High School Sports Notes
November 25, 2012 5:52PM
Updated: December 27, 2012 6:14AM
Sandburg’s competitive cheerleading team has hit double figures in regular-season meet championships.
The defending Illinois High School Association state champion Eagles opened the 2012-13 season winning the Super Large Division of the Wilmington Spiritline Invitational on Nov. 18.
That gives the Eagles 10 straight regular-season titles. The last time the Eagles failed to finish first was at the Jamfest TurboJam in Indianapolis in 2010 when they finished second.
Sandburg coach Mike Bruce said he doesn’t pay attention to streaks, but credited the Eagles for their consistency over the past three seasons.
“We’re just happy to have great kids who work hard,” Bruce said. “We have great freshmen and sophomore programs. Hopefully we can continue this.”
A bulk of the cheerleaders on the program come from District 135 grade schools, but those schools have not exactly been feeder schools for the sport.
“None of those schools have cheerleading,” Bruce said. “I’m not sure why. But like anything else, we have kids who participate in club cheerleading. We have former gymnasts. We have a little bit of everything and we try to put the pieces of the puzzle together.”
In an area ripe with wrestling talent, Marist and Sandburg continue to raise the bar for Southland programs.
Both teams are garnering national recognition, and along with Oak Park-River Forest, appear as favorites to compete for the Class 3A state championship. Combined, Marist and Sandburg return 10 state medalists.
“There’s a lot of good teams in Illinois this year,” Sandburg coach Eric Siebert said. “And there’s not many better than Marist, that’s for sure.”
Last season, Sandburg topped Marist in arguably the state’s toughest regional, going on to win the Class 3A state title. The two powerhouses aren’t slated for a dual match this season, but both will head to Rochester, Minnesota on Dec. 28 for the nationally acclaimed ‘The Clash’ dual team tournament.
“At this point of the season, you’re speculating what they’re lineup could be, and they’re probably doing the same with us,” Siebert said. “It’s not until you get into the flow of the regular season when it becomes a little more evident. When guys settle into their weights, that’s when you can stop speculating and truly see how it’s going to lay out.
“We have a lot of respect for Marist, and we like competing against them.”
While swimming teams at Sandburg, Lockport and Lincoln-Way North prepare for another season geared toward the state meet, Lemont is building a program in its fourth year.
“Your friends come out and support you,’’ Lemont senior Justin Stanwyck said. “It’s a lot of work that goes into a season, but I think it’s worth it. I started getting good my sophomore year.’’
Connor Ganzer, Brent Husa and Joe Zibel are the swimmers with the most experience expected to make a difference this season for the Indians.
“They’re just a bunch of great guys,’’ Stanwyck said.
Lemont opens its season Dec. 4 against Eisenhower at the Lemont Park District pool.
A few dates to remember: Dec. 15: Neuqua Valley Invitational with Lockport and Lincoln-Way North;
Dec. 27: Lincoln-Way North Invitational with Sandburg; Jan. 5: Evanston Invitational with Lockport and New Trier; Jan. 12: Sandburg Invitational.
They said it: “There’s always the rivalry between us and Sandburg. That’s who we’re always battling with.’’ — Lockport coach Grant Ferkaluk
“Since I was a freshman, we’ve really got a lot more strength in our relays. That’s our main thing. We definitely have a lot of depth.’’ — Lincoln-Way East senior Andy Gramont
Defending state champion Andrew got off to a solid start to the season.
The Thunderbolts opened with one of their biggest duals of the season Tuesday, and prevailed, topping Lockport 2,059-2,035 behind a 486 series from senior Cassie Boat.
Boat continued her big week by taking the individual title at Saturday’s Plainfield Central Wildcat Invite with a six-game series of 1,322. Andrew took third in the tournament.
With three starters returning, the Thunderbolts are looking forward to trying to defend their title.
“It’s very exciting,” said senior Stephanie Garuckas, who finished ninth in the Wildcat Invite with a 1,141. “When we won state, we felt like celebrities. We didn’t see it coming at all.
“This year, we’re just going to have to work hard and hopefully we can make it to state again. If we don’t get first, it’s alright, because we’ve already accomplished so much.”
Senior Nicole Zopf, who finished 16th in the state last season, joins Boat and Garuckas as returning starters. Junior Ashley Sparrey has split time between junior varsity and varsity the last two seasons.
Andrew is trying to overcome the graduation of Ashley Stefanski, who took fifth in the state last season, and Jenny Hallas.