A feature in today's Sun focuses on sisters Brittany and Chelsea Potts, who play for LSU. But the two former Waubonsie Valley standouts are far from the only local players continuing their soccer careers at the NCAA Division I level.
They aren't even the the only sisters doing it.
August 2008 Archives
A feature in today's Sun focuses on sisters Brittany and Chelsea Potts, who play for LSU. But the two former Waubonsie Valley standouts are far from the only local players continuing their soccer careers at the NCAA Division I level.
I'm not sure how visible the link is to our new prep football blog, but we'd like to hear from BigCat, wv2010 and all the other high school football fanatics who love the game. We've moved all the prep football blogging to Football Fever. The actual web address is pretty complicated, but we're working on getting an easier one so that it's as easy to find as The Heat Index. So please, click away and comment should you feel compelled to do so. These blogs are as much your forum as they are ours. Case in point, we're actually seeking guest bloggers for our high school football site, just click here to learn more.
The ESPN RISE FAB 50 preseason poll lists Neuqua Valley's varsity boys soccer team seventh overall in its preseason rankings.
Here's the listed reason why:
Bret Hruby, a forward, was an all-state performer last year and returns to lead a team with high expectations in 2008.
Hruby graduated and is now playing for the University of Illinois-Chicago, but it was a nice shout-out nonetheless.
Having watched only one team from outside of Illinois -- namely Middleton of Wisconsin on Saturday -- I can't say one way or the other whether Neuqua (2-0) deserves the national nod or not.
Good thing the rankings will be updated every Tuesday.
If Neuqua survives the Best of the West Tournament next week, which The Sun plans on covering each day, the Wildcats should maintain their high standing despite the gaffe.
Waubsonsie Valley graduate Michael Bowden will make his major league debut today against the White Sox at Fenway Park. In this well-reported column, Alex Speier of WEEI.com reconstructs how the Red Sox approached Bowden, sharing several insider details about Boston's front office leading up to the 2005 amateur draft.
Cubs general manager Jim Hendry considered himself a purist, but came around on the idea of instant replay, reasoning: "(Once) the umpires felt it was appropriate, how can you go against that?"
Umpire supervisor Larry Young outlined the procedure at Wrigley Field on Thursday before it went into effect. Young emphasized that replay is limited to home run calls, and said he doesn't expect it to widen in scope.
The crew chief is ultimately responsible for making the call, and once he decides to look at the video on a monitor, he'll receive feeds from an MLB office in New York. Officials are aiming for reviews that last for about two minutes and 30 seconds. Cubs manager Lou Piniella won't be throwing any challenge flags onto the field.
"Ready or not," Piniella said before Thursday's game. "Listen, (I) think it's a good idea. Look, we have all the confidence in the world in the umpires. They do their jobs (very) professionally and very accurately. But there's an instance where they both can get a play (correct).
"Am I ready for replay? Yes."
Are you ready for instant replay? Has baseball lost part of its identity here? Will this be a small, measured step, or the first move toward replay of balls and strikes, calls at first base and catches in left field?
Four-year varsity soccer player Tim Zimmer, of Naperville Central, will play on scholarship at Northwestern next year.
Zimmer, a defender, will join Benet alumnus Jack Hillgard, the East Suburban Catholic Conference Most Valuable Player in 2005. Hillgard was a junior that year.
On both ends of the field, Zimmer helped the Redhawks win the DuPage Valley Conference outright last year.
Cubs manager Lou Piniella was in a good mood after Thursday night's 6-4 win, walking into the interview room, past the microphone and straight toward the Japanese reporters who cover Kosuke Fukudome.
He smiled broadly and thanked them for the sake they gave him for his 65th birthday, and said they'll all have some tomorrow. That's how Lou rolls.
The Bears finished 1-3 in the preseason - barely, following a 16-10 win over winless Cleveland on Thursday -- and have a host of problems to beset that record.
Can anyone really say the preseason won't foreshadow the regular season?
I'm tired of hearing the preseason doesn't count and detailed why in The Sun, but I'm open to edgy refuting. Spill.
Bears head coach -- and now fashion model -- Lovie Smith graces the pages of GQ next month. The magazine claims there's 73 reasons to think we're living in a new golden age of football, and Smith's part of reason No. 12 -- "style is (finally) returning to the sidelines."
