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Bowling ball Scandal strikes at state

  • Written by Anthony Nasella

PAGE 1 QUINN Shaun 2015 State

After two years of narrowly missing the cut to advance to the IHSA State Individual bowling finals, Evergreen Park junior Shaun Quinn finally got his shot at this past weekend’s state meet O’Fallon and finished 15th.

But he almost missed a chance to compete on the second day thanks to a bowling ball controversy.

IHSA officials at first would not allow him to use his Scandal bowling ball, made by Hammer and he rolled a 603 series using an alternate ball. After the apparent miscommunication was sorted out by IHSA officials, the lefty would use the Scandal to shoot a 698 in the afternoon session.

He finished 51st on the first day, which was good enough to move on and then he heated up at St. Clair Bowl on Saturday to finish 15th.

“The first day was rough because there was a question about my ball being illegal,” Quinn said. “Thankfully, the ball was finally cleared and I was able to throw it in the afternoon. I came out fresh and kept connecting on shot after shot. I just moved on from there and hoped for the best.

“With a 1,301 [six-game] series, I wasn’t sure if that was going to enough advance to next day given the incredible competition. Thankfully I advanced and I was able to use my ball all day on Saturday.”

And Saturday was when Quinn really shined, rolling a 235 and 268 during a 723 series in the morning session and starting the afternoon with a 278 before cooling off with a 219 and 203 to close out the tournament with a 2,724 in 12 games.  That total  was just nine pins less than the amazing effort turned in four years ago by Sandburg’s Joey Kopera, who won the individual state title in 2012.

“I came out ready and was confident with the ball I wanted to use from the first day,” Quinn said. “The 723 in the first session definitely boosted my confidence going into the afternoon. The 278 was a great start, but then I struggled with carry in the final two games.

“At the end of the day, I can’t be mad at myself for any letdown because I battled back and came up in the top 20. So there’s really nothing to complain about. I can’t wait for the chance to get back to state.”

Stevenson junior Zach Singer reigned as the 2016 individual champion with a staggering 2,899 pins for a 241.6 average.

Evergreen Park coach Ron Pula said he was proud of Quinn’s ability to not only adjust to the early distraction but then rise above it and post upper-tier scores the rest of the way.

“Shaun did a great job bouncing back Friday afternoon,” Pula said. “I thought, at first, he missed the cut. After missing the cut for state by 14 and 18 pins the past two years, I challenged him to show everybody who he is that he belongs at state. He demonstrated that on Friday.

“And he really showed that he belong there the way he bowled on Saturday. He just kept chipping away and kept moving up. I’m as proud of him as you can believe.”

Sandburg rolled a 12,915 and placed sixth, which is the best finish in school history for the Eagles. The Eagles entered the second day in 10th place.

Sandburg junior Tommy Hayes finished 30th with a 221 average and 2,652 pins. Freshman teammate Cameron Crowe, a conference, regional and sectional champ, placed 39th with a 218.2 average and 2,618 pins, and fellow Eagle Danny Griskell was 43rd with a 217 average and 2,612 pins.  

Stagg junior Sean Murray, who started the state finals with a 289 game to lead the field after the first game, finished 40th with a 217.9 average and 2,615 pins. Also, junior Juan Escamilla of St. Laurence averaged 212.2 with 2,546 pins, which was good for 59th place.

For Quinn, his finish continues a trend of local bowlers competing at a high level in O’Fallon. Oak Lawn’s Ryan Kirby placed 12th last season and 13th in 2012-13. Marist’s Pete Switalkski finished in 11th in 2012-13.

A former Marist bowler, Joshuan Glover, captured the state championship for Lincoln-Way West in 2013-14 with an amazing 247.3 average and 2,967 pins.

