Chicago Sun-Times
By Pat Brozynski

February 2014 Archives

Bykowski leads list of local Academic All Americans

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minarick.jpg has announced its 2013 Academic All Americans, presented in five teams of eight including a "Highest Honorable Mention" category. The list features student-athletes who excel both on the court and in the classroom.

No Illinois player was named to the eight-man first team, but Stevenson's 5-foot-7 libero Peyton Bykowski, a Sun-Times top 50 selection and a two-time Defensive Dandy, was among the second team honorees.

Bykowski helped her team to a 65-11 record over the past two seasons and last fall amassed 381 digs, was second on the team with assists, led the team in serving percentage (95 percent) and had 35 aces. Academically, she is slotted in the top 95 percent of all ACT scores and has a 3.9 GPA.

Kimmy Martino, a 5-10 setter who led IC Catholic to the Class 2A state title last fall, was a third-team selection. Martino had 876 assists, 138 digs, 117 kills and 33 blocks for the Knights, while maintaining a 4.65 GPA on a 4.0 scale while earning seven department awards in math, science and English.

Two Illinois players were named to the fourth team - Waubonsie Valley setter Rachel Minarick and St. Francis libero Sam Dubiel. Minarick was a Sun-Times first team all-area selection who carries a 4.2 GPA and scored 32 on her ACT, while Dubiel has a weighted 4.57 GPA on a 4.0 scale.

Named to the fifth team were IC Catholic Prep's Delaney D'Amore (4.2 GPA, top 10 percent of her graduating class) and New Trier libero Emmy Friedler (weighted 4.9 GPA), while Abby Hickey (DeKalb), Ashley Hitchcock (Benet) and Madison Lord (DeKalb) were highest honorable mention choices.



Mt. Carmel's state scoring record-holder Tyra Buss was the lone unanimous selection as The Associated Press released its Class 1A and 2A Illinois all-state girls basketball teams as voted on by a panel of statewide sports writers and broadcasters.

Named to the Class 1A First Team were: Celina Van Hyfte, Annawan, 6-0, Sr.; Morgan Atherton, Century, 5-10, Sr.; Ryan Dooley, Mowequa Central A&M, 5-6, So.; Lexis Macomber, Lanark Eastland, 6-0, Jr.; and Ashley Schneider, Nokomis, 5-10, Jr.

Named to the Class 1A Second Team were: Cierra Davis, Annawan, 5-9, Sr.; Haley Darnell, Goreville, 5-6, Sr.; Grace Baalman, Hardin-Calhoun, 6-2, Fr.; Jaycee Cleaver, Dakota, 5-7, Jr.; and Addison Stoller, Cissna Park, 5-10, So.

Named honorable mention were: Megan Foes (Annawan, 5-8, Sr.), Allison Prestegaard (Ashton-Franklin Center, 6-3, Jr.), Megan Sullivan (Christian Liberty, 5-5, Sr.), Taylor Edwards (Arcola, 5-8, Jr.), Kristen Parsons (Wethersfield, 5-4, Sr.), Kylee Knox (Harvest Christian Academy, 5-6, Jr.), Danielle Pavlovich (Putnam County, 5-5, Sr.), Jeslyn Roat (Springfield Lutheran, 5-10, Sr.), Dani Lee (Pearl City, 6-0, Jr.), Rachel Colbert (Erie, 5-10, So.), Rachel Williams (Carrollton, 5-11, Jr.), Alina Lance (New Athens, 5-7, So.) and Emma Baalman (Hardin-Calhoun, 6-1, So.).

Named to the Class 2A First Team were: Tyra Buss, Mt. Carmel, 5-7, Sr.; Devin Curry, Watseka, 5-6, Sr.; Samantha Lambrigtsen, Oregon, 5-7, Sr.; Madeline Hartke, Teutopolis, 5-9, Sr.; and Tori McCoy, St. Thomas More, 6-4, So.

