Let the practices begin

  • Written by Jeff Vorva

Area football teams preparing for 2014 campaign

  Practice for Illinois high school football teams began this past Monday and the 10 schools covered by this paper hit their respective fields with more questions than answers.
  But even for squads that struggled the previous year the first week of practice in a new season brings with it a fresh batch of high hopes and optimism.
  Some of the storylines that fans will keep an eye on throughout 2014 include the following:
  • Richards’ quest for a state championship. The Bulldogs return a fair amount of talent from a team that finished second in Class 6A in 2013. Richards is the last area team to win a state title in football, having done so in 1989. Last year’s runner-up finish was the Bulldogs’ second since 2001.
  • Evergreen Park’s bid for a fourth straight playoff appearance. The Mustangs qualified for the postseason from 1992-95 under coach Brett Nelson and hope to tie that school record after going 8-4, 9-4 and 10-1 in Dan Hartman’s three coaching seasons. Hartman left to coach at Hinsdale Central and Ray Mankowski, Evergreen’s boys’ track coach and a former assistant at Mt. Carmel, has taken over the program.

Community sports news

Orland man records hole-in-one
  Eight was Mike Clemons’ lucky number on July 16.

  During a round of golf at Silver Lake Country Club’s Rolling Hills Course, the Orland Park man registered an ace on the 118-yard eighth hole. Appropriately, Clemons used an 8-iron to sink his shot, a feat witnessed by playing partner Cary Clemons, also of Orland.

  “I hit an 8-iron soft [that landed] in the middle of the green and rolled in for the hole-in-one,” Mike Clemons said. “I jumped with joy. I’ve been waiting for this moment all my life.”

St. Laurence seeking JV hockey coach
  St. Laurence is seeking an individual to serve as its junior-varsity hockey coach.
  Interested candidates must have previous high school coaching experience or an equivalent and must meet all AHAI and Archdiocesan requirements to be considered. St. Laurence does not presently have a varsity team, so the JV coach will head up the entire hockey program. The goal is to begin varsity play in a few years, with the JV coach being an integral part of the process.
  Applicants should send a resume and letter of interest to athletic director Tim Chandler at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Major attraction

  • Written by Ken Karrson

Former pro Sefcik takes over at Marist

  Teaching pros are commonplace at golf courses.

  They’re a little more foreign on high school baseball fields.
  Homewood-Flossmoor once had ex-major leaguer Steve Stanicek as its diamond boss. Now Marist has entrusted its varsity baseball program to another former pro.
  Kevin Sefcik, a 1993 St. Xavier University graduate who prepped at Andrew, spent part of seven seasons in Major League Baseball, most of those with the Philadelphia Phillies. His background shouldn’t hurt Marist when it comes to enrolling a greater number of male student-athletes.
  “It’s kind of cool,” Sefcik said, referring to his rare status as a major leaguer-turned-prep coach. “I hope that it gets kids interested in coming here.”
  Marist athletic director Bob Lim thinks Sefcik will be a definite asset.
  “The thing I like about Kevin is the fact that his major league career was made from him hustling and working hard and coming to work every day,” Lim said. “I think because of that he can relate more to these kids.”


Beauty’s only skin deep — that’s deep enough

At the risk of getting an angry response or two, I must ask one very basic question:
When are women going to learn?
I’m not talking about the kind of learning provided by institutions of higher education. These days there are more females graduating from college than males, or so we’re told. Even if that isn’t entirely accurate there’s no denying women aren’t being denied their right to receive instruction and are deriving plenty of benefits from it.
And many of them have absorbed enough teaching to become doctors, lawyers and CEOs. Good for them.
But if understanding transplants, transfers of ownership and multibillion-dollar business transactions doesn’t baffle them, why can’t these same ladies comprehend something as simple as what makes men tick?

Titletown USA? It’s right here

  • Written by Jeff Vorva

The 2014-15 high school sports season officially opens Monday, when boys’ and girls’ golf teams are able to compete.

  The 12 schools in this paper’s coverage area have teams involved in several sports and each of them has dreams of winning a state championship. Based on past performances, at least some of those aren’t necessarily pipe dreams.
  This is a region where the winning of state titles has become a pretty regular occurrence. According to Illinois High School Association records, a total of 61 championships have been captured by local teams, all but six of them collected since the start of the 1980-81 school year.
  From 1980-81 through 1995-96 at least one top prize was brought home by an area program. The streak ended in 1996-97 but only briefly — another six-year run got underway beginning in the fall of 1997.