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This is a nice, round number in the television industry: NCTV17's "Naperville Sports Weekly" will broadcast its 100th episode on Dec. 13.

The show runs regularly on Sundays at 6:30 p.m. and can be watched on Channel 17 in Naperville or online at the station's Web site. The program -- a mixture of prep highlights, interviews and commentary -- began airing in the fall of 2007.

The Huskies get spotlight treatment this week in the Chicago Sun-Times. It includes an essay submitted by North defensive coordinator Sean Drendel, a 1990 graduate. Drendel writes in part:

Football coach Larry McKeon, my mentor, brought in weight lifting. We never lifted before that. If you aren't playing another sport, he said, you better be lifting. I didn't enjoy lifting. So I played other sports.

But coaches such as McKeon, Carl Hunckler, Paul Ryan and Tom Vargos taught us that hard work pays off, that if you put time and effort in, there will be value in it, as an athlete and a person. Character counts, too. And everyone on the team matters. There are no cuts at Naperville North.

"Naperville Sports Weekly" will be back on the air just as the prep seasons begin again. The show starts its third season on Naperville Community Television on Aug. 30 at 6:30 p.m.

Viewers have three ways to watch: Channel 17; NCTV17.com through simultaneous streaming and on-demand; and iTunes podcast. The complete schedule can also be found at NCTV17.com.

The half-hour program has highlights and features from Benet, Naperville Central, Naperville North, Neuqua Valley and Waubonsie Valley.

If you're expecting to learn The Naperville Sun's Athlete of the Month for March here, you'll be disappointed. But if you'd like to submit a name or two for consideration, you're in luck.

The voting's still open...

Stumped on who to suggest? How 'bout Waubonsie Valley's Shakeia Pinnick (track and field) or Neuqua Valley's John Mikuzis (water polo) or Naperville Central's Drew Crawford (basketball)? Somebody else?

Cast your votes here or at napersun.com/sports.

Reading list

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The baseline for Dwayne Evans is set with mid-major programs from the Mid-American Conference and Horizon League. But Northwestern has also looked at the Neuqua Valley forward, and his stock only figures to rise over the next several months. In this Sun-Times News Group piece, Scott Powers breaks down Evans' well-rounded game.

Recruiting projections are still just guesswork, as quarterback Dan LeFevour has shown at Central Michigan. As part of an interesting series, the Sun-Times shines the spotlight on Benet, with an essay from LeFevour and all sorts of trivia about the Redwings.

Naperville North will honor its past and present on Friday night.

The school's Athletic Hall of Fame induction ceremony will begin around 6:45 p.m. in the main gym after the sophomore boys basketball game against Wheaton Warrenville South. Before the ceremony, the school will also recognize Huskies baseball coach Carl Hunckler for his upcoming entrance (Jan. 30-31) into the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association's Hall of Fame.

The seven-person North class of 2009 includes: Tim Carlson, a two-time IHSA state swimming champion; Aileen Guiney, an all-state soccer player; Rachel Karos, an all-DuPage Valley Conference athlete in volleyball, basketball and softball; Dan Pettigrew, another all-state soccer athlete who later played at Princeton; Bart Smith, a two-time IHSA state champion in the 300-meter hurdles; coach Stan Gruszka, a state Hall of Fame coach in both football and wrestling; and the late Gene Drendel, the widely-respected long-time Naperville educator.

Previous inductees include Jerry Hairston Jr., now of the Cincinnati Reds, and NFL veterans Chris Brown, Glenn Earl and Justin McCareins.

Gruszka in particular has a lasting legacy with the North football program. Its offensive linemen are still graded by the metrics the assistant introduced in the mid-1980s. As we wrote in this feature last October: The Huskies count knockdowns - for every two it's a dog bone helmet sticker. They track "TDBs" - touchdown-enabling blocks that clear the way for someone to run into the end zone. That warrants another bone. And whoever registers the hardest hit is named "Captain Crunch" and earns a Ziploc bag full of the cereal.

