High School Sports Notes
December 30, 2012 6:10PM
Updated: February 1, 2013 6:14AM
Lockport will swim against the best Saturday at the Evanston Invitational, which will include defending state champion New Trier and state runner-up Naperville North.
“It’s a mini state meet,’’ Lockport coach Grant Ferkaluk said. “You’re seeing the best competition other than some of the teams that are from down south. It’s a big meet.’’
Despite the tough competition, the top swimmers usually don’t avoid each other while they’re trying to do better than the next guy.
“With the guys teams, it seems like there’s a couple of stars at each program and all of them get along real well,’’ Ferkaluk said. “They enjoy competing against each other.’’
“Swimming has always been in my life, but now it’s the primary sport I do,’’ said Lockport’s Jake Knowles, a state qualifier last season in the 100-yard breaststroke and 100-yard freestyle.
Speaking of elite competition, Lockport also will be in the New Trier Diving Invitational on Saturday.
Circle the calendar: The Lockport Invitational, which includes Stagg and Lincoln-Way Central, is Jan. 18 and 19.
Lockport has had a strong season thus far, winning titles at its own invitational and the Rock Island Invitational while finishing second in strong fields at the Palatine Invitational and Plainfield North Strikefest.
But although they’ve established themselves as one of the state’s top teams, the Porters know it won’t be easy to get to state out of a top-heavy Rich East Sectional.
Only two teams will advance out of the sectional that includes a Minooka squad that won the titles at Palatine and Plainfield North and finished second at Lockport.
Also in the sectional: defending state champion Andrew.
“We know it’s going to be a really tough sectional and we’re trying to get ready for it,” Lockport’s Bri Zabierek said. “We’ve been kind of going back and forth with Minooka all year.”
Lincoln-Way West, with defending individual state champion Morgan Flaherty, is also in the sectional.
Several area teams will compete in the Bremen Sectional, where a T.F. South squad that’s been one of the state’s best surprises figures to be among the favorites. Sandburg, looking to make its second straight state appearance, also is at Bremen.
Shepard freshman Skylor Hilger was the only local gymnast in action over the weekend. She finished fifth in the all-around at the Panther Invitational in Oswego on Friday.
Her club coaches believe she can be a contender for an Illinois High School Association individual title in February.
The south suburbs haven’t produced many champs.
Since the state tourney started in 1977, there have been more than 175 chances for athletes to either win an individual title or share one. Six area athletes have claimed 14 of those titles.
Sandburg’s Krystyn Misheck was the last individual from the SouthtownStar area to claim a title. She won the floor exercise in 2009.
Stagg’s Lisa Peterson was the first area all-around champ with a 37.50 in 1986. Three years later, Rich Central’s Jennifer Redmond won all-round honors with a 37.70.
Redmond also won the vault four times from
1987-90 and the floor exercise in 1989.
Homewood-Flossmoor’s Jennie Ross claimed the floor exercise in 1994. Peterson won the vault in 1986, Rich Central’s Corynne Cooper was a co-champion in the vault in 1995 and 1996 and won it outright in 1997 and Sandburg’s April Hurt won it in 2003.
At the beginning of the season, Marist senior Josh Pruitt was asked who he considered the best wrestler among his teammates. Without hesitation, Pruitt spoke of junior Mark Duda.
“The guy is a freak,” Pruitt said. “He could beat me. He’s so athletic and I’m eight weight classes above him.”
Duda, a two-time state medalist, is living up to the billing. The junior conquered a top-notch 113-pound field at the 33-team Dvorak Invitational to become one of two Marist titleholders. Peter Andreotti, a 160-pounder, was the other.
Other notable performances included a title by Mount Carmel’s undefeated Bryce Brill (145 pounds), and runner-up finishes from St. Rita freshman Jake Silzer (106), Marist sophomore Alex Benoit (170) and Providence senior Ronald Triche (113).
In other tournament action, Oak Forest and Lincoln-Way East each brought home individual titles and runner-up finishes at the 27-team Berman Classic.
Illinois recruit Kyle Langenderfer kept his undefeated record intact with a 152-pound title for the Griffins, and heavyweight Nick Allegretti lost in the finals to top-ranked Brian Allen, of Hinsdale Central.
Oak Forest senior Alec Brown took home the trophy at 220, while sophomore Danny Swan continues to impress with a second-place finish at 106.