High School Sports Notes
September 15, 2013 10:40PM
Updated: October 17, 2013 6:17AM
After 10 hours of watching tennis all day, Homewood-Flossmoor coach Don Baron’s throat was still in fine form as he shouted encouragement to his second singles player.
Senior Maya Sykes took fifth place in second singles in the 16-team Lincoln-Way East Invitational on Saturday to help the Vikings win the title.
Baron was pumped up to see Sykes perform so well, going 4-1 on the day. He said he wasn’t sure what to expect out of her.
“This young lady usually plays third doubles for us,” Baron said. “She stepped up on basically a days notice and came in and did well. I don’t think she played singles in four years. She’s a high character girl who does everything that you ask. That’s what I’m most proud of. She really stepped up.’’
H-F won the invitational with 25 points while Sandburg was second with 20.
It’s not always evident from the score, but first-year coach Melanie Gengo said Oak Forest is making headway.
“I’m really impressed with they way people bought into the program,” Gengo said. “And I’m really happy with their progress.”
The Bengals unquestioned leader is two-time sectional qualifier Jackie Pytko. The senior looks to become a four-time all-South Suburban Blue selection Oct. 3 at Coyote Run.
“Jackie is absolutely the backbone of our team,” Gengo said. “She sets the bar high for her teammates and is as excited to see them excel as she is to succeed herself.”
Gengo said Delaney Sloop and Katie Maurer are two players coming along since the start of the season.
“We’re going to surprise a few people in conference and regionals,” Gengo added. “I think we’re going to come on strong.”
Boys CROSS COUNTY
Until Saturday, a sore knee kept senior Will Becker, Sandburg’s top state meet returnee, out of any meets.
Becker came back strong at the Reavis Invitational, finishing fifth in 15 minutes, 54 seconds to lead Sandburg to the title without running its regular lineup.
“We’ve been getting him back over the last four weeks,’’ Sandburg coach John O’Malley said. “I had no idea how he was going to run. He looked great.’’
O’Malley also had high praise for sophomore Dan Laskero, who won the frosh-soph race in 15:53.
“He won the race in a time that would have won varsity last year,’’ O’Malley said. “He looked awesome.’’
Sean Torpy and Tom Brennan also are part of the class O’Malley calls his “best sophomore group’’ in 11 years as coach.
“We have bigger meets the next two weeks that will be really challenging, really competitive,’’ the Sandburg coach said.
That includes the Peoria Notre Dame Invitational on Saturday at Detweiller Park.
With just 12 swimmers and divers on the varsity, overall numbers are down a bit for Stagg, but coach Frank Muchna is not worried.
The Chargers defeated both Lincoln-Way West, 121-58, and Hinsdale South, 107-78, in dual meets and also finished fifth at the Lockport Relay Invitational.
“We’re swimming okay right now,” Muchna said. “We do have a smaller team overall, but it is a very talented and very hard-working group.”
A trio of seniors — Adrienne DiFoggio, Sophia Shalabi and Samyah Isa — along with juniors Alexandria McGurk and Megan Stoffel, have performed well for Stagg early in the weeks of the season.
“We are seeing some times now that girls were posting at the end of last season,” Muchna said. “The times are coming down, and the girls keep working hard at it.”