Pictured in between, but much larger than, Chiefs coach Herm Edwards and Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, Smith gets credit for wearing "some coachy stuff (the Bears down jacket, the knit cap), but the difference is, it fits him."
Some other classic lines in the write-up:
"Marvin Lewis doesn't look like he sleeps on the training table at night, living off Ritz Bits and Muscle Milk...Mike Tomlin wears Versace shades -- and looks good in a suit, not like a teenager making his first court appearance (see Bill Belichick)...Marvin Lewis and Tony Dungy and Herm Edwards, who wear clothes that not only are clean and ironed but appear to have been picked out with the lights on."
Drop a few of your own personal coach blasts or pats on the back here -- now.
As written about in today's Sun, the Big Ten has formally proposed an early three-day signing period for college football recruits that would begin on the third Wednesday of December. Many coaches like Purdue's Joe Tiller are strong advocates for the policy, arguing that it strengthens the verbal commitments of prospects and saves money for universities. Some, like Illinois' Ron Zook, feel an even earlier signing period gives coaches even less time to get to know the personalities of recruits.
Personally, I can't make up my mind on this either way. On the one hand, I understand Tiller's perspective and on the other I get Zook's attitude as well. What do you think? Is this a good thing for recruits? Is it a good for the game?
Naperville Central junior Chris Prince scored a team-high three goals in a 7-0 season-opening win against Minooka on Tuesday. He also added two assists for an eight-point game.
Not a bad way to start the season -- good thing he was allowed to play.
Prince, a member of the Fire Academy, ended his training season with the developmental team just in time last month.
The academy is a program designed to develop the best young talent in the Chicago area as part of MLS's Home Grown Talent Initiative. In the future, perhaps as soon as next year, this program could overlap the high school soccer season, keeping kids from playing for their schools.
That's what Prepvolleyball.com said with its Century Club Pre-Season Top 100 High School Rankings, which were released last week. Benet, which has never made it to the state tournament, is ranked higher than defending Class 4A state champion Naperville Central.
If you are a signed up as a member on that site, click here. If not, take the word of The Heat Index, which is nothing if not a reliable source of information.
Here is how Prepvolleyball.com ranked Illinois teams:
7. Downers Grove South
14. Naperville Central
37. Mother McAuley
46. Althoff Catholic
96. Normal Community
Neuqua Valley graduate Brittany Bock is piling up the preseason awards entering her senior season as a Notre Dame forward. The latest came over the weekend when Soccer America tabbed her for its preseason All-America team.
The reigning Sun Boys Soccer Player of the Year, Bret Hruby, will next ply his trade in the big city for the University of Illinois-Chicago.
"The goal for me is to play and have a starting position by the end of the year," said Hruby, a forward for Neuqua Valley last year, in an email to The Sun. "It's not going to be easy; it's not even going to be close to easy. But as long as I try my hardest -- you know -- I think I can do it."
Four other Neuqua grads are on the roster as well: Junior midfielder Tim Walsh, sophomore defender Maurice Charles, redshirt freshman midfielder Alex Loncar and freshman defender Asa Carson. Walsh transferred from Division II Tampa.
Senior defender Pat McMahon , a Benet grad, also plays on the team.
The Neuqua contingent seems to have the Flames in good shape for their schedule, but how well will Neuqua move forward without Hruby's scoring ability?
Stud running back Rashard Mendenhall has moved on to the NFL, but Illinois is still loaded for Bear. Of course, to challenge for the Big Ten title, quarterback Juice Williams will have to throw like he did in the upset of Ohio State, and Arrelious Benn should be primed for a huge year. The defense also must continue to improve.
Fifteen minutes can seem like a long time, depending on the situation. When you are near the end of a shift at work, or waiting for the end of the last class of the day, a quarter hour can tick off the clock very slowly.
I am here to tell you that 15 minutes is not nearly enough time to run three miles, certainly not when it is over a cross country course with hills and whatnot.
But there are 1,044 people who have done that -- or better -- at the state finals course in Peoria over the past 36 years. There have been 36 runners from the Naperville area that are on that list, including eight last year.
Lou Piniella, who turns 65 on Thursday, doesn't come across as particularly slick when he talks about the "Cubbies." Sometimes he'll mangle words, or mispronounce a name, or drift during his pregame media briefings. At those moments, you might forget just how competitive Piniella is, or how calculating the manager can be.
