When Sandburg’s boys’ cross country team competed in last Saturday’s Reavis Invitational, it did so with an entirely different group than had run for the Eagles in the previous week’s meet.
That suited head coach John O’Malley just fine because he was putting a coaching philosophy into practice. And the results turned out to be even better than O’Malley had anticipated.
Even with starters Justin Adams, Henry Becker and Greg Burzinski resting, six Sandburg athletes finished among the top 20. That enabled the Eagles to easily win the 10-school meet, as they were 31 points better than second-place Marist.
Sandburg totaled 59 points. Besides the Eagles and RedHawks, local programs at the meet included Brother Rice (fourth with 152 points), Richards (seventh, 211) and Stagg (ninth, 262).
Sandburg’s Will Becker was fifth individually with a time of 15 minutes, 54 seconds, although that performance was only 12 second slower than meet winner James Durkin of Brother Rice. Rounding out the Eagles’ top-20 group were Max Lehnhardt (seventh in 15:57), Mike Brower (14th, 16:31), Matt Benz-Weeden (15th, 16:33), Brady Walter (18th, 16:42) and Adam Gleisner (19th, 16:42).
“We have the perspective that we want to give other guys the opportunity, whenever possible, to put them into roles and spots that they’re just not used to being in,” O’ Malley said. “And we find that they definitely progress when put in those spots.
“I wanted to see how these guys would run being forced as the front-runners, and Saturday’s meet showed they handled the responsibility real well and performed great. After two meets, we see a lot of guys who are obviously a lot further along. We’re very happy.”
O’Malley said he was especially impressed with the performance of Becker, who is coming off an injury.
“He’s been progressing nicely,” O’Malley said. “We’re expecting big things from him.”
Based on Saturday’s results, O’Malley will continue to look for more opportunities to stretch his kids.
“Sometimes you have to force people into those spots and not rely on their teammates to get the job done,” he said. “Suddenly, they find out something about themselves in the process that they wouldn’t have otherwise found out.”
If all the runners from both Weeks 1 and 2 can perform at high levels, the future could be a bright one. However, O’Malley is not yet ready to make any grandiose projections.
“We don’t entirely know where we’re heading with the future, but we’re excited to have so many guys running so well,” he said. “The program has been to state the last 10 years, but it’s always hard to script where we’ll fall. We just have to get better each week.”
Sandburg won the team title despite the fact that sophomore Dan Laskero ran in the frosh-soph race. He won it in 15:53.
Shepard, sparked by Josh Maier’s victory in the three-mile race, finished second at Thursday’s Bremen Invitational with 64 points. Meier clocked a time of 16:23 at Midlothian Meadows.
GIRLS’ CROSS COUNTRY
Shepard’s Alondra Delfin (20:11) ran second in last Thursday’s Bremen Invitational at Midlothian Meadows. On Saturday, the Lady Astros placed fifth at the Reavis Invitational with 184 points.
Stagg was eighth at the Reavis event.
Sandburg went 3-0 last week at the Lincoln-Way Invitational as it beat Marist 4-1 on Tuesday, then posted back-to-back shutouts versus Lincoln-Way Central (2-0) and Eisenhower (3-0) on Thursday and Saturday, respectively.
The Eagles got on the board first last Tuesday when John Manthey scored an unassisted goal. Sandburg didn’t hold an edge for long, though, as the RedHawks answered with a goal of their own in the opening half.
The tie remained in place into the second half, but Michael Staunton finally put the Eagles in front to stay by tallying off a dead ball from Patrick Russell. From there, Sandburg was able to extend its advantage further as Przemyslaw Tylka and Manthey both found the back of Marist’s net before time expired.
On Thursday, the Eagles failed to generate anything offensively in the first half against Lincoln-Way Central and went into the break locked in a scoreless standoff. Once again, however, Sandburg asserted itself when play resumed, and Mike Klimkowski booted in the match’s initial goal on a slot ball. The marker was the first of Klimkowski’s varsity career.
A few minutes later, Nick Atkinson knocked in an insurance goal for the Eagles, whose defense was anchored by keeper Scott Swiontek. The whitewash was his fourth of the campaign.
Shutout No. 5 followed two days later, as Sandburg breezed past Eisenhower. The victory assured the Eagles of advancement into the tourney semifinals.
Kyle Kroll’s goal, off a Tylka assist, put Sandburg in front early and the Cardinals could never adequately respond. Second-half scores by Tylka and Ryan Kozlowski cemented the triumph. Kozlowski’s goal was the first of his career.
The Eagles face Lincoln-Way West tonight, with the winner moving on to Saturday’s finale.
Two goals apiece from Getenet Timmermans and Jake Robertson were more than enough to carry Chicago Christian to a 5-0 victory over Guerin Prep in a Suburban Christian Conference match last Thursday.
Each player also distributed an assist. Senior defender Josh Mollema completed the Knights’ scoring with his initial goal of the year and netminder Caleb DeRuiter turned in his second shutout.
The win improved Christian’s overall record to 4-1-2.
