Athletes begin postseason action at 16 regional sites in each of the three classes on Saturday, Feb. 4. Hononegah and Machesney Park head to the Class 3A Algonquin Regional.
The top three athletes in each weight division and the winning team qualify for each of the four sectionals in each class, with Rockford area squads competing in the Barrington Sectional on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 10-11.
The top four grapplers from sectionals reach the state individual championships, which will be at the State Farm Center in Champaign from Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 16-18.
Several Hononegah wrestlers are among the top in the state according to the most recent IllinoisMatmen.com rankings: sophomore Giovanni Cassioppi at 113, senior Aaron Leppert at 132 and junior Dominic Ballano at 160 were honorable mention picks, while senior Jordan Shahrikian was fourth at 182, senior Blake Zalapi was third at 220 and Junior Anthony Cassioppi was No. 1 at 285.
Meanwhile, the state team dual tourney of the eight qualifying teams is Saturday, Feb. 25, at U.S. Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington. Rockford East hosts the sectional event.
Illinois girls bowling
The girls bowling postseason begins with 18 regional events Saturday, Feb. 4. The top four teams will advance to one of six sectionals Saturday, Feb. 11. Then the best four squads qualify for the state finals, which are Friday and Saturday, Feb. 17-18, at Cherry Bowl Lanes in Rockford.
As for individuals, the top 10 scorers who are not part of a qualifying team advance to sectionals, and the top five finishers will reach state.
The SoBos and Indians compete in the Rockford Boylan Regional at Park Lanes and the Belvidere Sectional at Forest Hills Lanes, both in Loves Park.
Illinois girls basketball
Most of March Madness occurs in February for girls basketball in the Illini State.
Competition in Classes 1A and 2A start with regional action the week of Feb. 6-10. Sectional tourneys are planned Feb. 13-14 and Feb. 16. The state tournament will be Friday and Saturday, Feb. 24-25, at the Redbird Arena in Normal.
South Beloit is in the 2A Princeton Sectional, which is divided into two sub-sectionals and part of the Monmouth Super Sectional.
The postseason begins with regionals from Feb. 13-17 in Classes 3A and 4A.
Sectional contests are set for Feb. 20-21 and Feb. 23, while the state finals are Friday and Saturday, March 3-4, also in Normal.
Hononegah will compete in the 4A Hampshire Sectional, part of the Carpentersville Super Sectional.
The Indians were seeking another 20-win season under longtime coach Randy Weibel.
Athlete’s name: Kelly Loudon
School: Clinton High School
Highlights for each sport, such as all-conference or all-state recognition, team captain, letters won, etc.: Varsity letter as a freshman; second team all-Rock Valley Conference as a sophomore; second team all-conference, team MVP and team captain as a junior; team captain as senior so far
Season scoring stats, records, best times, etc. for each sport: Current 2016-’17 season: 10.9 points and 5.3 rebounds per game, 58.5 percent field goal shooting percentage
Describe yourself on/off the court: On the court, I am very competitive and always pushing myself and my teammates to be the very best. Off the court, I am still determined, but I am much more laid-back, and I like to have fun with my friends and teammates.
How did you get started playing your favorite sport? In fourth grade, my current teammate, Hannah Kalk, told me I should play basketball because I was tall (at the time). She made me practice layups at recess, and I ended up joining the team once I found out that I could actually put the ball in the hoop. I fell in love with the game and have been playing ever since.
Biggest influences or role models and why: Kevin Kalk was my first basketball coach, and he has taught me everything I know about the game. He always has pushed me to be the best I can be, and he still does to this day. I wouldn’t be where I am today without him. And my mom is my No. 1 fan and has never missed one of my games since I started playing. She supports me unconditionally.
Most memorable moment(s) in high school sports: The most memorable moment was when we beat Brodhead my sophomore year. It was the first time we had beaten them in seven years. It was incredible.
What advice would you give younger athletes about competing at the high school and/or collegiate level? Never give up on what you’re working for no matter how hard it gets. All your hard work will pay off in the end.