Central Michigan quarterback and former Benet star Dan LeFevour appeared on ESPN's First Take on Friday morning. Here he talks about facing Georgia, the Heisman and his hole-in-one.
LeFevour also did an online chat with ESPN.com in which he answered questions from fans. You can find it here. Clearly, LeFevour's star is on the rise. These days he seems almost like an ambassador. Is there any doubt that he's the representative of the MAC? Of small conferences everywhere fighting for Top 25 recognition?
It was nine years ago when I saw synthetic grass in person for the first time. I was in Round Rock, Texas, to cover a high school football game.
I walked into Dragon Stadium and marveled at how green the field was. I wondered how they managed to keep it watered all summer in the blazing Texas heat, how grass could be that green in late August.
As I headed toward the pressbox, it began to dawn on me that this wasn't normal. I mean, nothing is normal about high school football in Texas, but really, how could they keep the grass so green?
If Lovie Smith truly made his decision to start quarterback Kyle Orton based on preseason games, then he needs to name Rashied Davis a starting receiver this week just as quickly as he named Orton.
Following the Bears loss to Seattle last week, Smith removed the forward slash (or is it backward slash?) that linked Kyle Orton/Rex Grossman to the first-string quarterback slot. He should take the same action with Davis and (rather, slash) Devin Hester today.
Davis caught two touchdown passes in a loss to the 49ers on Thursday while Hester caught one pass for negative two yards. Here's the deal: Hester's nothing more than a hype machine for the Bears offense. Sure, he'll figure prominently at times this season, but his consistent presence should be on special teams where he has yet to impress this pre season.
"He's made all the plays. He's had an outstanding training camp," Smith said of Davis, the fourth-year Bears receiver out of the Arena Football League. "He just became a new dad, so a lot of good things are happening in his life."
Smith can continue that trend with one simple keystroke.
Right now is a good time to be young, rich and part of the Cubs. In this week's issue of Sports Illustrated, Luke Winn has a detailed article on Jeff Samardzija and how he wound up on the North Side instead of the NFL.
Within that piece, comparisons are made between Lou Piniella's bullpen and the one he managed in Cincinnati - The Nasty Boys. For some historical perspective on Piniella and his legendary temper, check out veteran baseball writer Hal McCoy's excellent blog:
(Rob) Dibble was his closer and there was a situation for him to close. Dibble didn't close and when I asked Dibble why he said, "Go ask the manager."
So I did. And Lou said, "He told me before the game his arm was a bit sore and he wasn't available."
So I returned to Dibble and told him what Piniella said and Dibble screamed, "The manager is a liar."
So I trudged back into Lou's office and said, "Your closer just called you a liar."
Piniella flattened me against his office door and he sprinted to the clubhouse, jumped on Dibble and the fight was on.
Naperville North senior Kyle Gibson was the subject of a Q&A with Dyestat.com on Tuesday and I put the quotes around chats in the headline because it seems clear from the transcript that this was an e-mail exchange. Either that or the author doesn't believe in spellcheck.
Gibson dished on his experience of competing at last year's Class AAA cross country state meet while battling bronchitis, stated that North won't be satisfied with anything less than a state championship and listed Oklahoma State, Portland and Iona as his possible college destinations.
Gibson, who placed third in the 3,200 meters this spring at the state track meet, also took a playful shot in at teammate David McWilliams.
David McWilliams is also a really good runner having a great summer that not many people know too much because he plays baseball in the spring(he's an old man though so his hip needs to hold up).
Naperville Central graduate Owen Daniels is No. 9 on the Preseason Fantasy Rankings: Tight Ends on profootballtalk.com, putting the Houston Texans tight end in some exclusive company.
I don't understand much about fantasy football, but I know enough to know that a tight end's worth is based on offensive production, meaning catches, yards and touchdowns. So being called the ninth best tight end in the NFL for fantasy purposes isn't exactly the same as being called the ninth best tight end in the NFL.
Still, it's significant to be ranked in the top third at your position. Only the biggest of the big dogs are ranked higher. Jason Witten (Cowboys) is No. 1, followed by Antonio Gates (Chargers), Jeremy Shockey (
Giants Saints), Kellen Winslow (Browns), Dallas Clark (Colts), Tony Gonzalez (Chiefs), Chris Cooley (Redskins) and Vernon Davis (49ers).
Naperville Central senior Drew Crawford established himself as a clutch performer last season, winning games with the clock ticking down and earning postseason honors such as The Sun's Player of the Year.