After two years of narrowly missing the cut to advance to the IHSA State Individual bowling finals, Evergreen Park junior Shaun Quinn finally got his shot at this past weekend’s state meet O’Fallon and finished 15

Jeff Vorva's Extra Point: Toasted in Orland, roasted in Denver

  • Written by Jeff Vorva

 

Columnsig924

Page 1 Bronco Schofield

This is what Sandburg High School Athletic Director Mark Krusz has to say about Eagles alum Michael Schofield, who is playing in the Super Bowl for Denver on Sunday:

“I gotta tell you, what a great experience this is for the village of Orland Park and Sandburg to share in. He’s such a humble kid from a great family. We’re all very excited about this.’’

This is what Devner area writer Kyle Montgomery said about Schofield in his Mile High blog:

“To call Denver Broncos right tackle Michael Schofield ‘embattled’ would be an understatement. ‘Maligned’ doesn't quite do it either. The guy is the least popular Bronco in the Peyton Manning era.’’

This is what new Sandburg football coach Scott Peters – who coached Schofield when the kid played on both the offense and defensive lines for the Eagles -- said:

“It’s awesome to know someone who is playing at this level. We’re really excited to see Mike do great things. I would like nothing more for him to come back and talk to our kids with a Super Bowl ring this summer. He’s a great kid and we’re super excited and super pumped for Mike.’’

This is what Denver Post columnist Troy Renk said about Schofield before a playoff game against Pittsburgh:

“Be warned Broncos fans. Michael Schofield might start at right tackle Sunday. If that news requires medication, meditation or amnesia, plan accordingly.

“The idea of Schofield even playing strained credulity after Tyler Polumbus replaced him in the season finale victory over San Diego. Polumbus entered the game in the third quarter at the same time as Peyton Manning. Both had success.

Schofield and Polumbus will see snaps against Pittsburgh. Why would the Broncos risk using the slumping Schofield?”

Schofield is the toast Orland Park but has gotten roasted in Denver.

Welcome to the world of professional sports.

It’s a tough business. And in the past, I had column when I covered the pros and I will admit I could be as rough on some players and teams as Renk and Montgomery were on our local hero. So I am not jumping on them as being the bad guys.

Denver is about a thousand miles away from Orland Park on the map and about a million miles away when it comes to the subject of Michael Schofield.

A lot of people around here see him as the kid who starred for the Eagles and University of Michigan and is now a part of the biggest game in the world. Others admire him for being humble and quiet and a kid who comes back home and talks to Sandburg kids in the weight room and still gives speeches to kids and adults about the evils of heroin and other drugs.

A lot of people around Denver blame him for getting quarterbacks Manning and Brock Osweiler clobbered during games. After a couple of bad games toward the end of the season, Schofield was pulled in the middle of the final regular season game of the year.

It was a low point.

His father, also named Michael and the acting Orland Fire Protection District chief, was in his son’s corner his whole life and he admits it wasn’t easy to read and hear criticism of his flesh and blood.

“The criticism is tough on any parent,” he said. “You know how hard he worked to get where he is at. You saw how he performed against Green Bay, the Bears, the Patriots the first time and the Steelers the first time.  He had some of his best games against the best teams in the country and you have one real bad game and I think the talk on ESPN and the papers affected him. As a young kid, how could it not?’’

Schofield played well against Pittsburgh and well enough against New England in the playoffs to get to Sunday’s game against Carolina and few people are scrutinizing his game right now.

“He came right back,” the elder Schofield said. “The websites are a lot nicer to him now after the last two games. And the team rallied around him.

“A lot of the issues were that he was a new offensive tackle and his best games were with Peyton. Now Brock comes in [after Manning was injured] and it’s a different game. Brock holds the ball longer and Michael had three sub-par games. He played the top defensive players in the country and there was a change in the offense. Now that Payton is back in, he is playing the way he did before.’’

Like umpires in baseball, offensive linemen’s success is determined by people NOT noticing them. You do your job and do it quietly. You screw up and…well…your quarterback gets splattered and you get the blame.

Not to be a cheerleader here, but I’m hoping for a nice, quiet Sunday afternoon for Schofield.

Then, maybe the critics from Denver will get closer to sharing the people of Orland Park’s feelings about him.