Favorite athlete(s): Former Wisconsin and current Houston Rockets player Sam Dekker, swimmer Michael Phelps and pro beach volleyball player Kerri Walsh Jennings
Favorite team(s): Wisconsin Badgers
Any other hobbies outside of sports: Spending time with my family, friends and teammates, and doing volunteer work for Key Club and student council.
Post-high school plans: To attend college to pursue a career in physical therapy and continue my basketball career.
Parkview High School will induct three new members into its Athletic Hall of Fame and recognize one of its best teams.
The induction ceremony will take place at halftime of the Vikings’ varsity girls basketball game against Rock Valley Conference rival Clinton on Friday, Jan. 27.
The 2017 inductees, the school’s second class, are David Nelson, class of 1964; Jan Potter, 1980; and coach Chuck Kohlhepp.
The school also will honor the 1949-’50 football team.
Nelson was a three-sport star whose best sport arguably was baseball because he went on to play semipro ball for the Beloit Blues.
He finished with a career pitching record of 31-7, including a sparkling 22-0 mark in league competition. His statistics featured 437 strikeouts and 106 walks while allowing 153 hits and 43 earned runs in 260 innings pitched. Nelson compiled a 0.73 earned run average as a junior and topped it with a miniscule 0.28 as a senior.
Nelson’s three no-hitters helped him earn four letters and three team Most Valuable Player honors while helping the Vikings to four championships.
In basketball, he lettered twice as Parkview won one conference title. Nelson also lettered three times and made the all-conference team twice in football.
Potter lettered twice in basketball and football, playing the latter sport at Milton College.
However, his biggest prep accomplishments occurred on the track, helping the Vikings to WIAA state team crowns in 1979 and ’80.
Potter qualified for state in five events during those final two seasons, winning gold in the 400 as a senior
The four-time letter winner helped Parkview win three conference championships, two regional crowns and one sectional title.
Kohlhepp made his presence felt in three of Parkview’s athletic programs.
He coached softball for 12 years, combining for a 159-68 record that included five regional title squads and four conference championships.
Kohlhepp also was the girls basketball coach for 16 years. His teams went 219-125, earning three league and three regional titles.
He also served as a football assistant for 10 years.
1949-'50 football team
The 1949-’50 football team, which went undefeated, included such players as Richard Roehl, Gerald Roehl, Lawrence Grabow, Duane Reavis, Glen Rumage, James Carlson, Carl Densch, Donald Olson, Robert Francis, Sanford Foslin, John Kinna, Wayne Damrow, Verne Wilke, Marion Millard, Glen Demrow, Lloyd Thorson, George Kretsinger, Lyle Larson, Richard Nyman, Paul Heyerdahl, William Klusmeyer, Bruce Borgwardt, Gerald Johnson, Leroy Staaland, Harris Speich and John Willing.
Illinois’ prep postseason began with boys bowling regional competitions in the single-class format Jan. 14.
Hononegah, South Beloit, Belvidere, Machesney Park and Belvidere North participated in the 11-team Rockford Guilford Regional at Don Carter Lanes in Rockford.
The top four teams and best 10 individuals not on a qualifying squad from each of the 16 regional sites advanced to sectionals. Rockford area athletes moved on to the Vernon Hills Sectional in the Chicago suburbs, which was held Jan. 21.
From there, the best six teams in each of the four sectionals qualified for the state tournament, which is set for Friday and Saturday, Jan. 27-28, in O’Fallon (east of St. Louis).
Brad Sommer’s Hononegah bunch finished second, 40 pins back, in 2015-’16, a year after the Indians won the state title. HHS has finished in the top 10 at state three straight seasons and four of the last five.
The Indians earned the regional title by 264 pins over Machesney Park, with senior Brandon Mooney winning individual honors by nearly 200 pins.
Despite finishing ninth in the regional team standings, two South Beloit bowlers advanced to sectionals: juniors Cullan Boeck and Tray MacCormack.
However, Hononegah slipped to fourth place at Vernon Hills, although that still gave the Indians a coveted spot at state.
Stateline area athletes and teams turned in another banner calendar year in 2016. Here is a look at many of those performances in CSI Media’s annual Year in Review series.
