Updated: January 11, 2013 6:10AM
Sandburg/Stagg beat Lincoln-Way co-op 133-132.85 in a nail-biter a season ago. The SouthWest Suburban Conference rematch at 6 p.m. Wednesday in Frankfort will feature a new cast.
Gone are Lincoln-Way’s Kaitlyn Neiheisel (35.65 in the all-around in last year’s showdown) and Sandburg/Stagg’s Sarah Mussallem (35.35). Those two talented graduates accounted for four of the six scores of 9.0 or higher that were recorded that night.
This season, Sandburg/Stagg has been led by sophomore Anna Gilrich, who scored a 30.6 in a season-opening dual loss to Hinsdale Central and a 32.025 in the Downers Grove North Invitational, and a host of others who have been jockeying for position on the roster.
Lincoln-Way has seen promising scores from Kaila Pohrte (34.95 on Wednesday vs. Andrew), Sam Duggan (31.7) and Shelby Witkor (31.5).
The IHSA has announced its sectional assignments. Andrew, Homewood-Flossmoor, Lincoln-Way co-op and Sandburg/Stagg feed into the Feb. 6 Hinsdale Central Sectional. Lockport, Mount Assisi, Providence and Shepard will enter individuals in the postseason. Regional assignments will be announced in January.
Sandburg senior Mike O’Malley knows the commitment it takes for a high school swimming program to stay successful.
“Going through preseason, we started off with doubles every other day — Monday, Wednesday, Friday,’’ he said. “Then we started going every day except for Saturdays. Then we’re going every single day except for Sundays. That’s the next few months.’’
O’Malley swam on all three relays at the state meet last season and is the only returnee from the 200- and 400-yard freestyle relays that finished second. The 50 and 100 freestyles are his main events.
“We were all willing to work hard, put the time in for each other,’’ O’Malley said. “We’re going to have to get people to step up that want to do the same.’’
Coach Jim Caliendo is counting on Trevor Winans (200 free, 500 free), Conor Gallimore (butterfly) and David Apps to be leaders for Sandburg. Senior Kevin Tunney, juniors Zach Roper and Dean Boures and freshman Kevin Stratton will provide depth.
“We graduated people in the past and we’ve stepped up just as big,’’ O’Malley said.
Two of the area’s best battle Thursday when Sandburg hosts Lockport in the SouthWest Suburban Blue.
Lincoln-Way East senior Kyle Langenderfer, the reigning state champion at 138 pounds, discussed his decision to commit to Illinois.
“I grew up wrestling in kids clubs all around the state. I’m a hometown kid and wanted to represent my state,” Langenderfer said. “That was a big pull for me, and one of my goals was to wrestle in the Big Ten. They’re one of the top programs there, so I couldn’t really argue with any other school. I love the coaching staff and it helps that (Lincoln-Way East) coach (Tyrone) Byrd wrestled there.”
Langenderfer missed the first month of the season because he was a starting linebacker on an East team that reached the Class 8A state finals, but he’s shown no rust coming back to the mat. Langenderfer won the title at the 12-team Stagg Invitational and went 3-0 with three pins at the Minooka Duals on Saturday.
Sandburg state medalist Sebastian Pique suffered a dislocated elbow in a match against Lockport. Eagles coach Eric Siebert expects Pique back in mid-January.
“He’s a great kid ... one of my favorites I’ve ever coached,” Siebert said. “I’m confident he’ll be ready for crunch time.”
Senior Mark Jones threw the first perfect 300 game in the history of the Argo boys bowling program during a Nov. 27 dual against Lemont at Strike ‘n Spare II in Lockport.
“I was very proud of Mark,” Argo coach Kris Kowalski said. “It was exciting watching it, but I tried not to be nervous. I try not to get involved on the nerves because they have enough nerves themselves.”
It’s been a strong start for the Argonauts, who are 8-2 in dual meets. Their wins include a 2,040-1,941 victory Nov. 19 over Richards, which finished ninth in the state last season.
“It’s been a really good season for us so far,” Kowalski said. “All the kids have been bowling well.”
Argo’s lineup includes junior Gerald Regep, who finished 33rd in the state last season, and his brother Dominic Regep as well as Jones, Antonio Rago and Devin Stone.
Kowalski is hoping his team, which finished fifth at the Hinsdale South Sectional last year, can make a run at a state appearance this season.
“We definitely have a chance,” he said. “We’re doing well in conference and we just have to keep it together and keep it going all the way to sectionals.”