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Baranek: Like mother, like daughter? Well, almost

Sandburg senior Carly Katalinic with her mother Cheryl. | Tony Baranek~Sun-Time Media

Sandburg senior Carly Katalinic with her mother Cheryl. | Tony Baranek~Sun-Time Media

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Updated: June 14, 2013 6:18AM



Sandburg senior Carly Katalinic has followed in her mother Cheryl’s footsteps in being a tremendous high school multi-sport athlete.

She hasn’t, however, followed in her cleats.

Cheryl, then named O’Dekirk, played volleyball, basketball and softball at Oak Forest from 1980-84.

She played softball so well that she got a full ride to DePaul. She played so well at DePaul that earlier this year she was inducted into the DePaul Softball Hall of Fame.

Carly has been a two-sport athlete at Sandburg, playing soccer and basketball. She played soccer and basketball so well that she will play one or both at West Point.

But softball, the game that made her mother Hall of Fame famous? That career came to an end in sixth grade.

Mom smiled when talking about THE NIGHT.

“I can remember the night at home,” Cheryl said. “She was moving from an Orland travel (soccer) team to more of a club team. I remember we told her that night that she was going to have to choose between soccer and softball (in high school).”

Carly chose soccer.

“There were tears,” Cheryl said, smiling. “She loved her soccer teammates and the people. And she loved the aggressiveness of soccer. It was like football for girls. It suited her personality better.”

Carly Katalinic is one of the top defenders on Sandburg’s 13-5-3 soccer squad that has posted 10 shutouts in 2013. On offense, she has chipped in with two goals and six assists.

“She’s a very smart and a very athletic and competitive player,” Sandburg soccer coach Desi Vuillaume said. “She’s just a great girl, fun to be around. She brings great qualities to the game.”

In basketball this past season, she was a multi-purpose point guard, hitting 34 three-pointers, averaging 8.7 points, 2.7 assists and 2.5 steals per game.

Throughout Carly’s career, mom hasn’t missed many of the contests. Cheryl still amazes at how the games have changed since she was a top player at Oak Forest.

“The progression is unbelievable,” she said. “I think in grammar school they possess the skills we had in high school. It’s because they’re doing the stuff year-round. These travel coaches are fantastic.

“My first real hitting lesson was in college and it was my coach’s brother, Mike Lenti, who played semipro baseball. None of us had ever had hitting lessons, Or knew how to slap hit and slap bunt.”

For that time, however, she was nothing short of amazing.

At DePaul, she was a gold glove at shortstop, recording a career-high 160 assists in 1987. At the 1985 North Star conference tournament she led all players in hits, and batted .357 in the postseason. She finished her career at DePaul second in all-time career assists, all the while holding status as an academic All-American.

It also was at DePaul that she met her husband, Marc, who had been a football player at St. Francis de Sales and passed on some Division III offers to become a student at DePaul and work in the athletic department.

The pinnacle of Cheryl’s three-sport success at Oak Forest was helping the volleyball team finish third in Class AA in 1983.

“I do tell my kids that my worst sport was volleyball in terms of my ability, but it was far and away my best experience,” Cheryl said. “We took third in state my senior year, and we took Elite Eight my junior year. And my coach (Mary Leach) is in the Hall of Fame.

“What I’ve tried to instill in all of the kids is it’s greater than just you or the team, it’s the relationships you’re going to build.”

Which is one of the biggest reasons that Carly decided not to follow in some of her soccer teammates’ footsteps and concentrate on just one sport.

“I’m a lot more like her than I care to admit,” Carly said, laughing. “When everyone was choosing what sport to play in grade school, my parents really pushed me to play both basketball and soccer and softball, too.

“At the time I didn’t really understand because my friends were all choosing one. But it definitely helped me in each sport because I have different skills from the other sports that I bring in. And I just really love the experience of having twice as many friends, twice as many pasta parties and just a lot more memories.”

Carly isn’t the only Katalinic kid who excels in sports. Her older brother, Kevin, was a wrestler and a soccer player at Sandburg. He’s now a sophomore at Notre Dame and boxes on the school’s club team.

A younger brother, Brett, is a freshman at Sandburg who plays golf and baseball.

Carly’s final hurrah, in her eighth season of playing sports at Sandburg, will be played out in the state soccer tournament, scheduled to start Tuesday.

“It’s really hard to believe,” Carly said. “My basketball Senior Night I was really sad but I think (the end of) soccer is going to be worse just because it’s the last one.

“I’ve had so much fun throughout the last four years, and I’m happy with how everything turned out. I’m hoping for one final push in the state soccer series so I can end it on a good note.”



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