This article focuses on boys and men’s sports. Girls and women’s sports ran last Sunday and can be found at CommunityShoppers.com.
Comets reach the top
Delavan-Darien won the Division 3 state soccer crown Nov. 5, while Southern Lakes rival Elkhorn reached the D-2 title match.
Mike Marse’s Comets walked off with the trophy for a second time in three seasons, defeating Mount Horeb for a second time -- the Vikings won the 2015 title.
DDHS busted loose from a 1-0 first-period lead en route to a 5-1 triumph over Seymour in the semifinals at Uihlein Soccer Park in Milwaukee. Goalie Ricardo Huerta finished with only one save as the Comets outshot the Thunder by a 28-3 margin with five players registering goals.
In the finals showdown, Delavan-Darien opened the scoring with tallies from Julien Riviere and Gerardo Rodriguez in the first 12:27 and held off Mount Horeb the rest of the way for the school’s third trophy in eight appearances while finishing 26-1-2.
The Elks made their second trip and recorded the school’s first state tourney win to reach the championship match for the first time. They fell to Whitefish Bay, 4-0, which notched its second straight title and sixth overall.
Elkhorn wound up 20-4-3, defeating New Richmond, 2-1, in the semis behind Sid Babu’s 16th and 17th goals of the year, including the game winner at 70:11 to overcome a 1-0 deficit.
Demons knock off champs
Burlington eliminated defending champion Janesville Craig in the quarterfinals of the WIAA Division 1 state baseball tournament, using that momentum to carry it to the trophy at Fox Cities Stadium in Grand Chute.
The Demons made their third state appearance a memorable one, and they started it in the second inning of their opener against the Cougars, who had scored three runs on four hits and an error in the first inning. Burlington responded with four runs in the next two innings en route to a 5-3 victory behind standout pitcher Jacob Lindemann, a Wichita State recruit who could get drafted in June 2017.
Burlington then disposed of Green Bay Preble, 9-0, and rallied past Arrowhead after the latter had jumped to a 4-0 cushion after the first inning. The Demons scored twice in the sixth and tacked on four more runs in the seventh inning for the 6-4 win and a 25-5 finish.
Two qualify for football semis
The Badger and Clinton football teams reached the state playoff semifinals in divisions 1 and 5, respectively.
Matt Hensler’s Badgers qualified for the WIAA playoffs for an 11th straight time, advancing to Level 4 for a third time in five years.
Second-seeded Badger disposed of three Big Eight foes by a combined 80-28 before running into Franklin. The Sabers posted a 35-14 victory before grabbing a 14-0 halftime advantage against powerful Kimberly, which ripped off 29 unanswered points to win its fourth consecutive crown.
Badger has accumulated a 10-5 postseason record over the last five years.
Clinton cemented its fourth straight and eighth overall playoff trip, earning three of the school’s four all-time postseason wins.
The Cougars rattled off victories against playoff veterans Marshall (13 trips), Arcadia (23) and Lancaster (26, with seven state titles). Clinton’s season ended, 42-35, at the hands of Cedar Grove-Belgium, which then lost the title game to Amherst, 38-35.
Jeff Spiwak’s Cougars ended 11-2.
Whitewater High School senior Benny Liang finished third in the 100-yard butterfly at the WIAA state Division 2 swimming meet in Madison, cutting nearly 1:40 off his seed time, finishing in 52.28 seconds.
However, his biggest splash again occurred in his specialty event, the 100-yard breaststroke, where he capped off his prep career with his second consecutive D-2 gold medal.
In 2015, Liang entered the competitions with the ninth-best time. He shaved nearly four seconds off that to finish in 59.07 in earning the title. He also swam a leg as the Whippets’ 200 relay team won gold.
In February 2016, Liang, now at Wabash College in Indiana, also saved his best for last, taking a strong lead through the first 50 yards and hanging on, this time clocking a 58.64 to claim the top spot.
Central reaches finale
The Catholic Central boys basketball team advanced to the Division 5 state championship contest, falling to McDonell Central, 63-41.