Jeff Vorva's Extra Point: The Jaylin Fleming story is not over yet

  • Written by Jeff Vorva

Columnsig924

PAGE 2 JAYLIN with JV COL

 Photo by Jeff Vorva

Before he even hit seventh grade, Mt. Carmel sophomore Jaylin Fleming was making a movie and was a guest on George Lopez’s show twice.

Jaylin Fleming is not completely forgotten.

He’s not under the glare of the spotlight any more but the sophomore basketball player from Mt. Carmel will still hear about his glorious past a half decade ago, although maybe not in the most flattering of fashion.

A couple of Fridays ago, Mt. Carmel played at Brother Rice in a huge showdown in the Catholic League South and before the game, Fleming warmed up and took a few dribbles toward the Brother Rice student section – the Crusader Crazies.

“Hey, 23, you suck,” a Crazie said to Fleming.

I thought maybe Fleming’s legacy was truly forgotten. He was reduced to just being a number.

But later on another told him “Hey Jaylin, you’re washed up.’’ Another said “You peaked in eighth grade.” And during the game when he was running the offense and had the ball, the group as a whole chanted “Over-rated’’ until he distributed the ball to a teammate.

Ah, yes, they did remember.

Way back in March, 2010, Fleming was branded the best fifth grader in the nation and then in 2011 the best sixth grader in the nation by Middleschoolelite.com. His story was told on the front page of the Chicago Tribune and it snowballed into a nice slice of fun for a while.

He helped lead his team, Beasley, to a city championship in Chicago.  The basketball coach at that school compared Fleming to a former Beasley player he coached – Derrick Rose.

Fleming appeared on national TV on George Lopez’s “Lopez Tonight” and he even got to dribble around with former NBA star Reggie Miller during one episode.

At 5-foot-4 and barely in triple figures in the weight department, this smiling dribbling and shooting wizard was fun to watch.

The kid even appeared in a McDonald’s commercial and a movie. In the film “Dreams,” he played an athlete and the movie centered around the relationship with his father.

Speaking of his father, his real father, John, took some criticism for opening his son up to the world too much. Maybe he deserved the criticism, maybe not.

Back then, life was special for Fleming.

The last couple of years have shown he was not the best seventh grader, eighth grader, freshman or sophomore in the country. Not only did the TV appearances dry up, it was hard to Google his name and find anything about him after sixth grade.

He attended St. Rita his freshman year and is now at Mt. Carmel this year. The 6-1 point guard is not yet looked at to be the Caravan’s big-gun scorer but he has some nice moves and is able to run the show for a team that was unbeaten through five games in a pretty strong hoops conference.

When I think about the Fleming story so far, I am torn.

On one hand, calling a kid the best fifth or sixth grader in the country is asinine. There is no possible way to quantify that. You are only setting the kid up for a letdown. People who do that should receive a near-lethal electric shock from their keyboards when they type in that garbage.

On the other hand, it allowed Fleming some fame that few kids his age will ever enjoy. TV and movie appearances are pretty darn rare when you are nine and 10. He seemed to have fun with it. He even joined Triple Threat Mentoring and helped lead basketball camps with lessons on skills and life.

With everyone whining about kids getting in trouble and athletes being selfish jerks, Fleming was doing some good things with his newfound celebrity.

The bottom line is that if Fleming didn’t have that past hype, people would now be looking at him as an emerging sophomore playing on a talented team with a pretty high ceiling. Now, some look at him as a disappointment and failure and it the target of some heckles.

People had this kid in the NBA before he turned 10.

I am not saying he won’t make the NBA but right now, I can’t see it.

I do see him playing college ball somewhere. Possibly Division I. And depending on which study you want to believe, there are about 8 million kids playing high school sports and six or seven percent play college sports and two percent are elite enough to play NCAA Division I sports.

That’s pretty rare in itself.

And let’s say pro basketball doesn’t work out for the kid, if he gets a great education and already has movies and television appearances on his resume’, that sure beats a sheet in which delivering pizzas is the most impressive work experience.

The Jaylin Fleming story is far from over.

It may not turn out like some people thought five years ago, but it still could have a nice ending.

