For the first time in a decade, Sandburg’s boys’ swim program failed to capture a conference championship as it finished second to Stagg at Saturday’s SouthWest Suburban Conference Blue meet at Lockport.
But despite the broken streak, Eagles coach Jim Caliendo did not express any disappointment in his youthful team’s exhibition. Instead, he is looking forward to the forthcoming sectional and the future beyond that.
Senior Dean Boures captured the diving competition for Sandburg with a score of 392.25 points. Also in the victory mix were upperclassmen David Apps (200-yard individual medley and 100-butterfly) and Zach Roper (500 IM).
Equally noteworthy were the efforts of underclassmen who have been solid for Sandburg all season long: freshman Dylan Comiskey (100-breakstroke), sophomore Joshua Lang (100-breaststroke and 100-butterfly), and sophomore Kevin Stratton, who finished second in the 100-backstroke at conference.
“We were pleased with our performance on Saturday,” Caliendo said. “We have a young squad, [but] I felt throughout the whole season, and especially at the conference meet, that the kids competed hard. I’m proud of our young guys for dropping time.”
Caliendo has been especially pleased with the consistency and durability of Comiskey and Lang right from the first meet.
“Joshua and Dylan swam every varsity meet for us this season,” he said. “They just got better and better every meet.”
Caliendo said that Stratton is a very talented swimmer who is capable of making his mark this season.
“Kevin is a very high-quality swimmer,” he said. “He’s the best swimmer in the sophomore class, and I believe that he will probably qualify for state. All three of those young kids have done a great job for us.”
The strong infusion of youth has made for an enjoyable environment, as well as created optimism for the next couple of swim seasons.
“Our three seniors and three young underclassmen have really been the core of our team,” Caliendo said. “But overall we’re a very young team, and it’s been a lot of fun to watch these kids grow, compete and succeed. They’ve been through a very tough varsity schedule — there’s been a lot of nerves, and yet success
“I really like our freshman and sophomore group. I really believe in two years we’re going to be right back to where we want to be as a program. Our juniors are a little short on numbers, but they really need to do a good job of leadership next year, like our seniors have done this year.”
While Caliendo knows the youth movement is a process, he still believes the current squad can turn some heads.
“We’re definitely going to be better next year, and definitely two years down the road,” he said. “Hopefully, everybody is patient with the process and that it will work. Presently, I’m looking forward to a good finish for this team.”
Behind Zack Amendola, who was part of four winning events, Stagg captured seven races at Saturday’s SWSC meet to unseat Sandburg as conference champ. The Chargers amassed 267 1/2 points.
Amendola, a junior, took first in the 100-butterfly with a time of 53.04 seconds and added a title in the 100-backstroke (54.9) for Stagg, which just started competing in the SWSC Blue this year. Amendola also was a part of two triumphant relay units, along with the trio of Lucas Smiarowski, Harlan Long and Evan Johnson.
The quartet clocked a 1:39.73 and touched out first in the 200-medley relay, then set the pace in the 400-freestyle while timing out in 3:19.67. Stagg was first in the latter event by nearly seven seconds.
Smiarowski (2:00.02 in the 200 IM), Johnson (50.11 in the 100-freestyle) and Long (1:02.46 in the 100-breaststroke) each garnered one individual championship for the Chargers.
After capturing back-to-back regional titles in 2012 and 2013, Sandburg was defeated by Marist 256-210 at Saturday’s Shepard Team Regional. Due to a limit of one school advancing from the regional, only the RedHawks will compete in the Marist Sectional later this month.
The Eagles, who will be denied the opportunity to defend the second of their consecutive state team championships, received first-place finishes from John Pellegrino (145 pounds) and Hunter Pindel (195) at Shepard. Runner-up positions were secured by Louie Hayes (106), Kevin Stearns (113), Christian Robertson (126), Ben Schneider (138), Brian Krasowski (160) and Patrick Brucki (170).
Third places for Sandburg were earned by Colin Glascott (120), Moe Shuaibi (132), Tom Slattery (152), Matt Drozd (220) and Matt Frostman (285).
Stagg was fourth at the Shepard Regional with 100 points. No Charger claimed a title, but both Tyler Mackessy (152) and Mantas Druktenis (285) reached the championship round before being beaten.
Earning thirds were Noah Price (106), Dian Ivanov (16), Dennis Egan (170) and Ryan Slager (195), while Fernando Perez (126) and Ivan Fonseca (145) each took fourth.
Host Shepard wound up one spot behind Stagg in the regional standings. Jose Morales (132) and Jabari Jones (195) placed second to help the Astros acquire a chunk of their 66 total points.
Also scoring for Shepard were Christopher Jones (third at 182), Dan Lacey (fourth at 152) and Terrence Jones (fourth at 220).
Sandburg missed qualifying as a team for this weekend’s Morgan Park Sectional after falling 28 pins short of fourth-place Reavis at last Saturday’s Sandburg Regional, but the Lady Eagles did qualify three individual bowlers.
Elizabeth Fazy (eighth, 1,182 pins), Jessica Colson (ninth, 1,148) and Maddie Gowgiel (11th, 1,117) all advanced to the next round. Sandburg had a 27-pin lead over the Lady Rams heading into the final game, but Reavis outshot the Lady Eagles 871-817 to lock up the final team berth for the sectional.
Shepard’s Miranda Lindgren (10th, 1,134 pins) and Alyssa Petrishe (24th, 1,015) both advanced to this weekend’s Morgan Park Sectional. As a team, the Lady Astros placed 10th (4,432 pins) at Sandburg.
Chicago Christian (4,446) and Stagg (4,156) were ninth and 11th, respectively, at the Sandburg Regional.
Sandburg/Stagg co-op (123.275) finished fourth at last Tuesday’s Neuqua Valley Regional and also produced a state qualifier in Hannah Mussallem, who was second in the vault (9.275 points).
At Thursday’s Lincoln-Way Regional, Shepard’s Skylor Hilger won her second straight regional all-around title with a score of 36.25. She placed first in both the vault and floor exercise.