Named to the Class 2A Second Team were: Ellie Lehne, Byron, 6-2, Jr.; Sidney Smith, Carterville, 5-8, Sr.; Lexi Wallen, St. Thomas More, 6-0, Jr.; Maddie Timmerman, Breese Central, 5-10, Sr.; and Rebekah Ehresman, El Paso-Gridley, 5-6, Sr.

Named honorable mention were: Kendra Wilken (Breese Central, 6-1, So.), Jordi Harre (Nashville, 5-6, Jr.), Riley Strandgaard (Sherrard, 5-10, Sr.), Ali Ringering (Red Bud, 5-8, Sr.), Randa Harshbarger (St. Thomas More, 5-5, Sr.), Molly McGraw (Bloomington Central Catholic, 5-8, Sr.), Carlie Cuffle (Riverton, 5-11, Sr.), Corrie Reiley (Prophetstown, 5-2, Jr.), Torre Kohrmann (Breese Central, 5-6, Sr.), Madison Greeling (Piasa Southwestern, 5-6, So.), Ashley Ferrell (Harrisburg, 5-9, Sr.), Clare Kramer (Prophetstown, 5-8, Jr.) and Caitlyn Welch (Reed-Custer, 5-8, Sr.).


The Girls Catholic Athletic Conference (GCAC) has announced its 2014 Hall of Fame Inductees who will be honored on Sunday, March 23 at Monastero's Ristorante & Banquets located at 3935 W. Devon in Chicago.

Honorees include former Mother McAuley volleyball players Kathy Burns and Mary Coleman Hambly, former Good Counsel track star Jessica Forche, former Lourdes volleyball player and official Sheila Kendall, and former Mother Guerin basketball standout Lynette Krzyzewski.

Also, basketball official Eddie Palmer, former Mt. Assisi volleyball and track star Alexandra Steel Sallay, former Queen of Peace volleyball player Melissa Vandrey, and former McAuley and Mt. Assisi coach and athlete Karen Schissler Van Assen.

The ceremony will be held in conjunction with the 39th anniversary dinner of the formation of the GCAC. The keynote speaker will be Cook County Board president Toni Preckwinkle. Doors open at 3 p.m. with dinner at 4 p.m.

Tickets are $35.00 per person. Please make checks payable to: Girls Catholic Athletic Conference (GCAC). Mail payment to: Trinity High School c/o Rosaria Cicchetti, 7574 West Division St., River Forest, IL 60305.

Contact Rosaria Cicchetti, ticket coordinator at: or (708) 771-8383, ext. 303. For more information, contact June VerSchave, GCAC vice president and Hall of Fame coordinator, at or (630) 257-7358.


Benedictine University will host a Spring Break Volleyball Camp for boys and girls in grades K-8 from March 31-April 3. The cost is $65. For more information, contact Benedictine University head volleyball coach Jen Wildes at


Naperville North is looking for a freshman boys team to join its tournament on Saturday, May 17. Each team will be guaranteed five matches. Email Naperville North head coach Nate Bornancin at if interested.

IHSA quietly drops another bombshell (and the ball)

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d'amore.jpgToo much success can be a bad thing for schools like Immaculate Conception, which would never have won the Class 2A title this fall had it advanced to the state semifinals twice during the previous fours years under the IHSA's new Success Advancement policy.

How many times have you heard this?

"The IHSA isn't about getting the best teams downstate. It's about geographic representation."

No you can add this codicil.

"The IHSA isn't about getting the best teams downstate. It's about geographic representation. And making sure teams don't win too much. Unless they're the right teams."

Lost Wednesday in the brouhaha over Homewood-Flossmoor's exile from the state girls basketball tournament was an even more damning move by the IHSA Board of Directors. The board approved a recommendation to amend Board Policy 17, specifically related to the non-boundaried school multiplier waiver.

The change, which take effect in the 2014-15 school year, establishes a point system to determine whether a school is eligible for a multiplier waiver, while also adding a Success Advancement step that will move schools who reach certain thresholds up in classification.

The formula, which is as arbitrary as the IHSA, seeks to penalize non-boundary (read: private) schools that have a little too much success in state tournaments. Win a regional? Get a point. Win a sectional? Get two points. Earn four points in four years? Loser your waiver eligibility.