This summer he has been working the AAU circuit and adding the return addresses of Division I coaches to his mailbox. Chicagohoops.com recognized the progress over the weekend with its newest Top Illinois Class of 2009 Basketball Prospects list.
Crawford is No. 18 on the 35 player list. That's up from 29th on a similar list from May. He remains the only DuPage Valley Conference performer in the rankings and is the second-highest player from the western burbs behind Diamond Taylor of Bolingbrook.
Jeff Dooley over at ESPN The Magazine ranked the Big Ten as the third best conference in the nation this season behind the SEC and Big 12.
His analysis of the Big Ten this season was clear: Ohio State is the only real deal. It's a tune that Big Ten fans are all too familiar with every season. Sure, OSU is my pick to win the conference. They have 18 starters coming back and this year the Buckeyes smell like the real deal, but, as a whole, is the Big Ten getting the shaft this season? Seems to me that Wisconsin, Penn State and Illinois will all have strong programs this season. Michigan State has a great running back in Javon Ringer. I think 2008 has the potential to be a good year for the Big Ten.
What do you think? Is OSU a sure thing? Will Illinois fall apart without Mendenhall? What excites you or concerns you about Big Ten football this season?
Walking into Wrigley Field on Sunday with relatives of righthanded pitcher Matthew Graham of Spring, Texas, made me realize just how special it is for Neuqua Valley senior Ian Krol to play an All-American game in front of his home crowd.
Graham's mother, who went to Fremd High School in Palatine, has roots in the Chicago area but can't quite make the claim that Krol and his family can -- not that it's a competition. Simply put, Krol was the only Illinois representative on the elite 36-man Under Armour All-American Baseball Game roster while six hailed from Texas.
Just last weekend, Graham's relatives watched their nephew play in the Aflac All-American High School Baseball Game on television. Much like many of Krol's fans, they couldn't make the trip to Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles to see them play.
So for all of you who missed Krol's Wrigley Field debut, you really missed something.
Having said that, The Heat Index forgives you and wants you to post your excuses here!
Bears coaches contend preseason performances will determine which quarterback, either Rex Grossman or Kyle Orton, will start at Indianapolis on Sept. 7.
In reality, not only do stat lines and game tape against Kansas City and Seattle and so forth not matter, but Lovie Smith and his team of decision-makers would be better suited spinning a bottle or throwing darts to determine the lucky winner.
This quarterback competition is merely a formality. Over the last three years Grossman and Orton have given the Bears plenty to see, too much to actually believe anything they do in limited preseason action will make or break their future.
Even though the Bears have yet to announce their opening-day starter, the answer's simple. With one year left on Grossman's contract and two left on Orton's, give Grossman the starting nod and don't pull the plug on him until absolutely necessary.
With the first day of practice under their belts Wednesday, The Heat Index sees no better time to start placing your bets (so to speak) on a couple of season openers:
Naperville North vs. Neuqua Valley and Naperville Central at Waubonsie Valley on Aug. 29.
In case you didn't read the blog title, we're talking football here.
Let's get right to it. Who will win and why? Ready, type...
Neuqua Valley wide receiver Josh Schaffer will be playing his college football at Western Michigan, and he told the Kalazmoo Gazette that the family atmosphere at WMU is what convinced him to commit to the Bronocos instead of his other suitors.
"I thought about playing my senior year and signing after," said Schaffer, who had interest from Central Michigan and Northern Illinois, among others, but no other offers yet. "But I went up Friday and watched practice. After that, I pretty much knew where I wanted to be.
"Coach Cubit, coach (Mike) Sabock, coach (Mike) Grant, the coaching staff, they made me feel like family. They made me feel at home, and the players are great to be around. It made me want to come to Western Michigan."
Ozzie Guillen has turned the pregame media briefing into a kind of performance art. And it's not just when he generates headlines for some politically incorrect blanket statement about (insert name of opposing player/group of people here).
Day after day, sitting in the White Sox dugout, he patiently answers questions, even the ones that aren't really phrased as questions. He generally seems to enjoy the exchange, and on Monday he riffed for more than 15 minutes.
Guillen said that he doesn't know how many wins the White Sox have, nor does he study the standings all that closely.
"I just check the paper (to see) what they say about me," Guillen said. "As long as we win series, that's all I care."