Stagg stretched its victory streak to four by shutting out Brother Rice 2-0 last Wednesday and edging Lemont 2-1 on Saturday.
Roberto Torres notched a two-day hat trick, as he tallied both of the Chargers’ goals versus the Crusaders and one against the Indians. Also scoring for Stagg in the latter encounter was Phil Kolesinski.
Colm McGhee’s penalty-kick goal was the only scoring Shepard could muster last Wednesday as Homewood-Flossmoor pinned a 3-1 loss on it.
Chicago Christian collected a 172-187 win over Shepard last Tuesday at Silver Lake and followed that up with a 165-185 decision over Andrew at Waters Edge the next day.
Patrick McCarthy fired a 39 for the Knights at Silver Lake, good enough to earn medalist honors that day. Jay Timmer (44), Bobby Schaaf (44) and Blaine Wright (45) completed Christian’s scoring.
Timmer was Wednesday’s medalist after carding a nine-hole score of 37. Wright was two shots behind him, Schaaf fired a 44 and McCarthy shot a 45.
Behind Brendan Kivlehan’s medalist round of 37, Stagg nipped Richards 159-165 in a match at Stony Creek last Wednesday. The Bulldogs’ Matt Kendryna finished one stroke in arrears of Kivlehan.
The Chargers carded a team score of 350 on Saturday, which placed them sixth in a 13-school field at the St. Rita Invitational. Marist (340) was the highest finisher among local programs, as it took fourth.
Brother Rice (355) tied for seventh and St. Laurence (372) was 10th.
Sandburg split a pair of SouthWest Suburban Conference Blue matches last week, as it edged Lincoln-Way East 171-177 on Monday at Green Garden’s Blue course and then fell short by nine strokes (190-199) versus Lockport at Broken Arrow on Wednesday.
Frankie Saban was the match medalist at Green Garden after firing a 38.
Natalie Collina had a good week for Stagg, as she twice achieved medalist status while the Lady Chargers were in the process of notching a pair of SouthWest Suburban Conference crossover wins.
Collina actually shared medalist honors with Andrew’s Nora Chlum last Tuesday at Silver Lake as both girls shots 44 for nine holes, but Stagg slipped past the Lady Thunderbolts 176-178. Collina was the top golfer by herself on Thursday at the Sanctuary, where her 49 helped the Lady Chargers bag a 217-228 triumph.
The Lady Chargers placed seventh in the nine-team Oak Forest Invitational on Saturday, then dropped a 197-220 verdict to Lockport this past Monday. Despite Stagg’s loss, Collina again shone individually as she carded a 48 against the Lady Porters and became a match medalist once more.
Sandburg captured a pair of SouthWest Suburban Conference Blue victories last week, doing so by beating Bradley-Bourbonnais (7-0) and Lincoln-Way East (6-1) on Tuesday and Thursday, respectively. The Lady Eagles also competed in Saturday’s Lincoln-Way East Invitational, where they were runner-up to champion Homewood-Flossmoor by just five points.
The No. 1 doubles tandem of Allia Abunaim-Priya Sharma highlighted Sandburg’s triumph over Bradley, while first-singles player Molly Traverso and the doubles duo of Lauren Mitchell-Maddie Sheehan spearheaded the dual win over the Lady Griffins.
Chicago Christian dropped a pair of Suburban Christian Conference matches last week, as both Wheaton Academy (3-2) and Rosary (4-1) got the better of the Lady Knights.
Lisa Chionis and Grace Furlong gave Christian success at No. 1 singles on both Tuesday and Thursday.
Stagg defeated Rich Central 5-0 on Thursday behind singles wins from Jillian Atkenson (No. 1) and Serena George (No. 2).
Atkenson then went on to claim the second-singles title at Saturday’s Lincoln-Way East Invitational, outscoring her four foes by a 48-6 count in the process. The Lady Chargers were fifth in the tournament, but their 18 points were just two fewer than second-place Sandburg.
Shepard lost to Marist 4-1 at Saturday’s Eisenhower Quadrangular.
Shepard finished third at its own invitational on Saturday with 264 points, which left the Lady Astros behind Tinley Park (292) and Evergreen Park (285). Richards (199) was fifth in the nine-school meet.
Annie Rangel was a two-time event winner for Shepard as she set the pace in both the 200- and 500-yard freestyles (2:11.25 and 5:44.13, respectively). Becca Gleich gave the Lady Astros a third in the latter race with her 6:17.66 clocking, Joanna Rangel did the same in the 200 IM after touching out in 2:34.75, and Mary Lippert garnered a pair of thirds for Shepard.
Lippert’s high finishes were supplied in the 50- and 100-frees (27.83 and 1:00.89, respectively). A couple Lady Astros relay teams also fared well, as the 400-free quartet placed second and 200-medley foursome took third.
Evergreen’s Victoria Lambton matched Annie Rangel by being victorious twice, in the 50-free (26.74) and 100-free (59.05). Diver Dorothy Kalafut (158.05 points) also gave the Lady Mustangs a win, while their 200-free relay unit (2:11.65) was a runner-up.
Sam Gilhooley was third in the 100-backstroke (1:13.60).