Katie Cardinal, of Sandburg | Gary Middendorf~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 5, 2013 6:20AM
This week we shine the spotlight on: Katie Cardinal, Sandburg cheerleading; Matt Tylka, Reavis swimming; Ashley Kouba, Reavis bowling and Dion Wells, Eisenhower wrestling.
Sr., Cheerleading, Sandburg
After spending a few years cheering for the Orland Knights, Cardinal entered a world where state and national titles were the norm when she entered Sandburg.
This year, the Eagles won the National Cheerleaders’ Association title in January and were fourth in the large-school division in the state meet over the weekend.
“When I made the team I realized how hard the sport really was,” she said. “Before, it was just recreational. But it’s great to be a part of this environment.”
Senior, Swimming, Reavis
Tylka said he started swimming competitively when he was 11. He’s the South Suburban Red champ in the 100-yard butterfly.
“I tried soccer and the other sports,’’ he said. “Swimming just seemed to work for me. I like the effort it demanded. I like putting in a lot of work in something and seeing results.”
“The team, the atmosphere, they make it bearable,’’ Tylka said of what he likes most about swimming.
Jr., Bowling, Reavis
Kouba, who qualified for state as an individual last season and finished 54th, said she’s gotten better this season.
“I’ve been improving a lot,” she said. “I’ve bowled my two highest games ever – both 279s. It’s been a good season. I won the title at the Rich East Invitational and (the South Suburban Red Tournament) was good, too. I finished third at conference.”
Kouba is a veteran on the lanes.
“I’ve been bowling since I was 4 years old,” she said.
Sr., Wrestling, Eisenhower
Wells, a returning state qualifier, pinned his way through the heavyweight division Jan. 26 at the South Suburban Tournament. It was the first conference championship of his career.
Also a standout two-way lineman for Eisenhower’s football team, Wells is looking to play football at New Mexico Military Institute.
“Wrestling is harder than football,” Wells said. “It’s one of the hardest sports around. It teaches you about character.”