Saint Viator News

Delivering the latest news from Saint Viator High School.

Category: Athletics (Page 1 of 7)

Saint Viator Boys and Girls Basketball Teams Reach New Heights

BB7F2256-4C7F-479E-9B33-0988236DA61BBoth the boys and girls basketball teams are having a great winning season. The boys basketball team battled for first place in the ESCC on Feb. 15, a game that was also televised on the UTOO network as the game of the week. The Saint Viator community of current and future students, alumni, parents, grandparents and friends packed the gym to witness a decisive victory over Marian Catholic, ranked #7.

This win comes after the boys team received the #1 seed in the Grayslake Central Sectional. Next, the boys will play for the Conference Championship on Feb. 20, and Saint Viator will be hosting the Regional Championship during the week of Feb. 25.

Saint Viator High School also hosted the girls 3A Regional, in which the girls basketball team won their fourth consecutive regional title. The girls team now moves on to play in the Carmel Sectional Semi-final on Monday, February 18, at 6:00 p.m. vs. #4 seed Johnsburg.

If the girls win against Johnsburg, they will play the winner of #5 seed Carmel vs. #2 seed Marengo on Thursday, Feb. 21, for the Sectional Championship. Athletic Director Jason Kuffel attributes recent successes to the dedication of both the coaching staff to their students, and the student athletes to their craft.

“This is a great time in Saint Viator Athletics,” said Kuffel. “This is the first time in school history that both our boys and girls basketball teams have been awarded the #1 overall seed in their respective sectional in the same year.”

Cole Kmet ’17: From ND to Cooperstown

Cole Kmet '18.

Cole Kmet ’17.

Cole Kmet ’17 holds a rare distinction among student-athletes at the University of Notre Dame. Not only is he a dual-sport athlete, but he is the first dual-sport athlete to have been the starting pitcher in a baseball game since 2010.

That uniqueness was not lost on officials during last season’s Shamrock Series football game, played at Yankee Stadium, when the Fighting Irish faced the Orange from Syracuse. Turns out Kmet was the only player who also plays baseball to appear in the game.

For the record, he caught one 17-yard pass during the game and came in multiple times on special teams and as a blocking tight end.

Sports writers found it ironic that this left-handed pitcher was wearing pinstripes at Yankee Stadium, to play football.

Now, that moment will live on in history. Last month, officials with the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Coopersburg announced they had requested and received Kmet’s helmet be added to their collection.

Photo courtesy of Katie Meyers/Fighting Irish Media.

Photo courtesy of Katie Meyers/Fighting Irish Media.

It is the only football helmet to be acquired by the Hall of Fame, though there are other pieces of football history preserved in Cooperstown, officials said.

Jon Shestakofsky, vice president of communications & education at the museum said that while the majority of their collection comes from the baseball diamond, they also collect other pieces that tell the story of baseball’s connections off the field.

“We were particularly interested in collecting the helmet used by Cole,” Shestakofsky said, “a two-sport athlete who also stars on Notre Dame’s baseball team, as he clearly has a love for baseball.”

The acquisition had to be approved by the NCAA compliance department, and Kmet, himself, but that was an easy call.

“It’s obviously very cool and a tremendous honor to have something of mine in the Baseball Hall of Fame,” Kmet said. “It’s cool to know that when I go there someday I can see my helmet in the hall.”

He also liked the uniqueness of the acquisition.

“How cool to have a piece of football memorabilia make its way all the way to the Baseball Hall of fame,” Kmet added.

Kmet learned of the honor in late December, during a football practice in preparation for the team’s Cotton Bowl appearance as part of college football’s Bowl Championship Series semi-finals.

“We were able to have our head baseball coach, Mik Aoki, come out to a football practice to surprise Cole that the Hall of Fame wanted his helmet,” said Michael Scholl, assistant director of athletics communications. “So that was a special moment and made it even more unique.”

No doubt, Kmet and his family will make a visit to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. After all, they are a baseball family, with Casey Kmet ‘19 committing to play baseball this fall at Notre Dame, and learning this month that he is a pre-season All-American.

Cross Country Teams Return to State Meet

DqxLgyRUwAApWc9The boys’ and girls’ cross-country teams left with a bang on Wednesday for the IHSA state finals. Literally, Saint Viator’s drum line led them through the hallways as teachers and students alike cheered on these state-bound runners.