Qualify for the state finals once in four years? Lose your eligibility for a waiver.

Qualify for the state finals twice in four years? Move up a class.

St. Francis volleyball, say "Hello Molly" to Class 4A (Somewhere, an "Angel" is smiling).

Keith Country Day? "I-man up" and say hello to Class 2A.

Incidentally, if the Success Advancement step applied to boundaried schools as well, Deer Creek-Mackinaw would be forced to play in 3A next year after making back-to-back appearances in the Class 2A state volleyball championship match.

But of course, that's not going to happen.

New Trier would be playing in Class 5A. Wait, there is no Class 5A in volleyball. At least, not now there isn't.

Imagine this volleyball scenario....St. Francis moves up to Class 4A. Benet or Plainfield North or Naperville North or somebody else gets in the way for a couple of years. The Spartans go nowhere (OK, it's a dream, but stay with me).

Meanwhile, Joliet Catholic, free from St. Francis, starts tearing up 3A. After a couple years, they go up. Meanwhile, St. Francis comes down. JCA then starts running into McAuley, Marist or Sandburg (oh, my). St. Francis, meanwhile, goes back to dominating 3A.

St. Francis, up. JCA, down. JCA, up. St. Francis, down. How many years of that do you think the IHSA will stand before they come up with another rule?

The Success Advancement step in football is even more damning. You may as well call it the "Montini Amendment." Or if that other school was still around, you could call it the "Driscoll Declaration."

If you participated in two championship games over the last four years, you move up a class. Beginning in 2015, if you participated in three championship games in four years, you move up two classes. Then in 2016, if you participated in four championship games in four years, you move up three classes.

I can't wait for that Montini vs. Mt. Carmel Class 8A final!

Reaction around the state has been swift.

Here are some samples from one of my favorite sports forums monitored by the Peoria Journal Star.

"It's very sad but it's obvious the point of the change was to punish the private schools who have had some success at the state level recently, to the advantage of public HS's. The Rochester FB Coach is on the record as saying last June that he had heard from his sources it was a done deal. Therefore (IHSA executive director Marty) Hickman's committee was a rubber stamp."

"Multiplier is fine. This is stupid just separate the public and private school playoffs and have done with it."

"Once you get the privates out of your way, the people pushing this stuff will then turn their focus to public schools that are consistent winners like Rochester in football. If you think they are going to anymore satisfied losing every year to the same public school, you are going to sadly disappointed. Right now they have a private school boogey man they can blame for their lack of success. Once that is gone, it won't take them long to find another scapegoat."

"Is there another organization you can think of that has different rules for different members? I feel they have lost sight of their real responsibility which is maintain a structure for competition between members and have become an agency more concerned with handicapping those who are successful. If it keeps up pretty soon the fastest sprinters in the race will be required to wear weighted vests so that those who don't work as hard or have as much natural talent will have a chance to win!"

"I think it's time for the IHSA to go away. For at least the last 7-10 years, they've been more of a hinderance to HS sports in the state than a help. If the IHSA wants to manage a recreation sports league for the state, fine. But that's not what most competitive HS's need or want in a sports league."

And my favorite...

"Canada 3 USA 2....So....we need to start "success taxing" Canada now?"

In case you want to write your "congressman," the committee members who recommended the new rule were: Brian Brooks, Principal, St. Joseph-Ogden; Jim Dunnan, Principal, Washington; Pat Elder, Athletic Director/Football Coach, Richmond-Burton; Jeff Faulkenberg, Athletic Director, Triad; Mark Grounds, Football Coach, Jacksonville; Mark Kuehl, Principal, Lena-Winslow; Becky Moran, Athletic Director, Zion-Benton; Randy Moss, Athletic Director, Monticello; Mike Pappocia, Athletic Director/Football Coach, Newman Central Catholic; Jim Prunty, Athletic Director, St. Ignatius; Jim Quaid, Principal, Gordon Tech; Eric Regez, Baseball Coach, Herscher; David Ribbens, Athletic Director, Chicago University; Ken Turner, Football Coach, Belleville Althoff Catholic; and Lisa Wunar, Athletic Director, Hillcrest.


