Bromberek to step down as Marist softball coach
Marist’s softball players will get one more opportunity to win some state hardware for Denise Bromberek.
Bromberek, who guided the Lady RedHawks to a Class 4A championship in 2012, has announced she will step down as head coach of the program at the end of the 2014 season. Bromberek, the only varsity coach Marist has had in softball, plans to move with her family to Utah.
Since the school went coed in the fall of 2002, Bromberek has posted a record of 307-107. She reached 300 wins faster than any other softball coach in state history, and her victory total ranks fifth all-time in Illinois high school annals. The 2012 title was the first captured by any girls’ team at Marist.
The Lady RedHawks have also collected two sectional crowns, nine regional championships and four East Suburban Catholic Conference titles during Bromberek’s coaching tenure.
“When we were looking to start the program 11 years ago, we knew Denise was the right fit,” Marist principal Larry Tucker said. “She has been such an asset to the Marist community, academically and athletically. Her leadership has helped produce many outstanding young women over the years. She will be missed.”
Athletic director Bob Lim was equally effusive in his praise for Bromberek.
“Coach Bromberek has been vital in putting Marist girls’ athletics on the map,” he said. “She has succeeded in establishing our softball program as one of the best in the state. Her commitment to excellence, and to her student-athletes, is what makes her a phenomenal coach and educator.
“Denise is also highly respected in the softball community, and a person like that is difficult to replace.”
Inductees announced for GCAC Hall of Fame
Five former athletes from area schools will be among the nine individuals representing the 2014 induction class for the Girls Catholic Athletic Conference Hall of Fame.
The group will be honored on Sunday, March 23, at Monastero’s Ristorante, 3935 W. Devon in Chicago, as part of the 39th anniversary of the GCAC’s formation. The keynote speaker for the event will Cook County Board president Toni Preckwinkle.
Among the inductees are Mother McAuley alumnae Kathy Burns and Mary Coleman Hambly, Mt. Assisi graduates Alexandra Steel Sallay and Karen Schissler Van Assen, and Queen of Peace product Melissa Vandry. All five women played volleyball, and Sallay also ran track for the Screeching Eagles. Van Assen was Mt. Assisi’s final volleyball coach.
Former athletes from Good Counsel, Mother Guerin and Lourdes, and a basketball official round out the list of inductees.
Doors open at 3 p.m., a cash bar will be available from 3-4, and dinner will be served at 4. Tickets are $35 per person. Checks should be made payable to the Girls Catholic Athletic Conference and mailed to Trinity High School, c/o Rosaria Cicchetti, 7574 W. Division St., River Forest 60305.
Rice closes regular basketball season with a rush
If momentum means anything heading into the state basketball tournament, Brother Rice should be in fine shape.
When the Crusaders squared off with fellow Chicago Catholic League member De La Salle this past Tuesday in the Class 4A Whitney Young Regional, they did so with a full head of steam on their side. They acquired it by virtue of a 73-37 thrashing of Tinley Park in their regular-season finale last Wednesday.
Once again serving as Rice’s difference makers were seniors Ray Rubio and Quinn Niego, who tallied 31 points between them on combined 11-of-17 shooting. However, nine other Crusaders also put their names in the scoring column, including Mike Shepski and Kevin Baldali, each of whom tossed in nine points. The former was Rice’s rebounding leader with eight boards.
As a team, the Crusaders (14-13) clicked on 59 percent of their field-goal tries while their defense limited the Titans to 23 percent accuracy. The teams shot 40 and 7 percent, respectively, from beyond the 3-point arc. Sixteen of Rice’s 26 total baskets came off assists.
The Crusaders jumped out to an 18-4 lead in the opening period and outscored Tinley in every quarter after that, twice by at least eight points. They erupted for a total of 26 points in the third stanza.
St. Patricia’s students receive leadership awards
Michael Morgan and Ginni Bouck, a pair of 8th-grade students at St. Patricia, were chosen to receive the Southside Catholic Conference’s Christian Leadership Awards for 2013-14.
Morgan and Bouck, both of whom are involved in athletics at the school, earned their honors after submitting essays that discussed Christian leadership and being role models in sports.
Evergreen girls’ track team carries high hopes
There is no shortage of confidence among members of Evergreen Park’s girls’ track team as the 2014 outdoor season looms.