He's also not reluctant to talk about other teams' players, or break down the Manny Ramirez trade: "With all due respect to Mr. Bay, I'd rather pitch (to) Bay than face Manny. ... Manny might be MVP in two months. He's got a chance."
When a Boston reporter asked for his impressions of Jed Lowrie, Guillen talked about the evolution of shortstops, and how it has changed from a defensive position to an offensive one.
"Thank God I grew up in the 80s," Guillen said. If I was playing right now, I'd be at Triple-A all my life."
By D.J. Wanberg
There has been some controversy at the Summer Olympics that there are members of the Chinese women's gymnastics team that are not 16 years old which is the minimum age required in order to compete.
Chinese Olympic and gymnastics team officials claim that all of the gymnasts are of age. But that claim took a credibility hit Sunday night as security forces arrested The Tooth Fairy trying to sneak into the team quarters at the Olympic Village with a big bag of coins.
Check out this video of Candace Parker, following her first game in Beijing.
Seems liks she left room for improvement in her postgame eval. What do you think of her performance in the win?
By D.J. Wanberg
I watched the opening ceremony Friday from Beijing and was very impressed with the spectacle and wondered how Chicago might handle the opening ceremony if they get the Games in 2016.
I imagine a group called the Patronage Dancers are scheduled. They collect a paycheck but never show up to perform.
Why do I feel that despite all the precautions that would be made that the Olympic torch would be late for the 2016 Opening Ceremony because the runner is stuck on the Eisenhower during rush hour?
I'm currently watching the boxing on CNBC. I've always liked Olympic boxing. Four rounds to get your point across to your foe. There's no wasted time sizing each other up or dancing around which plagues the sport frequently at the pro level.
Watched team handball this morning. I don't really get it. I guess it's a little like indoor soccer but with the feet only used for running.
One more thing about the opening ceremony -- I found out about countries that I had never heard of. Did actually I learn something? Better listen to sports talk radio to lessen the affect.
It's hard for the media not to get ahead of Ian Krol. The Neuqua Valley senior just pitched a near-perfect inning in Saturday's Aflac All-American High School Baseball Game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.
There, among the 38 best senior players in the nation, Krol gave scouts another reason to offer him a premier Division I scholarship and draft him in the first round of the 2009 MLB Draft.
"This will probably open a lot more doors. I mean, everywhere you go it's gonna open up a door," Krol told The Sun. "But yeah, I'm definitely not goona get ahead of myself. I gotta focus on soccer now."
...and because Neuqua Valley senior Ian Krol just happens to be playing.
We're talking about the Aflac All-American High School Baseball Game, which Sports Illustrated listed as a must-watch sports event this week.
The game, which is televised on FSN, will feature Krol, a highly sought-after left-handed pitcher, and 37 more of the best prep players in the country, beginning at 2 p.m. Saturday at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.
Preparation for the game began earlier this week. On Wednesday, Krol received credit for making the best play of the morning practice. Here's what was said in the official notes:
Lefty pitcher Ian Krol made the play of the day while shagging BP balls in the outfield. At a full sprint he ran down a deep fly ball to the RC field wall, caught the ball and ran into the fence at full speed. Luckily he wasn't hurt. You know what they say about lefties. But it sure is interesting to see someone do something like that during BP. Very impressive in a left handed sort of way.
By D.J. Wanberg
As we start to watch the Olympics on television today, here's a letter I would love to send NBC.
Having watched your coverage of Olympic competition since you started regularly broadcasting the Games in 1992, I've seen both good and bad in your coverage.
Your last few attempts have been your best so far. But just remember if you want to keep me. happy and prevent me from reaching for an air sick bag and turning the channel, please remember the following:
1. There's nothing wrong searching for stories about interesting athletes. But when sports broadcasting, and your previous coverage has been no exception, smells a tragic story, it's like a tiger going after a zebra.
Tell me this story once., maybe twice. Go any further than that and I will bill you for my therapy to get my empathy back after it ran from body screaming.
2. There are other sports besides gymnastics. Nothing wrong with the sport. I watch it during the Olympics. But don't go overboard. I'll always remember in 1996 when a gymnastics exhibition of medal winners, after the competition ended, was shown on NBC instead of the women's soccer gold-medal game which the U.S. won. Not one of your network's better Olympic moments.