Benedictine University will host a Spring Break Volleyball Camp for boys and girls in grades K-8 from March 31-April 3. The cost is $65. For more information, contact Benedictine University head volleyball coach Jen Wildes at


Naperville North is looking for a freshman boys team to join its tournament on Saturday, May 17. Each team will be guaranteed five matches. Email Naperville North head coach Nate Bornancin at if interested.

minarick.jpg(Left) Waubonsie Valley's Rachel Minarick

One hundred fifty players from 40 states have been recognized as 2013 All Americans, including six from Illinois.

The players from Illinois include junior Ryann DeJarld of Mother McAuley, Ali Frantti of Richmond-Burton, sophomore Molly Haggerty of St. Francis, Courtney Joyce of Mother McAuley, Rachel Minarick of Waubonsie Valley and Taylor Tashima of New Trier.

Named highest honorable mention from Illinois were Sam Dubiel of St. Francis and Kimmy Martino of Immaculate Conception. High honorable mention selections included Kelli Bates of Bradley, Maddie Haggerty of St. Francis, Adeja Lambert of Keith Country Day and Caroline Wolf of Benet.

Special mention honorees included junior Lauren Anderson of Deer Creek-Mackinaw, Caroline Holt of Bloomington Central Catholic, Taylor Krage of St. Charles North, junior Sami Knight of Sandburg, freshman Grace Loberg of Geneva, junior Iman McGary of Keith Country Day and Maddie Timmerman of Breese Central.


Geneva's 6-foot-2 outside hitter Grace Loberg was the only Illinois selection among's list of the nation's most outstanding varsity-playing volleyball freshmen for the 2013 season.

A unanimous all-conference pick, Loberg led Class 4A supersectional qualifier Geneva in kills (312) and also was a standout defensively both at the net and in the back row, with 68 blocks and 179 digs. "We've never had a freshman make an impact like that," Geneva coach K.C. Johnsen said.

Loberg's teammate, 6-1 rightside Ally Barrett, was named to the highest honorable mention list, where she was joined by Rosary libero Martha Konovodoff, Stewardson-Strasburg's Becca Schlechte and Ashley Shook of Plainfield Central.

Special mention honorees include Kamryn Malloy of St. Francis, Kelly Metter of Columbia and Morgan O'Brien of Libertyville. Honorable mention selections include Erin Burke of Rosary, Callie Fauntleroy of New Trier, Sara Neilson of Benet and Mikayla Robinson of Harvest Christian Academy.


The Great Lakes Volleyball Center in Aurora will host the 2014 President's Day Tournament Saturday-Monday, February 15-17 at a number of locations in the western and far northwest suburbs.

The Great Lakes Center will host the 18 Open and Club divisions, the Schaumburg Convention Center will host the 17 Open and Club and 16 Open divisions, and the Rosemont Sports Dome will host the 15 Open and Club and 16 Club divisions.

Participating clubs include: 1st Alliance, A5, Asics KIVA, Club Kace, Dead Frog Far Out , Dunes, Fusion, Fort Wayne, Illini Elite, Michigan Elite, Michio Chicago, Milwaukee Sting, Premier, Powerhouse, Rolling Thunder, Sky High, Sports Performance, The Edge, Ultimate, UNO and Wisconsin Juniors.

Play begins at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday with pool play and resumes Sunday at 8:00 a.m. with gold, silver and bronze pool play and other consolation flights. The tournament concludes Monday.

