Updated: February 15, 2013 6:10AM
Amid the excitement of bowling the first 300 game of his life Saturday in Game 2 of the South Suburban Red Tournament, Argo’s Gerald Regep had to remain focused.
“It was tough having it happen in Game 2,” he said. “I couldn’t get too excited because there was a long way to go and I was more concerned with the team winning than anything.”
Regep kept his composure and made the day even more special, taking the individual title and leading the Argonauts to their first conference crown.
“We made Argo history,” senior Mark Jones said. “This is unbelievable.”
Argo will compete in Saturday’s Oak Lawn Sectional and has to be considered a major contender.
Lincoln-Way West turned in an impressive showing Saturday in winning the SouthWest Suburban Red Tournament. Despite all the talent on defending state champion Andrew’s squad, it was all Warriors – Josh Glover, Vince Paciune and David Eggert — who occupied the top three spots in the individual standings.
Other conference champions included Brother Rice in the Catholic League, Tinley Park in the South Suburban Blue and Lockport in the SouthWest Suburban Blue.
Homewood-Flossmoor senior Kevin Kuchta, a two-year state qualifier, is shooting for All-State recognition at this year’s state meet.
“I’m hoping to go top 12 at state, but I’ll see what happens,’’ Kuchta said. “The season started out a little slower than I wanted it to, but I feel like I stepped up a little and got back on track.’’
That includes winning the 100-yard breaststroke (1:01.95) at the Sandburg Invitational and taking third in the 200 individual medley.
Sandburg’s Jim Caliendo has seen a lot of top-notch swimmers come and go in his 20 years as the Eagles coach, but none more than last season when the team tied for fourth place at the state meet.
“We had a lot of kids graduate last year who were front-line kids,’’ Caliendo said. “Our senior class has done a great job of leading our team and not letting our traditions fall apart. Our goals are the same.
“We’ve had a lot of young kids who stepped into the spotlight. They’ve made a few mistakes. I’m proud of our seniors because they have not been frustrated with them. They’ve encouraged them, and we’re beginning to put things together.’’
St. Rita coach Dan Manzella believes his team is rounding into top form after taking third at the 16-team Lincoln-Way East Illini Classic on Saturday.
“The kids are wrestling really well,” Manzella said. “They’re putting in the work and peaking at the right time.”
Manzella credited his staff for helping build the program into one of the top teams in Class 3A. The Mustangs should contend for the Mount Carmel Regional title on Feb. 2.
“Ryan Klinger and John Murphy, my assistant coaches, took over the technique and let me take over the conditioning and it’s really showing,” Manzella said.
Freshman Jake Silzer (106 pounds) and senior Jack Sears (182) took home titles Saturday. Colt Kielbasa (120) finished second, while Mike O’Conner (138) and Keith McGee (220) took third.
“Jake Silzer is a nice surprise. I knew he was a very good wrestler when I recruited him and he’s bought into the program,” Manzella said. “He believes in us and we believe in him.
“Michael O’Connor has been one of the most consistent guys I’ve had for four years. He’s going to win 30 bouts again for the fourth straight year. To do that on our schedule is not an easy thing.”
Andrew’s bid for a fourth straight Illinois Cheerleading Coaches Association state championship appeared to hit a bump in the road when senior flyer Alyssa Pappan suffered a season-ending knee injury Wednesday.
The Thunderbolts inserted sophomore Erin Enright to take over for Pappan and the team was able to win the large varsity division (87.80 points) of the ICCA Invitational it hosted Saturday in Tinley Park.
Homewood-Flossmoor (third) and T.F. South (sixth) also qualified for the state meet, which takes place Feb. 9 and 10 at the Prairie Capital Convention Center in Springfield.
“I wish it didn’t happen this way but it was great to see Erin come out of nowhere and learn the whole routine so quickly,” Andrew coach Danielle Sabo said. “She was awesome.”
Defending Illinois High School Association coed state champion Rich Central took first at Andrew with an 88.88 and qualified for state. Thornton, which had qualified for state in a previous meet, finished third.
In the medium division, Rich South won with an 81.53 and qualified for state. Illiana Christian finished fifth and also qualified. Marian Catholic, which previously had qualified for state, took seventh.
In the small division, Beecher finished fourth but did not qualify for state.