3. Keep serving your analysts of the various sports decaffeinated coffee. It's not fun to listen to somebody who acts like their fiber supplement kicked in every time an athlete makes a mistake or does well.
4. Always remember that you have an amazing event in front of you. The pictures and words that come from it are awesome on their own merits. No hype needed.
Finally, do you really have to broadcast synchronized swimming? If you don't, I guarantee no one will notice. And the world's gag reflexes will heal.
Garrett Wolfe, who starred at Northern Illinois before getting drafted in the third round last year, still feels he has something to prove every time he steps on the field.
When he did that in the Bears preseason opener Thursday at Soldier Field, he walked away as the only Bears running back with a touchdown. Wolfe raced just about all 25 yards of the 25-yard scoring pass from Rex Grossman after catching the ball.
Wolfe ended the game with 89 total yards - 64 on the ground - and said afterward that he feels he could be a No. 1 running back if given the chance.
"I think all of us feel that," Wolfe said. "All of us - me, Adrian (Peterson), P.J. (Pope), Matt (Forte), Kevin (Jones). We're all confident in our abilities, and at some point we've all played the No. 1 running back. This is a different level, but I feel I can do anything I set my mind to."
Seconds before the Bears kicked off to the Chiefs on Thursday at Soldier Field, the Bears announced what could be a season-ending injury to rookie tackle Chris Williams.
Williams, the Bears first-round draft choice, underwent surgery on a herniated disc in his lower back either late Wednesday night or early Thursday morning, according to Bears Senior Director of Corp. Communications Scott Hagel.
Hagel said there's no set timetable for his expected return. He will remain on the 53-man roster.
Who's Jake Baratz you ask? Good question...
Baratz is a 6-foot-4, 275-pound senior offensive lineman for Naperville North, the defending Class 8A state champs. He was a part-time starter last year and missed four and a half games because of injury.
Even so, he must have assembled enough game tape to lure not only Arizona into a scholarship offer but also Northern Illinois and Miami of Ohio. He finally verbally committed to Arizona on Tuesday night and reported it to edgytim.com on Wednesday, a week before the first day of practice.
In an email to The Sun on Thursday, North coach Larry McKeon said, "He has great potential as an offensive lineman."
In addition to recently playing hoops in a driveway in Mississippi, Naperville Central alumnus Anthony Parker defended the actions of his sister Candace Parker during the scrape with the Shock in this interview with the National Post.
If you are suffering from burnout on this story, hang with us, Anthony's comments are on point and worth a look.
"I think, for one thing, if most people put themselves in that situation, they might react the same way," the Toronto Raptors guard said Thursday. "A lot of talk was saying that she took the bait or whatever, and I don't see it like that. I think taking the bait is if somebody elbows you or yells at you, and you react. I think she was in a situation where she had to defend [herself]."
p.s. Since AP is out there playing hoops with civilians, his right hand must be feeling good after his surgery in May.
OK, so most people will be concentrating on how Kyle Orton and Rex Grossman do in their plays at quarterback tonight in the preseason opener.
But what about the wide receiver position? With the departures of Bernard Berrian and Muhsin Muhammad, the elevation of Devin Hester and the return of Marty Booker, who will begin to emerge as the top two threats?
Waubonsie Valley senior Shakeia Pinnick won five medals, including two national championships, last week at the AAU Junior Olympics. The track and field star also wrote a diary about her experience for Dyestat.com.
Pinnick writes about her race strategies, takes the readers through each event of her championship in the heptathlon, explains how she competed in the 800-meters final and the 400-meter hurdles within 90 minutes and tells us that the wind conditions on the final day contributed to a disappointing time in the 400-meters final.
The final was crazy with the wind swirling and changing constantly. When we came off the last curve, we ran right into a headwind. It was not good for us smaller athletes.
This is a couple months late, and for what it's worth, the Neuqua Valley boys volleyball team finished 24th in the Rivals.com final national rankings thanks to a second consecutive third-place finish at the state finals.
National high school rankings should always be taken with a block of salt. But it's all in good fun I guess, so here is how it all broke down for Illinois final four teams.
State champion Wheaton Warrenville South was highest at No. 6, followed by state runner-up Buffalo Grove, which beat Neuqua in the semifinals, at No. 9. Providence, the team that the Wildcats beat for third place, was ranked 17th.
This is what Rivals.com had to say about the Wildcats.