As the tournament progresses, team information can be found at:


Here's how I voted in this week's AP Illinois Girls Basketball polls:

Class 4A

1. Homewood-Flossmoor
2. Whitney Young
3. Marian Catholic
4. Rolling Meadows
5. Fremd
6. New Trier
7. Neuqua Valley
8. Wheaton Warrenville South
9. Trinity
10. Edwardsville

Class 3A

1. Montini
2. Joliet Catholic
3. Quincy Notre Dame
4. Springfield
5. Morton
6. Washington
7. Normal University
8. Morgan Park
9. Bishop McNamara
10. Vernon Hills

Here's how the rest of the state voted:


(first-place votes, record, points, previous)

1. Homewood-Flossmoor (10) 18-2 109 1
2. Young (1) 24-3 100 2
3. Rolling Meadows 23-3 87 3
4. Edwardsville 22-1 67 4
5. Wheaton South 23-3 65 5
6. Marian Catholic 19-4 55 6
7. Fremd 23-3 51 7
8. Neuqua Valley 22-5 34 8
9. New Trier 22-2 20 10
10. Oak Lawn 22-1 4 NR
(tie) Trinity 20-5 4 9

Others receiving votes: Bolingbrook 2, Mother McAuley 2, Huntley 1, Bradley-Bourbonnais 1, Rock Island 1, Hersey 1, Belleville West 1.

Class 3A

(first-place votes, record, points, previous)

1. Montini (13) 26-2 139 1
2. Joliet Catholic (1) 22-1 126 2
3. Quincy Notre Dame 23-3 105 3
4. Springfield 24-1 101 4
5. Morton 23-3 82 5
6. Washington. 20-3 53 8
7. Morgan Park 18-4 42 6
8. Normal U-High 20-3 37 9
9. Hillcrest 18-5 25 NR
10. Bishop McNamara 18-5 21 7

Others receiving votes: Vernon Hills 17, Champaign Centennial 9, Burlington Central 5, Mendota 4, Richwoods 3, Rochester 1.

(Below) Aysia Bugg of Bolingbrook, which is among the teams receiving votes in this week's Associated Press Class 4A Girls Basketball Poll.

Thumbnail image for bugg.jpg


Former Naperville Central star Dan Buehring has been named head coach of the Benedictine University men's volleyball team which will begin play during the 2014-2015 season, the school announced Wednesday.

"We are thrilled to welcome Dan to the staff," Benedictine University Director of Athletics Mark McHorney said. "Dan will bring a great deal of knowledge and energy to the program and will have the opportunity to establish the culture of men's volleyball at Benedictine."

A 2004 graduate of Naperville Central who was a sophomore on the top-ranked Redhawks' team that was upset by Marist in the quarterfinals of the state tournament in 2002, Buehring had been serving as an assistant coach for the Loyola University women's team.

Buehring redshirted his freshman year at Ball State before transferring to California Baptist University in Riverside, where he earned a business degree. He earned a master's degree in education at the University of Illinois Chicago, where he spent three years on the Flames' coaching staff.

A professionally ranked beach volleyball player, Buehring teamed with former Wheaton Warrenville South standout and Lewis assistant coach Matt McCarthy to finish second last summer at the Bradford Beach Volleyball Association Open.

"It is an honor to have this opportunity to start the Benedictine University's men's volleyball program from the ground up," Buehring said. "I look forward to this exciting challenge and think it will be great for Benedictine University, the athletic department and the young men who join our program.

"Being in the middle of one of the nation's best prep bases, along with a great education, first-class facilities and support, I think we can accomplish a lot of great things in the coming years," he added.

Men's volleyball becomes the 20th NCAA Division III sport offered by Benedictine, which with the addition of men's volleyball now offers 10 men's and 10 women's sports. Men's and women's lacrosse began play in the spring of 2013.

Benedictine becomes the third area Division III school to add men's volleyball recently. Dominican University will begin play this spring and North Central College in Naperville announced that it would add men's volleyball in 2016.

Benedictine also becomes the third member of the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference (NACC) to offer men's volleyball, joining the Milwaukee School of Engineering, which has been sponsoring the sport for several years, and Dominican.

Currently, seven other Illinois schools offer men's volleyball at various levels. Last spring, 61 schools throughout the country competed at the NCAA Division III level.

"This is a tremendous opportunity for our University," McHorney said. "We feel that there is amazing potential for growth in this sport and we want to capitalize on the incredible talent of student-athletes in the Chicago metropolitan area."

Men's volleyball at Benedictine will participate as an independent for the 2014-15 season.


