By Phil Brozynski
Who are they kidding?
The Illinois High School Association released the list of sectional assignments for boys volleyball last week, and if there ever was a miscarriage of justice, this was it.
The Willowbrook sectional reads like a who's who of boys state powers including defending state champion Wheaton Warrenville South, Glenbard East, Hinsdale Central, Lyons, Benet, Naperville Central, Naperville North, Downers Grove South and St. Francis.
That's nine teams that in any given year that are capable of winning a state title fighting for one quarterfinal berth.
Meanwhile, the Elgin sectional has Addison Trail and Bartlett, Maine South has New Trier and Maine South, Highland Park has Buffalo Grove and Vernon Hills, T.F. North has Marist and Sandburg, and St. Rita has Brother Rice and St. Rita.
St. Ignatius has Oak Park and St. Patrick, and Oswego East has Neuqua Valley and nine downstate schools.
No sectional other than Willowbrook has more than two teams likely to be ranked in the top 10, and most only have one. A couple have none.
Early prediction? The winner of the Willowbrook sectional, which figures to be either Wheaton South or Glenbard East, should win state. Realistically, Marist (coached by former Sandburg great Bob St. Ledger) and Sandburg are all that could stand in the way.
But it's early.
Ten Illinois players were named All-American by Prepvolleyball.com.
"To be a high school All-American, you must have made a massive impact on your high school team," said John Tawa of Prepvolleyball.com. "You must be one of the top three-to-five players in your state regardless of class unless you are from hotbeds like California, Texas, Indiana and Illinois, where you must be among the 10 best players."
Representing Illinois on the All-American team are Des Aramburu of Mother McAuley, Kayla Fitterer of Edwardsville, Annemarie Hickey of Joliet Catholic, and Laura Homann of St. Charles East.
Also, Jessica Jendryk and Ariana Mankus of Benet, Emily McGee of Naperville Central, Angela Rego of Metamora, Carly Thomas of Belleville Althoff, and Hannah Werth of Chatham Glenwood.
Named to the Highest Honorable Mention team were Andrea Bolt of Freeburg, Courtney Cunningham of (Chicago) Payton, Stephanie Holthus of Burlington Central, Amanda Peterson of Glenbard East, Kelsey Robinson of St. Francis, Laura Thole of Breese Mater Dei and Gina Vera of Joliet Catholic.