However, many wouldn’t have predicted the Hilltoppers to get that far, especially when they were sitting at 6-7 overall and saddled with a four-game losing skid on Jan. 23.
But Central went on a seven-game winning streak and entered the postseason having won eight of its last 10. The Hilltoppers then won two regional contests by a combined nine points and two sectional outings by a 17-point margin to reach Madison.
Central got a free throw apiece from Ben Heiligenthal and Frank Koehnke in the final minute for a 37-35 win over Barneveld to reach the finale. Heiligenthal registered 14 points, but the Hilltoppers were no match for McDonell, finishing 19-10 overall.
Grappling with medals
Several area wrestlers made their presence felt at the Kohl Center.
Milton’s Billy Pitzner won the 170-pound title in Division 1 as a junior, posting a 6-4 victory and handing Sawyer Massie of Hudson, a senior, his first loss of the year in the title showdown. Pitzner finished 49-4 after recording two major decisions and a pin en route to his crown.
Elkhorn’s Benji Peak finished third at 113 pounds in D-1. The sophomore registered a 10-1 win and followed it with a pin to reach the semifinals, where he fell, 6-5, to the eventual runner-up. However, Peak rallied for two more decisions to finish 33-4.
Freshman Jackson Hauri of Parkview captured fifth at 106 pounds in D-3, He lost his opener, 9-6, to fall into the wrestlebacks, where he won two of three matches to finish 44-5.
Janesville Parker junior Logan Murdy ended in sixth place at 195 in D-1. He won his opener but lost to eventual unbeaten champion Jacob Raschka of Pewaukee. Murdy then won two matches before losing his final two outings, including an 11-10 decision to settle for sixth.
Circling the track
Craig’s Deon Newson placed fifth in the 300 hurdles (38.83) and ran the second leg in the Cougars’ all-senior foursome that placed sixth in the 400 relay, clocking a 42.73 along with Aristide Serrano, Hozai Ceballos and Peter Larson. The latter also took seventh in the 100 in 11.39.
Beloit Memorial junior Tavien Payton went 22-3 to grab sixth place in the long jump.
In D-2, Evansville senior Noah Schiller ran a 1:56.11 to finish fifth in the 800. East Troy junior Billy Dominski also placed fifth, blazing a 15.26 in the 100 hurdles. Dominski also finished third in the 300 hurdles (39.41), one spot behind Big Foot sophomore Jackson Enz (38.87).
Meanwhile, East Troy senior Jake Wendt captured seventh in the shot put (52-61/4).
Parkview senior Hunter Marshall was a top competitor in Division 3, taking seventh in the 200 (23.30).
Warhawks shine again
UW-Whitewater didn’t quite duplicate most recent history, but Warhawk teams continued to make their presence felt on a national stage.
The football team reached the national quarterfinals, qualifying for the postseason for the 11th time in the last 12 years.
Their campaign ended against John Carroll, 31-14, with a 17-0 third quarter deficit the difference.
UW-W’s soccer team advanced to the second round of the NCAA playoffs, as did the basketball squad. UW-W’s track team was fifth nationally in the outdoor championships.
The UW-W baseball team lost both of its World Series games by a combined three runs. It was the school’s sixth appearance since 2004.
Two in a row
Harrison Hearne’s Hononegah tennis program earned its second league and sectional titles in a row, its only such accomplishments in history.
The Indians’ sectional efforts featured their excellent doubles tandems. Brandon Kim and Hsing-Hao Louh defeated teammates in fellow junior Josh Euhus and sophomore Parker Hearne in the final.
That bodes well for another strong Hononegah run in 2017.
Bucs reach NCAAs
Beloit College’s baseball team shared the North Division title and qualified for the NCAA Division III Midwest Regional tournament after winning its second MWC championship and first since 2009.
The Bucs lost both postseason contests to finish 27-14, which tied for the second-most wins in school history.
Dave DeGeorge was named the league’s top coach, while senior pitcher Ryan Kaveney and junior infielders Mike Gulve and Kam Sallee made the North’s first team.
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