Fire GM says past suspension of new player was an "unfortunate decision''

  • Written by Jeff Vorva

Page 2 Rodriguez

 

Photo by Jeff Vorva

Fire general manager Nelson Rodriguez vouched for the character of recently signed Joao Meira, who served an eight-month suspension for failing a drug test in Portugal.

One of the first fires the Chicago Fire’s new general manager, Nelson Rodriguez, had to put out on the first day of practice involved one of his newest acquisitions, Joao Meira.

Meira, a top player in Portugal, btings some baggage with him in the form of an eight-month suspension in 2012 for failing a drug test in 2011. The Fire signed the defender/midfielder on Saturday and on Monday Rodriguez vouched for his new player.

“We spoke with the player about it at length,” Rodriguez said. “We spoke to the Portuguese [Football Federation’s] disciplinary committee who rendered the decision. We shared all the information with the league office prior to signing the player to make sure there was an extreme comfort level.

“We believe that the player made an unfortunate decision. It was not a recreational drug and it was not a performance-enhancing drug. He took an over-the-counter supplement that had an ingredient that was on the banned list. It came from the U.S. and on the translation to Portuguese, it was not translated correctly. He even asked his team doctor if he could take that medicine and he was given the OK.’’

The team opened practice Monday at the PrivateBank Fire Pitch in Chicago but Meira is not yet with the team.

“It’s an unfortunate mistake and one that he is repentant about,” Rodriguez said. “But this is something we fully investigated. We’re very comfortable with Joao’s character. He understands the drug testing process of Major League Soccer.’’

On the same day of the Meira signing, the team also re-signed midfielder Razvan Cocis. Both players inked one-year deals with club options for 2017.

 Ch-ch-ch-changes

With a new general manager, head coach and assistant coaches in place and several new players on the roster, there is a whole new feeling in camp.

Midfielder Harry Shipp is the player on the roster with the second-longest tenure of two years behind goalie Sean Johnson (six years).

“It’s going to be my third year but I feel like I am starting over as a rookie,” Shipp said. “We’re starting from scratch with a new coaching staff and everything is pretty new. It’s a fresh start that I needed, personally and everyone who is sticking around needed.’’

The past two seasons, the Fire went 6-10-18 and 8-20-6, costing coach Frank Yallop his job. Enter new coach Veljko Paunovic, a 38-year-old Serbian player who spent a good chunk of his career in Spain.

Shipp noticed right away the new coach is detail oriented.

“Every minute of our first session was planned out,’’ Shipp said. “That’s something that is a change from last year. As players, it helps get your mind set on what you are going to be doing. He is youthful but in a smart way. It’s not just crazy energy running around. It’s applying a focus toward a few key points every day.

“We have our six weeks mapped out on what we want to accomplish and we know what the end goal is six weeks from now.’’

The new coach said players appreciate the detailed approach.

“They are very receptive and they want to learn,’’ he said. “I’m very grateful for that. We are teaching a style of play from the global perspective. They have to be very focused and willing to learn.’’

Fire fan now on team

Cary native Drew Connor is with the team and he has been a fan from way back.

“I was going to games when the Fire played in Soldier Field,” he said. “My family took me when I was real little. I grew up a Fire fan. I even went to a few games when they played a year at North Central College.’’

He said he played scrimmages at Toyota Park a handful of times.

Red Stars make trade

The Chicago Red Stars acquired midfielder Amanda Da Costa and a natural fourth-round pick in the 2017 NWSL College Draft from the Washington Spirit on Monday. In exchange for Da Costa and the draft pick, the Spirit will receive a player to be named later from the Red Stars.

Da Costa, 26, spent one season with Washington where she appeared in 17 games, tallying three goals. Before her time in the NWSL, Da Costa spent two years playing overseas with Liverpool Ladies in the FA Women’s Super League, where she helped lead the team to back-to-back championships and claim its first appearance in the UEFA Champions League.

“I am very excited to add Amanda to our group,” said coach Rory Dames. “Besides being a terrific person, Amanda possesses the qualities we were looking for to fill our attacking midfielder role. We are excited to see what she is capable for once she has some time to work with our front line. She also knows what it takes to win a league championship as she showed in England. She is the perfect fit for what we need in this season.”