After the excitement, the two teams and their coaches boarded buses bound for Detweiler Park in Peoria, where the state finals will take place on Saturday. Coach Wayne Edeleman leads both the girls’ and boys’ teams, with the help of assistant coaches Bill Stanczak, John Curtin and Trisha Stapleton.

While both teams have run at the state meet before, this year’s berths are special, their coaches say.

“The girls embraced one another, starting with June summer camp, and they are now reaping the rewards of morning runs and tempo runs, with a run at Detweiller Park on Saturday,” says Coach Stanczak.

The boys’ team lost five seniors off last year’s state team, and they feared they might not make it out of sectionals, Stanczak adds.

“Their regional and sectional championships came through hard work and determination,” Coach Stanczak adds, “and the energy of a freshman runner (Mike Schumacher) who split the lead running role with Patric Natindim.”

Dqid0DhXgAE4kPUEven though the boys’ team made it to state last year, this year’s team won its first sectional title in program history. In all, Saint Viator boys are making their seventh state appearance, all coming since 2011.

At last weekend’s sectional, the Lions were led by Mike Schumacher (10th, 16:44), Matt Goss (15th, 16:58.5), Patrick Natindim (16th, 16:59.5), Jason Doland (25th, 17:24.4), Patrick Schumacher (27th, 17:27.3), Nathan Kochera (56th, 18:08.6) and Connor Flynn (58th, 18:15.1). Also accompanying them to state are Dan Bottcher, and Richard Varvara.

The girls’ team is just as strong. They qualified for state for the fourth time in program history and second year in a row, while also winning regionals. Among recent years, they also have qualified for state in 2009 and 2012,

Leading the Lions and heading to state are Katie Castelli (4th, 18:44.5), Payton McDonnell (5th, 19:09.9), a four-time state qualifier, Joy Bergstrom (7th, 19:39.4), Maura Hogaboom (16th, 20:30.5), Mary Grace Hegberg (17th, 20:30.6), Claire Bottcher (18th, 20:32.6) and Mia Rafferty (33rd, 21:41.3). Alternates also making the trip are: Sophis Limberakis, Celia Carnel, Natalie Krause, and Holly Ferrara.

Saint Viator Golfer Leads Team to ESCC Championship

CrawfordTimmy Crawford ’19 has been medaling at IHSA golf tournaments since his freshman year, but now as a senior co-captain, his golf game took on a new challenge.

“It’s a different kind of pressure,” Timmy says. “Now, as a senior, I know I’m expected to medal.”

And medal he did, at last week’s ESCC conference meet. Timmy earned the first-place medal, for the second time in four years, and led his team to a conference championship. He is the first in Saint Viator’s boys’ golf program to take first in conference, two times.

“It’s a pretty awesome achievement,” says Coach Jack Halpin, of Timmy, who scored a 70 at the tournament, or two under par.

Timmy’s latest medal capped a season where he finished in the top five in every tournament and took first in four of them. Over the summer, he competed in American Junior Golf Association tournaments in Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, South Carolina, and Wisconsin, and all before prospective college coaches looking on.

Still, he says, if there’s one thing he’s learned during his four years in Saint Viator’s golf program, it’s that it’s not about individual honors.

“Playing at Saint Viator has taught me a ton about the team aspect of the sport,” Timmy says. “Before my freshman year, all I did was play for myself, but now I realize that every shot counts toward the team score. You want to play better to help the team.”

Timmy grew up playing golf with his grandfather, Bob Brehm, and his uncles, including Greg Brehm ’79, and so along with his love of basketball, he knew he wanted to play golf in high school and beyond.

In order to advance his game, Timmy works out in the weight room at Saint Viator, while playing four to five times a week indoors during the offseason. He also works with John Perna ’00, who played golf for Coach Halpin and later at Florida Gulf Coast University.

Perna now runs a golf academy, TPS Player Service, where he trains professional, collegiate and top junior players. At his Downers Grove facility, he and his staff work with players to understand ball flight physics while improving performance under the most intense tournament pressure.

“It’s not golf instruction, it’s golf training,” Timmy says. “He uses a launch monitor to measure our ball flight and other technology to help with putting while helping with the mental aspect of the game and course management.”

Still, Timmy and his teammates have more pressing things on their mind than mechanics. They hope to advance out of regionals, which take place Tuesday at Old Orchard Country Club in Prospect Heights.

“We finished second last year at the state championships,” Timmy says. “This year our goal is to get back to the state championships, and this time win it.”

