Written by Jeff Vorva
Photo by Jeff Vorva
A look at how many Illinois High School Association state trophies each of the Regional/Reporter’s 11 area teams have won:
Mother McAuley 39
Brother Rice 13
Chicago Christian 11
Oak Lawn 7
St. Laurence 6
Evergreen Park 4
Source: IHSA season summaries
This spring, we had a three-week period in which five teams from the Regional/Reporter’s 11 area schools brought home Illinois High School Association state trophies.
None of them won state championships, but the Mother McAuley girls water polo team, the Brother Rice boys volleyball team, the Marist softball team and the Chicago Christian and St. Laurence baseball teams all hauled home hardware.
A few years ago, I researched and made a list of all of the area’s state championships. The IHSA purposefully made the championship trophies the same size no matter if a team finished first or fourth. So, this year, I went to the handy-dandy IHSA website and headed to the season summaries section and went to work.
The area is closing in on 200 trophies.
After the spring haul, the area has collected 188 team trophies from the IHSA.
It all started a few months before I was born, when coach Vern Whitney and Oak Lawn took second in state wrestling in 1959 as Ken Houston (175 pounds) earned an individual state title.
From that triumph to June 10, when Marist’s softball team and St. Laurence’s baseball team each earned top-four finishes in Class 4A in their respective sports, there have been many dramatic moments, including 65 state championships.
Here is a breakdown and some interesting facts about these elite awards:
--Sandburg has the heaviest hardware total with 61 and teams in 15 different sports earned trophies.
--Mother McAuley is next on the list with 39. The girls volleyball team, which won a state-best 15 titles, collected 23 total trophies.
--McAuley also earned 12 trophies in water polo.
Given the unpredictable nature of high school sports , it’s rare that I will come out and predict top-four finishes for teams, but the 2017 version of the Macs (pictured above) finished fourth in the state without any seniors and with a transfer and talented freshman expected to be on the roster, so…
Oh, and many of those players just won the American Water Polo National Stage Challenge in July, so…
--From 2007-11, Chicago Christian’s girls volleyball team won four trophies including a championship in Class 2A. The Knights have some talent returning from a 27-win team and they are back in Class 2A after spending the last five trophy-less seasons in Class 3A, so…
--The three trophies that Chicago Christian’s girls track team won were all Class A state championships in 1990, 1991 and 1992.
--McAuley’s girls volleyball and water polo teams and Sandburg’s boys volleyball team and girls softball teams are the only programs to win at least one first-, second-, third- and fourth-place trophy.
--Seven of Richards’ 14 trophies were state championships. Also, the Bulldogs won the inaugural state boys volleyball tournament in 1991 and when the boys state basketball format went from two classes to four in 2007-08, the Bulldogs won the first Class 4A title.
--Remember when some people were aghast the Marist let in female students in 2002-03? Well, it didn’t hurt the athletic program. The RedHawks’ girls team won seven of the school’s 23 trophies in 15 seasons.
--Five of Oak Lawn’s seven trophies are for second place.
The new high school season is not too far away. It will probably take a few years before we put No. 200 in the mythical trophy room, but it’s something that will be fun to watch.
Glad he is gone
One of our sports correspondents, Frank Gogola has left the area and is now working as a full-time sports writer for the Missoulian newspaper in Missoula, Montana.
I am glad he is gone because he is a great young talent and deserves full-time work. I wish he was a little closer but you have to go where the jobs are. His main beat is covering the University of Montana but first, during the final few weeks before the campus sports get rolling, he has been covering ZooTown All-Star softball action for the paper.
There are so many jokes here, but I’ll leave it alone.
Anyway, he did great work for us and I think the Gogola-in-Missoula connection will work quite well.
Sad he is gone
In another departure, longtime St. Xavier University sports information director Rob Huizenga left last week and is working for Purdue University Northwest, which is becoming an NCAA Division II school this season.
For 14 years, Huizenga has served as a behind-the-scenes type of guy who has helped promote teams and athletes from the Chicago school with aplomb. I have dozens of stories in which he has helped this newspaper out but my favorite was last year when star pitcher Nicole Nonnemacher struck out 42 batters on the road in a doubleheader against a decent-hitting St. Ambrose team.
The DH was on Saturday and I e-mailed him about the possibility of interviewing her on Sunday. A few minutes later, I get a call from Nonnemacher, who was travelling on the bus home from Davenport, Iowa. That’s the kind of service Rob was known for.
So, sports editors and writers from the Chicago area are going to miss this guy. The writers in Indiana are in for a treat.