High School Sports Notes
May 27, 2012 4:46PM
Updated: July 23, 2012 4:53PM
The only coach the Oak Forest boys volleyball program has ever known, Amanda Brown, decided her 10th season would be her last. The Bengals season ended at the Sandburg Regional, Oak Forest falling 25-13, 25-14 to Andrew in the semifinals.
Tinley Park girls volleyball coach Lee Rucinski will take the reins next season. Rucinski has been the boys sophomore coach for two years at Oak Forest.
“When I took the girls job it was with a caveat of starting a boys program,” Brown said. “I knew nothing about boys volleyball, and I didn’t know what to expect. It’s been an education. I learned a lot starting the program.”
Oak Forest finished the 2012 season 15-15, bringing Brown’s 10-year overall record to 167-128. The Bengals won back-to-back South Suburban conference titles in 2010 and ’11.
“What I’m most proud of is that now kids come here to play volleyball,” Brown said. “That’s really neat to see where the program has grown in 10 years. On paper, it may look like the 2012 season was successful, but thanks to the kids and a lot of great parents, they made my last year great. I’m looking forward to seeing where Lee takes the program.”
Brown will continue to be the girls volleyball coach.
From an unseeded freshman to the second-place singles finisher in the state, Marian Catholic’s Julian Childers has come a long way on and off the court.
Saturday at the Boys State Tennis tournament at Hersey High School in Arlington Heights, Childers lost 6-1, 6-2 to Deerfield’s Jason Brown in the championship match. A four-time state qualifier, Childers has won a combined 20 matches over his four appearances. He also is a three-time sectional champion.
“I’ve become more of a team player because freshman year I was introverted and wouldn’t talk to anyone,” Childers said. “I learned how to adjust to other guys’ personalities. It’s good to work hard and prepare for this tourney. That’s how I got better and moved up the rankings.”
Childers will move on to play for the University of Illinois, joining fellow state runner-up Tim Kopinski (Stagg, 2010) on the Illini roster.
Whether or not Childers will receive a scholarship or redshirt his freshman year is still to be decided over the next several weeks.
“Great team, great school, and no negatives so that’s why I picked Illinois,” Childers said. “If I redshirt, that would be something to push me even harder into the higher level of tennis I need to play.”
BOYS TRACK AND FIELD
While Crete-Monee senior Rashad Hulbert’s dominance in the hurdles was the big story at the Boys State Track and Field Finals, there were other outstanding performances Saturday at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston.
Lincoln-Way North sophomore Julian Hylton announced his arrival as a force to be reckoned with in the sprints. Competing as the only underclassman in the Class 3A 200-meter dash, Hylton took fifth. He added an eighth-place medal in the 100 dash.
Providence, which finished sixth in Class 2A, should be a force next season. The Celtics will bring back third-place state finishers in Mike Monroe in the high jump and Chad Weaver in the pole vault.
The South Suburban Blue conference saw three of its teams make the 400-meter relay finals. Bremen took second and Hillcrest notched ninth in Class 2A. T.F. North took eighth in 3A.
Lockport and Thornton both had team members compete against each other in finals events. Lockport’s Jonathon Goins (third) finished ahead of teammate Billy Reed (sixth) in the 110 hurdles. Thornton’s Jalen Banks and Demitri Smith took sixth and seventh, respectively, in the 100 dash.
One of the biggest turnarounds in the state this season was at Queen of Peace.
The Pride won just one game in 2011, but finished 12-12-2 this season and advanced all the way to the championship game of the Class 1A Lisle Sectional before falling 2-1 to Lisle, which went on to finish fourth in the state.
“The signature of our team has been to never give up,” Queen of Peace coach Tom Schergen said.
Queen of Peace rolled to a regional title with a 7-0 win over Maria and a 6-1 defeat of Lindblom.
The Pride’s first appearance in a sectional title game came after a 1-0 upset of Mendota in the sectional semifinals, which ended when sophomore Nina Izzo scored in the opening minutes of overtime.
Izzo scored a school-record 28 goals this season.
“Nina is one of the hardest working players I have ever worked with,” Schergen said. “She always works to get to the ball and then has a special skill to finish.”
Also making a strong run in Class 1A was Chicago Christian. The Knights won their third consecutive regional title, topping Brooks 7-0 and Carver 2-0 before falling 2-0 to University High in a sectional semifinal.