Coach Michael Popp's squad fell to Buffalo Grove in the semi's, 25-23, 20-25, 25-22, but did not get discouraged and finished strong in the third place match with a win over Providence Catholic, 27-25, 25-23. The Wildcats graduate six seniors, but have nine juniors with good playoff experience ready to go next year.
That is a nice breakdown of the state finals. That is exactly what happened, except for the coach being named Erich Mendoza and not Michael Popp, who was in the homestretch of his stint as principal at Neuqua during the finals, not coaching the Wildcats up.
But, you know, details such as these are meaningless in the face of national rankings.
Right around the time sirens were blaring across Chicago on Monday night, warning of a potential tornado, television cameras caught Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder shoving pitcher Manny Parra in a dugout altercation in Cincinnati.
That incident blew up a year and two days after manager Ned Yost became entangled in another dugout incident with former Brewers Johnny Estrada and infielder Tony Graffanino.
If team chemistry means anything, Cubs fans should be encouraged by the reaction from Scott Eyre on Tuesday, when the struggling reliever (2-0, 7.15 ERA) was designated for assignment to make room for All-Star closer Kerry Wood on the 25-man roster.
"I enjoyed my time here in Chicago," Eyre said. "I wish it would've turned out different. But I tell you what - the hardest part is saying goodbye to teammates. It's a great bunch of guys, great place to play. And it's unbelievable fans - last night's game is a testament to what they're all about here.
"You can't really go and complain and say, 'Hey, I want to pitch' cause everyone's doing so well. ...Trust me, I'm cheering for everyone to do well, even now and I'll continue to do that the rest of the summer."
Eyre was forced to stand on the side of the stage in the interview room, so the Cubs logo on a microphone or backdrop wouldn't make the television shot, which seemed petty, especially since this guy was on the verge of tears.
"I have no ill feelings," Eyre said, "and I mean that truly."
For the second year in a row, Benet junior McKinzie Schulz has won national title at the AAU Junior Olympics with her victory on Wednesday in the Intermediate Girls 2,000-meter steeplechase.
Her time of 7:21.54 had Schulz way out in front. The second-place finisher clocked in at 7:34.08. If Schulz had competed in the Young Women division, she would have won that race, too. By four seconds.
Schulz ran faster and placed second in steeplechase at the USATF Junior Olympics on June 24, when she crossed in would-have been a national record 7:12.77 if there had been one-less runner.
In her last event of the week at the AAU Junior Olympics, Waubonsie Valley senior Shakeia Pinnick ran a 56.32 to place sixth in the Young Women's 400-meter dash. Out of five events, it was the only one Pinnick didn't place fifth or higher.
Pinnick won two national championships, finishing with 4,883 points in the heptathlon on June 27 and in a personal-best 2:12.37 to win the 800 meters on Wednesday less than two hours before placing second in the 400 in a personal-best 58.98.
Pinnick won two events (200, 800) in the heptathlon and was second in two more (long jump, 100 hurdles). Earlier this summer, Pinnick went over 5,000 points to win the heptathlon at the Illinois Top Prep Times Multi Event Championships.
On Thursday, Pinnick placed fifth in the 100 hurdles in 14.44. Yes, it was a personal best, and her 400 prelim time of 54.88 on Friday was also a lifetime fastest (I tire of typing personal best).
Going way out on a limb here, but we thinks Shakeia Pinnick just might have a future with this track thing.
So Brett Favre rejoins the Green Bay Packers today and reports are there will be an open competition for the starting QB job.
Did the Packers do the right thing or should they have figured out a way to keep Favre out of Green Bay?
Will they, should they still try to trade him to the Vikings or somebody else?
Who will start at QB for the Pack in the regular-season opener?
Thanks to a great photo from the championship celebration, Barhamand landed on the cover of Rowing News after he splashed down in the Cooper River in Camden, N.J.
"It's pretty awesome because that magazine, they cover international rowing," Barhamand said. "It's a U.S. magazine, but they don't really devote a ton of time in there to collegiate rowing. ... If you open that magazine, there is maybe, maybe a page about us at IRA, the national championships. So I think it was just the fact that the picture is pretty cool."
Throwing the coxswain into the water after a big win is a rowing tradition. Thanks to an undefeated season that included winning the Eastern Sprints overall team title for the first time since 1946, Barhamand's crew had some practice before nationals. So when the Badgers got to Jersey, they had this toss Adam into the river thing down pat.