High School Notes
September 22, 2013 7:34PM
After coming up just a few points short of winning the South Suburban Red last year, Reavis coach Jennifer Keller wanted to do some digging.
What she found certainly surprised her. The Rams last won a conference swimming title in 1972.
“Winning conference this year is definitely a goal,” Keller said. “We’re not putting a lot of pressure on the girls, not ‘Conference, conference, conference!’ but the girls are talking about it. It would be really cool if we were able to come out on top.”
Reavis has seen an influx of young swimmers on the team this season. Sophomore Alex Malmborg has been a force early for the Rams, with Susu Almousa embracing a strong leadership role.
Keller said to also watch out for Sara Visvardis.
“This is the best start to a season since I’ve been here,” Keller said. “Susu is doing a good job bringing the team together, and we’ve got good leadership. The girls are taking the initiative, and I’m excited for what the season holds for us.”
Reavis defeated Shepard in a dual and won its own four-team invitational while falling to Lemont and Tinley Park in duals.
It’s going to be a top-heavy SouthWest Suburban Red tournament.
Reigning league titleholder Lincoln-Way Central is forced to contend with another returning conference champion, Lincoln-Way East. The Griffins transferred from the league’s Blue division to the Red this season.
In a recent showdown at the 28-team Providence Invitational, East and Central were neck-and-neck. The two schools topped the field with 305s, but East took first on a scorecard tiebreaker.
“Having (East) come over to our side of the conference will make it much tougher to win a title,” Lincoln-Way North coach Jim Nair said.
And if that’s not enough, Central’s Tony Kestel and East’s Matt Contey will duel in a battle of returning individual titleholders.
Nair’s North squad also could be in the mix. The Phoenix are 9-3 in duals and quietly turning in a strong season.
“We are having a nice year with big wins over Joliet and Sandburg,” Nair said. “We’re led by Johnny Orowick and Matt Juskie.”
The Latin School, a longtime staple of the Sandburg Invitational, pulled out of Saturday’s tournament on Tuesday, leaving the hosts scrambling.
Coach Brian Ostrander came up with an eighth team when he put together a Sandburg Gold squad consisting of JV players and other players who weren’t going to play in the tournament.
“It was too late to bring another school here,” he said.
That caused a unique situation in the No. 2 singles division. Sandburg sophomore Natalie Schultz beat freshman teammate Jasmine Abunaim 6-3, 6-4 for the title.
“We were hoping we could play each other for the title,” Schultz said. “It was a fun game because I knew her strengths and weaknesses. But it was surprising we made it that far. I’ve practiced with her before.’’
Sandburg won the team title for the second straight year, and the Gold team finished fifth.
GIRLS CROSS COUNTRY
Marist could be getting closer to its goal of qualifying for the state meet for the first time as a team.
The RedHawks won the Sept. 14 Reavis Invitational and they placed 15th out of 58 teams Saturday at the elite Peoria Notre Dame Invitational.
“It’s early, but we’re looking forward to the way they’re working,’’ coach Pat Quinn said. “We don’t have a lot of girls who come in with experience running.’’
Senior Annmarie Leonard, the individual champion at the Reavis meet, cites ‘’consistency’’ as her strong point.
“In workouts, I can hit the same time regardless how many sets we do,’’ Leonard said.
Leonard and her sister, Maryclare, ran 1-2 for Marist at Reavis and in Peoria.
Quinn plans to split his team up during the season.
“Hopefully, by the end, they’ll be strong enough to come together as a good group,’’ he said. “That’s the hope.’’
Next for Marist is the Tinley Park Invitational on Saturday.