That’s what winning a sectional championship will do.
The Lady Mustangs did that in 2013 after placing third in the South Suburban Conference Red, and coach Garrett Podgorski sees no reason why Evergreen can’t revisit its most recent past. That goal certainly appears well within reach, thanks to the return of a half-dozen Class 2A state qualifiers.
The distance events should be a Lady Mustangs strong point, as senior Leeza Campbell and juniors Emily Radgowski and Jill Siemiawski all got a taste of Charleston last May. Also making the downstate trip a year ago were throwers Taylor Tillman and Jordan Annang, and jumper Tyra Smith.
As if that didn’t represent a deep enough talent pool from which to draw, Evergreen also welcomes back three record setters. Senior Erica Carradine established a school standard in the 55-meter dash indoors, fellow upperclassman Rianna Carson did likewise outdoors in the 100-dash and senior Hope Thomas set a Lady Mustangs indoor mark in the triple jump.
“Like always, if all the talent can stay healthy and get better at each meet and practice, the year looks to be another great season,” Podgorski said. “The team consistently has state qualifiers in the throws and jumps, [and] the sprint squad is very deep with talent.”
Podgorski’s concern is finding capable bodies to fill in some other events, such as the hurdles and relay races. While he wants to place his athletes where they’ll have the greatest chance to prosper, Podgorski also recognizes the need to not leave too many events open, which proves costly when compiling team scores.
“I’m going to prepare them mentally and physically for the big picture, which is always state or a personal record,” he said.
On the boys’ side, Evergreen coach Ray Mankowski isn’t afraid to think big, either, even though he does not have the same amount of proven talent as Podgorski does with the girls’ squad.
What Mankowski does have is numbers -- the Mustangs entered the indoor season with over 40 team members, and the seventh-year coach’s goal is to add roughly 20 more to that total before beginning the outdoor schedule.
“The greater numbers we have, the more successful we can be,” Mankowski said. “Numbers will push our kids to be successful.”
Leading Evergreen into competition will be junior distance runner Matt Przeslicke, who was a state qualifier in cross country and owns the school’s fastest time ever in the 3,200-run. Senior Juwan Smith is another Mustang who’ll participate in the longer races, while senior Don Oresky (hurdles), junior Don Lewis (sprints) and sophomore Kameron Brown (jumps) should all be pivotal performers in their respective events.
Mankowski also likes sophomore Joey Ryan, who is working on his own to prepare for the pole vault.
“We have a good core group of athletes who are hard workers,” Mankowski said. “We also have a lot of young talent that should be good once we start our [outdoor] meet season.”
The Mustangs were only eighth in their sectional last spring. While Mankowski is reluctant to select a specific finishing position for his current troops, he is not discounting the possibility of individual excellence.
“Qualifying six or more events for the state meet [is a goal],” Mankowski said. “We have a lot of talented individuals, and if they are working hard and the weather is good, we have a very possible chance of this happening, no matter what sectional we are in.
“[We want to] have an athlete or relay [unit] run on Day 2 of the state meet. This would almost guarantee them of getting a medal.”
Evergreen girls’ soccer coach Thea Johnson will try to lift the Lady Mustangs over the .500 level this spring after they posted an 8-10 ledger in 2013. Evergreen went 4-7 in the SSC Red and took third in the final standings.
Seniors who return to lead the Lady Mustangs include defenders Kelly Shine and Colleen Elizinga, forwards Monica Yapan and Abby Valentino, and midfielders Zoe Monks and Dorothy Kalafut. Juniors Beth Grazevich and Amanda Grabowski are also in the veteran mix, as are sophomores Korti Lewis and Olivia Torres. Grazevich was a starter on defense as a sophomore.
Evergreen is without a proven goalie and, in Johnson’s opinion, would also benefit from a controlling central midfielder. However, she likes her athletes’ work ethic and the number of them that have shown interest in playing soccer.
“With so many players, finding the right combination of girls will be important,” Johnson said. “We are missing three key players from last year, [so] it will be vital that the seniors step and take a strong leadership role and get the team mentally on the right track from the start.
“[We will be] starting off practices immediately instilling fundamental skills and principles to be used throughout the season.”