigley, a former star at Joliet Catholic and DePaul, is putting up the biggest numbers of her seven-year WNBA career. Through 15 games she is averaging 22.1 minutes and 9.5 points per game for the Sky (7-8). “It’s a breakout season for her all around,” Sky media and communications coordinator (and Marist grad) Lauren Niemiera said. “She’s got career highs … ]]> Sat, 02 Aug 2014 06:19:49 -0500 <![CDATA[ Baranek: Never too early to start thinking ‘dome, sweet dome’ ]]> Lead story image

Looking back and ahead … some final softball thoughts. I wonder how many coaches are going to be quicker on their cellphones during the winter and schedule some early games for the Rosemont or McCook domes? Richards, Bremen, Lemont, Lincoln-Way Central, Homewood-Flossmoor and Sandburg were able to get in games in March while many others had to wait it out. I’d like to see Rosemont clear its schedule in March so some prime-time games can be played. There is something to be said for courage, but I’ve still got to award the WORST decision of the state playoffs to the … ]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 06:18:56 -0500 <![CDATA[ Auto Racing: Illiana clearing turbo stox/street stocks situation ]]> Lead story image

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Or at least a meeting of the minds. The latter happened Saturday at Illiana Speedway, where several turbo stox/street stocks competitors answered an SOS from track owner Mike Mikuly regarding low car counts. The week before there were just six turbos in the feature — this in a division that just three years ago averaged 18 to 20 cars. The reasons for the dearth of cars is a combination of, I believe, the expense to build cars vs. payoff, rules not being the same between Illiana and Grundy County Speedway, drivers complaining that rules … ]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 16:05:52 -0500 <![CDATA[ Baranek: Final run caps memorable 2014 softball season in Southland ]]> Lead story image

Sandburg vs. Lincoln-Way East in a Class 4A state softball semifinal. Who saw THAT coming? Have to admit, not yours truly. At least not on March 24. In our preseason Top 10 we had Sandburg fourth. Lincoln-Way East was, umm ... cough, cough ... No. 10. At least I had them in there. I passed on Beecher, although I certainly came to appreciate the talent of Sarah Crews, Emily Landis and freshman Taylor Johnson well before the Bobcats’ 2A playoff run to state. Anyway, Griffins coach Elizabeth Pawlicki made me feel a little less dumb during one of our interviews … ]]> Fri, 18 Jul 2014 06:20:20 -0500