The Florida State University All-American will join forces with former college teammate Casey Short for the 2016 season.

Jeff Vorva's Extra Point: Hey mom and pop, learn the concept of commitment

  • Written by Jeff Vorva

 

Columnsig924

Boys and girls and (especially) moms and dads, let’s talk about the c-word.

No, not cancer or one of the worst expletives out there, I am talking about the word “commitment.’’

If you drive east on 111th, the street will turn into West Monterey and you will pass this big school with a tiny gym – Morgan Park.

For years, the Morgan Park/Simeon basketball game that was supposed to be at MP was moved elsewhere so that more people could watch it. The Mustangs’ gym supposedly holds just 250, but it is like the United Center compared to the even smaller gym they had my daughter’s freshman basketball team play in a few years ago.

But, I digress.

Well this year, the MP parents decided this wasn’t a good arrangement and decided to have their kids boycott the game because it wasn’t held in their bandbox. They held protests and made a big stink about it last week even though this game was scheduled months ahead of time. That’s when they should have been protesting.

So Morgan Park was nearly given a forfeit but the game is on ice and it’s unclear when – or if – it will take place.

Look, I have no problem with the parents protesting the want of a new gym, even though dollars to help the woeful public school education system in the city would be better use of the money.

I have no problem that they are mad at the world because they don’t get to host Simeon at home.

But play the damn game.

Their kids and their coaches made the commitment to the season. This wasn’t some surprise that just popped up. Fans and scouts planned on going to this game. Workers and security people had to be assigned to the event.

And these parents decided to just let the kids boycott because they can’t get their way.

This is the second time this season that interfering parents were sticking their noses in where it didn’t belong.

In the fall, Andrew’s volleyball team was involved in a tournament and the T-Bolts were in a consolation match on Saturday afternoon. It was getting late and it there was a big dance that night and these bonehead parents gathered up their daughters and left, leaving the other team and tournament organizers ticked off.

You get in sports and you make sacrifices.

It’s called commitment.

My kids have had games cancelled because the other team forfeited and it’s frustrating. The kids are ready for a game. They are warming up, ready to play and the other team just leaves the tournament for no good reason other than they are mad they can’t win the championship so they are going home.

On the other hand, my son was playing for a team that was playing in a tournament in Mundelein, which is not close. The team got into a consolation situation where it would play just one game on Sunday.

The coach, who I respect, thought it was a stupid idea to go all the way to Mundelein just to play in one game after the long Saturday we all just had, so he told the tournament organizers well in advance the team wasn’t showing up so the other team wouldn’t be standing around waiting for a game that was never going to happen.

Was it a good idea? Well, we thought so at 10 p.m. on a Saturday night.

Was it the right thing to do?

Not at all. We were guilty of not honoring our commitment.

So, parents, I want you all to do one simple thing. Look at your son or daughter’s schedule before the season starts. If there is a problem, bring it to the coach’s attention then.

Then keep quiet.

Ultimate Spartan

This has been going on for three years, but since I am the rookie at this sports editing game, this is the first I’ve heard of it.

The Oak Lawn softball team is hosting the fourth Ultimate Spartan competition.

A group of senior male athletes will vie for the honor as they will compete in formal wear, beach wear, talent, interviews and audience appreciation. And when it’s over, Steve Harvey will present the wrong guy a trophy.

OK, I made that last part up. It was a cheap joke but in these economic times, that’s all I can afford.

Anyway, at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Liam Blake, Vinnie Caprio, Alexander Kenny, Miles O’Brien, Lucas Palacios, Jorge Ramirez, and David Ward will battle it out for the title in the Oak Lawn gym. Tickets are available at the school for $5 in advance and $7 at the door.

Judges will be teachers Lauren Klenn and Kate Mellone plus secretary Jill Malkowski.

For those scoring at home, past winners were Bobby Kametas, Kyle Kuzur, and Peter Ruane.