High School Sports Notes
January 20, 2013 7:04PM
Updated: February 22, 2013 6:12AM
Notes from Saturday’s SouthWest Suburban Tournament:
Reigning state champion Kris Williams missed the first portion of Thornton’s season with an ankle injury. Since his return in mid-December, he’s been unbeatable. “I feel 100 percent now; so much better,” Williams said. “I even feel better than I did last year. I worked on my technique all summer with the Harvey Twisters organization and they kept helping me.” Utilizing unrivaled speed and power, Williams, a sophomore, conquered the 113-pound field for his second conference championship.
Sandburg senior Sebastian Pique, a two-time state finalist who missed the conference tournament, said he’s “ready to go” and will begin competition next week. Pique (120 pounds) has been out since dislocating his elbow in a match against Lockport on Nov. 30.
After earning his second conference championship, Lincoln-Way Central’s Robbie Mikenis (138 pounds) looked ahead to the Knights’ regional match-up against Lockport and Plainfield Central on Feb. 2. “It’s going to be wild,” Mikenis said. “I think we have a good shot to take it. It’s a good sign that we beat Lockport in (Saturday’s) tournament scoring.” Sandburg finished first, Lincoln-Way Central was second and Lockport took third.
A Marmion coach said “Probably see you at state’’ to longtime Sandburg coach Jim Caliendo after Marmion won the recent Al Gillberg Invitational at Sandburg.
The Sandburg team that tied for fourth at the 2012 state meet lost several key swimmers to graduation but the Eagles still have high aspirations.
“We knew what we were up against coming in,’’ Caliendo said. “The kids have not let the loss of last year’s seniors change anything. We train just as hard.
“Our expectations are still there. We’re scratching and clawing to get there. The kids have done a wonderful job of staying together and working hard together.’’
Caliendo on senior Mike O’Malley, who swam in relays at state: “Michael is the go-to guy. Anytime anybody has any issues they go to Michael. He knows what it takes to get there. He’s encouraging to the kids.’’
Caliendo on sophomore Trevor Winans: “He’s a big leader because of his talent level but as a sophomore it’s hard to be a leader vocally. He does a good job of training and the kids admire him for his talents.’’
Another standout is returning state qualifier David Apps, who Caliendo said had a “breakout day” at the Sandburg meet after being sidelined with the flu.
There may be no “I” in team, but there are two “I’s” in Girlich.
Sandburg/Stagg co-op sophomore Anna Girlich has had her named botched a few different ways, and when she qualified for the Illinois High School Association state meet last year it was spelled “Grlich.”
“It’s always misspelled and I don’t know why,” she said. “But I’m getting used to it.”
Her coach, Mike White, confessed it’s his fault.
“I probably wrote her name so fast last year and I forgot the ‘I’ ’’ he said. “I tend to do that sometime.”
The IHSA announced its regional assignments, and area teams will be headed to three different sites.
Andrew and Sandburg/Stagg will compete Jan. 29 in the Neuqua Valley Regional along with individuals from Lockport and Providence.
Shepard’s Skylor Hilger will participate as an individual on Jan. 31 at the Hinsdale Central Regional.
Lincoln-Way’s co-op team and Homewood-Flossmoor will compete in the Oswego Regional on Feb. 2.
All three regionals feed into the Hinsdale Central Sectional.
The SouthWest Suburban meet is at 11 a.m. Saturday at Homewood-Flossmoor. Lincoln-Way has won the last three titles. Andrew’s Jamie Valla is attempting to win her fourth straight all-around conference title.
After a strong morning session in Saturday’s Sandburg Sectional, Tinley Park’s Jeff Nichols saw his state chances slipping away in the first two games of the afternoon.
After a 172 in Game 5, he slipped from second in the individual race to seventh.
“I just had to stay focused and make sure I hit my marks,” Nichols said. “In the sixth game, I just started having a little fun and I threw the ball better.”
A 216 in the final game elevated Nichols to fourth and he took a state berth. It was a close race for the state spot, with Lincoln-Way East’s Brandon Nathan (4 pins behind), Lincoln-Way Central’s Nick Kross (6 pins behind) and Shepard’s Mike Albrecht (11 pins behind) also in contention.
Nichols didn’t realize just how close it was.
“I don’t pay attention to scores at all,” he said. “If it happens, it happens. People try to tell me scores all the time and I always tell them not to.
“It still hasn’t hit me yet that I’m going to state. I’m still in a bit of shock.”
Nathan, meanwhile, also got in, claiming the state’s final at-large berth.