SXU sports summary

Cougars the top NAIA finisher at track meet

St. Xavier University didn’t win the Chicagoland Championships, but no other NAIA men’s track program could surpass the Cougars’ performance.
At a meet featuring schools from all three divisions of the NCAA as well as the NAIA, SXU placed sixth overall in a 17-squad field at North Central College. That represented the Cougars’ highest team finish ever.
Highlighting SXU’s exhibition on Feb. 15 were Brian Corcoran, Shane Kenney and Janis Pastars, who occupied the top three positions in the 1,000-meter run. Both Corcoran (2 minutes, 33.22 seconds) and Kenney (2:33.58) ran national-qualifying times, while Pastars clocked a 2:36.48 in taking third. Pastars did post a qualifying time in the mile run, where his 4:17.34 effort was good for fifth place overall.
Also turning in solid showings on the Cougars’ behalf were John Stancato (fourth in the 200-dash in 22.73; fifth in the 60 in 7.11), Matt Krakowski (51.18 in the 400) and Rexford Wiafe (ninth in the 800 in 1:57.93). Wiafe’s clocking was just off the national-qualifying mark.

Sports wrap

  • Written by Anthony Nasella

 The state gymnastics meet boasted an all-around finish that featured athletes from every class among the elite. A freshman won the championship and six sophomores wound up in the top 20.

One of those sophomores was Shepard’s Skylor Hilger, whose solid exhibition at Palatine placed her 14th with an all-around score of 36.45 points. Hilger’s best effort over the two-day meet, without question, came in floor exercise. She finished 10th in Friday’s prelims while averaging a 9.25 over four performances, and then added two points to her score on Saturday to finish sixth with a 9.45 average.
Hilgor was 31st in the vault with a 9.30 prelims score, and she posted respective averages of 9.125 and 8.775 on the bars and beam. Hilgor was approximately 1.40 points behind state champion Claire Rose Ginsberg, a freshman from Geneva.

Moraine athletics wrap

  • Written by Maura Vizza

Cross country runners for academics

Aileen Gorman does not live by athletics alone.
For sure, the Marist alumnus has made her presence felt on Moraine Valley College’s sports landscape, first as a national qualifier in cross country last fall and then as an integral member of the Cyclones women’s basketball team this winter. Despite her busy schedule, however, Gorman has still found enough time to embrace the “student” portion of student-athlete as well.
Gorman was one of three Moraine runners, along with teammates Diana Dinh and Maritza Najera, to be feted for classroom accomplishments by getting named to the 2013 Academic All-National Junior College Athletic Association team. Dinh is making her second straight appearance on the squad, which was selected by the National Junior College Cross Country Coaches Association.
The Cyclones were also designated as an All-Academic NJCAA team, as they ranked eighth among Division I programs in cumulative grade-point average. Besides the three aforementioned individuals, Moraine’s status was made possible through the efforts of Amanda Gerzon (Stagg), Amy Johnson (Sandburg) and Miranda Reyes (Queen of Peace).

It’s success to the Max

  • Written by Ken Karson

Strus carries Chargers past Lockport

It’s no secret that Stagg’s basketball fortunes are tied tightly to Max Strus.
Simply put, the Chargers usually go only as far as their senior guard takes them. Friday night in Lockport, that meant Stagg bagged a victory.
Already a vital component in the Chargers’ operation, Strus’ importance increased when senior guard Kevin White exited with a back injury. White was hurt in the third quarter when he landed hard after absorbing contact while going airborne for a layup attempt, and Stagg coach John Daniels preferred to exercise caution.
“Just as a parent, and [the fact] I’ve been through that as a player,” said Daniels, who suffered a severe back injury while playing ball in college. “I’m not going to risk anyone’s health.”
Without White as a sidekick, Strus stepped forward both as a scorer and distributor. Two of his assists set up key late baskets by Sebastian Kolpak and Jeff Goral, and then Strus applied the finishing touch himself by sinking a 3-pointer with 3.4 seconds left to break a tie.

Junior achievement

  • Written by Ken Karson

Finn’s hot hand helps Rice down Vikings

Arguing with Mark Sevedge’s strategy was difficult.
Knowing what Brother Rice seniors Quinn Niego and Ray Rubio have done to so many teams - including his own - this year, the St. Laurence coach opted to try to shut them down as much possible. Sevedge was banking on the idea that no other Crusader would be able to hurt the Vikings too badly when the two area rivals squared off again on Sunday in the Chicago Catholic League Tournament.
But while it was largely mission accomplished on Niego and Rubio, thanks to the combined efforts of Matt Gurgone and Mike Witkowski, St. Laurence derived no benefits from its duo’s handiwork. That’s because Sevedge’s plan ultimately backfired when another Rice athlete did indeed assume a starring role.
Junior Connor Finn became the Vikings’ worst nightmare in the third quarter. His three 3-point baskets and 12 total points were at the forefront of the Crusaders’ 24-point eruption, a scoring assault that enabled them to gain some much-needed breathing room versus St. Laurence.