Class of 2008 Alumnus Named New Boys Lacrosse Coach

Gaeger_PatrickRecently appointed Athletic Director Jason Kuffel has announced the appointment of Patrick Gaeger as the new Lacrosse Head Coach at Saint Viator High School. Gaeger, a 2008 graduate, recently joined the staff as Assistant Director of Enrollment. He returned to his alma mater from Saint Laurence High School in Chicago where he had served as head coach of the lacrosse team.

“We are extremely fortunate to have a coach who helped build our young but successful tradition of success in lacrosse as a player, join us as our coach,” said Kuffel. In addition to his stint as head coach at Saint Laurence, Gaeger was Associate Head Coach at Robert Morris University and has been involved in the sport at the club level. After a stellar career at Saint Viator, Gaeger played collegiately at Adrian College. He replaces Bill Sanford who finished his head coaching career 3rd all-time in wins for Illinois Lacrosse, a 4x ESCC coach of the year and the 2011 IHSLA coach of the year.

“We fully expect that the standards established by Coach Sanford will continue under the stewardship of Patrick Gaeger,” said Kuffel. “We continue to raise the bar on expectations for our student-athletes not only in the field of play but in the classroom and in the community. Our athletics program stands firmly on our pillars of academic success and faith formation for young men and women, and as a graduate and employee of Saint Viator, Coach Gaeger is well-equipped to meet and exceed our expectations.”

In addition to his work in the Enrollment Department, Gaeger is also working as an Assistant Coach during the football season. “I am honored and humbled by this opportunity, and welcome the challenge of upholding the standards established at Saint Viator,” Gaeger said. “I look forward to getting to know our athletes and their families, and pursuing excellence in all we do in the lacrosse program.”

Last season the team finished with an overall record of 16-5, bowing out of the IHSA State Playoffs at the hands of the powerful New Trier program.

Saint Viator Lacrosse Nets an All American and Academic All-American

SVHS_122Saint Viator’s boys’ lacrosse team learned this month that one of its players was named a High School All-American and another was named an Academic All American, as determined by U.S. Lacrosse, the national governing body of the sport.

Elijah Black of Mundelein, an Ohio State recruit, was named an All-American while Drake Imhoff of Barrington was named an Academic All American. Both selections recognized their achievements on and off the field.

Their selections come on the heels of a standout season for the Lions, in the first year of IHSA lacrosse. They advanced to the sectional semi-finals, before losing to perennial powerhouse, New Trier. However, they posted a 15-4 season and had four players make all-state, including Kyle Pearce ’18, Wyatt Rich ’18, Luke Baer ’19 and Elijah Black.

Coach Bill Sanford described both Elijah and Drake as tremendous leaders on the team, who led their teammates by example.

“Elijah put a tremendous amount of pressure on opposing defenses, which helped create space for his teammates,” Coach Sanford said. “He was more than willing to share the ball, which led to a really balanced offense.

“I think his game has grown a tremendous amount in two years,” Coach Sanford added, “and will continue to do so over the next year before he heads off to Columbus to play for Coach Myers at OSU.”

Elijah came into lacrosse season, coming off wrestling, where he was one of only two Lions to advance downstate, eventually losing in the second round. This versatile athlete also plays football. As a running back, he helped lead his team to a consecutive Class 5A playoff appearance last fall.

Drake is a two-time captain and he was an All-Conference selection this year in the East Suburban Catholic Conference. While he fielded offers to play NCAA lacrosse at schools like Haverford and Middlebury out east, he chose instead to concentrate on academics and attend Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC.

“Drake consistently lived up to our expectations, on and off the field,” Coach Sanford said. “He was a two-year captain that brought maturity and focus to our team, and he was able to apply those traits to all of his endeavors.”

Saint Viator Alumnus Jason Kuffel Announced as New Athletic Director

Kuffel_JasonJason Kuffel, a graduate of the Class of 1999, has been appointed as the school’s new Athletic Director. In making the announcement, Saint Viator High School President Brian Liedlich noted that Kuffel is the first alumnus of the school to serve in this capacity.

“I am exceptionally pleased to announce today that Jason Kuffel has accepted my offer to become the new Athletic Director for Saint Viator High School,” Liedlich said in an internal memo to the faculty and staff of the school. Kuffel has served as our Director of Enrollment for the past four years while also serving stints as an Assistant Coach in the school’s successful basketball and lacrosse programs.