Registration for the 2014 AVCA Spring Conference is underway. The conference, now in its seventh year, is scheduled for May 1-3 in Chicago at the Doubletree by Hilton Chicago North Shore Conference Center and Evanston Township High School.

The event is in conjunction with the NCAA Division I-II Men's Volleyball National Championship at Loyola University.

The AVCA Spring Conference will feature:

• On-court and classroom presentations from the best college, high school and club coaches from the men's and women's side of the game.

• Networking receptions to socialize with peers and top coaches in the sport.

• Access to the NCAA Men's Division I-II National Championships.

• Rise and shine "Sweatworking" group exercise classes to get an energizing start to the day for conference attendees.

Registration options for Illinois high school coaches Includes:

Early Bird - Full Registration (Includes IHSVCA and AVCA membership) $199.

Early Bird - Saturday Only (Includes IHSVCA and AVCA membership) $99.

Non-Coach Family Member/Spouse/Partner Pass (Includes access to Friday and Saturday night social functions only. Per NCAA recruiting rules, prospect age children are not eligible for this pass.) $25.

NCAA Match Tickets - Full Session (Includes both Thursday night semifinal matches and Saturday night championship match) $35.

The AVCA has a room block at the Doubletree by Hilton Chicago North Shore Conference Center. In addition to serving as the Spring Conference headquarters hotel, the Doubletree will serve as host for the Thursday and Friday education sessions and the Friday evening networking reception.

The AVCA has negotiated a $129/night (plus tax) rate for single and double occupancy. The hotels offers complimentary parking and complimentary internet in all guest rooms. Registrants can book their rooms online or call (847) 679-7000. Use the code AVC.

For more information on the 2014 AVCA Spring Conference, visit For more information, email or call (866) 544-2822.


PKG_6651[1].jpgNajee Smith and Neuqua Valley weather dozens of fouls and an ejection to defeat South Elgin for the second time in a week and solidy their hold on a top 10 berth in this week's AP rankings. (Sun-Times photo by Patrick Gleason)

Here's how I voted in this week's Associated Press Illinois girls basketball polls:

Class 4A

1. Homewood-Flossmoor
2. Whitney Young
3. Marian Catholic
4. Rolling Meadows
5. Fremd
6. New Trier
7. Neuqua Valley
8, Trinity
9. Wheaton Warrenville South
10. Edwardsville

Class 3A

1. Montini
2. Joliet Catholic
3. Morgan Park
4. Quincy Notre Dame
5. Springfield
6. Morton
7. Bishop McNamara
8. Washington
9. Normal University
10. Vernon Hills

This is how the rest of the state saw it:

Class 4A

(first-place votes, record, total votes, last week's rank)

1. Homewood-Flossmoor (10) 17-2 100 1
2. Whitney Young (1) 21-3 99 2
3. Rolling Meadows 21-3 89 3
4. Edwardsville 19-1 64 5
5. Wheaton Warrenville South 20-3 59 7
6. Marian Catholic 17-4 58 6
7. Fremd 20-3 56 4
8. Neuqua Valley 21-5 32 9
9. Trinity 19-4 20 10
10. New Trier 20-2 18 8

Others receiving votes: Geneva 2. Bolingbrook 2. Rock Island 2. Huntley 2. Bradley-Bourbonnais 1. Mount Prospect 1.

Class 3A

(first-place votes, record, total votes, last week's rank)

1. Montini (12) 23-2 129 1
2. Joliet Catholic 21-1 114 2
3. Quincy Notre Dame (1) 22-2 100 3
4. Springfield 21-1 94 4
5. Morton 22-3 75 5
6. Morgan Park 17-3 63 6
7. Bishop McNamara 17-3 37 8
8. Washington 17-3 28 7
9. Normal University 19-3 21 9
10. Vernon Hills 17-5 10 NR

Others receiving votes: Fairbury Prairie Central 9. Hillcrest 8. Champaign Centennial 7. Effingham 6. Burlington Central 5. Rochester 3. Mendota 3. Peoria Richwoods 2. Coal City 1.

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