High School Sports Spotlight for Sept. 10, 2012
September 9, 2012 8:56PM
Kenneth Allen, Thornwood
Updated: October 11, 2012 6:07AM
This week we shine the spotlight on: Kenneth Allen, Thornwood cross country; Frankie Saban, Sandburg golf; Joe Paloian, Lemont golf; and Hope Ritter, Lincoln-Way East girls tennis
Sr., Cross Country, Thornwood
Allen is the Thunderbirds’ leading returnee.
“Last year we took a few steps to get competitive and actually made it to sectionals,” Allen said. “We’re trying to make it to state. ... We’re taking the right steps.”
Thornwood won its first SouthWest Suburban Red title in 2011.
“I didn’t do as much summer training last year as I should have and this year I tried to fix that,’’ Allen said. “I ran over 500 miles this summer.’’
Soph., Golf, Sandburg
Saban fell just short when booking her trip to the state finals as a freshman.
“I missed state by four strokes, so I’ve been practicing almost every day,” she said. “I feel everything about my game is better and all the practice is helping preparing me for the playoffs.”
At the Stagg Regional a season ago, Saban earned medalist honors with a 5-over 76 at Green Garden. She also placed sixth in the SouthWest Suburban Blue.
Sr., Golf, Lemont
It’s hard to believe but Paloian, the reigning South Suburban Red medalist, was cut from the team his freshman year and first played high school golf as a sophomore.
Now the superstitious senior — he only hits odd-numbered clubs — returns as one of two Lemont golfers with state finals experience after the team’s third-place finish in Class AA in 2011.
“I’m hoping we can make it to state again, but we’ve been moved up to (Class) 3A, so it’s going to be difficult,” he said.
Jr., Girls Tennis, Lincoln-Way East
Ritter is gaining confidence by being consistent with her ground strokes.
“The real strength to Hope’s game is her steadiness and consistency with her ground strokes from the baseline,” East coach Chris Olson said. “She is a very patient player that is willing to put a two-hour effort out there in each match, slowly wearing down her opponent. She has a refuse to lose mentality, which is such a key asset for a singles player.”