If anyone else has good stories about the class of 2009, post a comment and let us know.

House rules

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If you haven't already, be sure to check out Blake Baumgartner's Sunday feature on pitching guru Tom House. There's a lot of terrain covered here, from how coaches Bill Seiple (Naperville Central) and Robin Renner (Neuqua Valley) agree to disagree, to two pitchers from India signing big-league contracts. It's worth a read and has already generated some comments online. Feel free to share those responses here.
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Foul play

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Naperville Central nearly gave away all of its 15-point lead on Saturday night at Wheaton Warrenville South before closing out a 54-46 win. WW South made it a one-possession game in the final minute, but what really added a layer of tension to the finish was the fact that Central had Drew Crawford down for three fouls while the official book had him with four.

Basically there was a miscommunication at the scorers' table. At some point, a foul that should have gone to No. 11 (Danny Ondik) instead went to No. 1 (Crawford - who incidentally is the son of a veteran NBA referee).

Afterward WW South coach Mike Healy said Crawford might be the most valuable player in the entire state - who knows what would have happened if the Northwestern-bound senior had picked up his phantom fifth foul.

Naperville Central announced today that girls swimming and diving coach Jon Carlson is retiring after guiding the Redhawks' program since 1983.

Carlson, who retired from teaching 18 months ago, guided Central to 20 top 10 finishes at the IHSA state meet, including winning team championships in 2004 and 2005.

He also coached state-champion relay teams in the 200 medley (1989, 1990, 2004 and 2005), and the 400 freestyle (1994 and 2004), and individual champions Ellen Stonebraker (1993 and 1994 200 freestyle relay), Kelly McNicols (2004 and 2005 500 freestyle and 200 freestyle) and Amy Prestinario (2005 and 2006 200 individual medley and 2006 500 freestyle).

He was also the boys swim coach from 1988-1992.

"Jon's record of success speaks for itself," Central athletic director Marty Bee said in a news release. "But Jon's true success lies beyond the championships. Jon fostered a great atmosphere among the girls he coached. He understood the need to help them develop as young people and did an awful lot to promote that growth."

Neuqua Valley (12-1) checks in at No. 15 in the latest edition of Michael O'Brien's Super 25 boys basketball rankings. The Sun-Times slots Naperville Central (12-1) at No. 22 in the same poll.

The Wildcats, whose only defeat was a 74-70 overtime loss to East Aurora, rebounded to win the Elgin holiday tournament. Neuqua travels to Plainfield Central on Wednesday for a 7:30 p.m. tip-off.

The Redhawks - coming off a Wheeling tournament championship that saw Northwestern recruit Drew Crawford earn MVP honors - next host Glenbard North on Friday at 7:30 p.m.

Joe Henricksen of the City/Suburban Hoops Report provides an interesting breakdown of Neuqua Valley hoops here on his Sun-Times-affiliated blog. The Wildcats are coming off Tuesday's 68-65 victory over Bolingbrook and Wisconsin recruit Diamond Taylor. Henricksen writes:

"Looking at Neuqua Valley's schedule, (it) could very well ride into the MLK Tournament in Rockford in the middle of January unbeaten. Sure, both St. Charles North and East Aurora could give them a scare in upcoming Upstate Eight games, and the Wildcats will be tested at the Elgin Holiday Tournament later this month, but this team is for real. After the MLK Tournament the Wildcats will see South Elgin and Geneva, a pair of surprising teams, and Downers Grove South in late February."

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Brad Engel

Brad Engel is the longest-tenured member of The Sun sports staff and has won several national and state awards in his coverage of preps as well as the Chicago Bears, Chicago Fire and general sports.

Patrick Mooney

Patrick Mooney covered politics, prep sports and professional baseball for several print and online media outlets before joining The Sun in August 2007. He concentrates on prep sports, writing features, profiles and breaking recruiting news.

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