According to Liedlich, “Jason stood out among the more than 90 initial applications we received from many qualified individuals across the Chicago area and beyond. While rapid, our search was intense and thorough, and I believe with certainty that Jason is the right person to guide us into the next era of Saint Viator Athletics.”

For his part, Kuffel welcomes the challenge to continue his service to his alma mater. “It has been an honor to help expand our student body numbers through my role as Director of Enrollment for the past few years. It has allowed me to get to know so many families throughout the entire region. I look forward to the challenges of now working with our outstanding coaches and trainers to guide many of those students through their athletic pursuits in a Saint Viator uniform.”

Kuffel will be replacing his close friend Marty Jennings who has accepted a role in the Development department at his alma mater, Loyola Academy in Wilmette. Both Liedlich and Kuffel thanked Jennings for his service over the last four highly successful years for the school’s athletic teams.

“Jason not only follows Marty Jennings, but a succession of outstanding Athletic Directors at Saint Viator including Fr. Pat Cahill who our gym is named after, and Bob Artman, whose name is associated with one of our highest student awards. I know that Jason is more than up to the task,” Liedlich said, noting that the decision to select Kuffel was unanimous among the seven-member search committee.

“Our mission for Saint Viator athletics goes well beyond excellence in the field of competition. We are committed to having our coaches and athletes not only be leaders on their teams and exhibit the highest levels of respect and sportsmanship but to use their place on a Saint Viator team to set an example in service and sacrifice in the world around them. Jason has exhibited an exemplary commitment to integrity, ethics and Catholic tradition in his work as Director of Enrollment and I know he will do the same as Athletic Director.”

Kuffel noted that the environment has changed a great deal since his playing days at the school with year-round programs, the addition of an on-staff strength and conditioning coach, some of the summer camps for grade school and junior high students, and the rapid expansion of technology in training and coaching. “I am excited to implement some of the innovative technology that is now available to student-athletes while upholding the more than 55 years of Saint Viator Lion tradition.”

Kuffel will begin his new role immediately.


Boys Track & Field Team Qualifies for State

imageThe meet began with salutatorian, Jeremy Yoder hitting the state qualifying mark on his last long jump in preliminaries, after scratching the first jump and being 2 inches short the second, stressful to say the least. Kudos to Jeremy for a strong finish.

Next, Patric Natindim ’21 anchored the 4×800 relay team qualifying with an easy 2nd place finish. Runner included seniors Brady Collis, John Leininger and Richard Rinka.

Sophomore Athan Hueslkamp followed suit with a 1st place win in discus with a qualifying 141′ throw. 2nd place was almost eight feet behind Athan.

As the 4×100 relay team stepped on the track, with three seniors and one junior, they lead the competition as Michael Steadman started the race in 1st place handing off to Will Sheriff, then to Jeremiah Hare, who finally passed the baton to Jacob Nelson. Unfortunately, even with our qualifying 2nd place finish, one exchange was out of the legal zone and therefore resulted in a disqualification.

Michael Steadman competed in the 100-meter dash but missed the qualifying standard by fourteen-tenths of a second. Bouncing back, Steadman competed in the 400-meter dash. Once again, leading the competition in first until the last 50 meters, as he was passed by another runner, finishing in second place by only thirty-four tenths of a second with a state qualifying time of 50.76.

Since our 4×100 relay was disqualified, some last minute adjustments were made to our 4×200 relay team to enhance our chances to qualify for state. Jeremy Yoder, already a long jump state qualifier, subbed as the lead leg. With Jeremy passing to Will Sheriff, it propelled us into the lead, and with Jeremiah Hare and Jacob Nelson, the third and fourth legs giving it their all and placed us in 2nd. The team of boys shaved 2.5 seconds off their best time this season. Seeded 6th in the race, we definitely upset a few teams who had their minds set on qualifying.

Nearing the nights’ conclusion, Patric Natindim ran a very close 1600 meter race with the entire field keeping pace the first three laps. Waiting until the last 100 meters, on lap four, the top five runners, Natindim included, broke out into a sprint where he edged out the third-place runner, to cross the finish line as a 1600m state qualifier.

As always, the meet wrapped up with the 4×400 relay team of Steadman, Rinka, Peters, and Sheriff. Every team positions their men throughout the meet to be able to compete in this last make or break event. Beginning with Michael Steadman who, once again, ran an excellent first leg, was the first runner to hand off to the second leg, Richard Rinka. Rinka led the field of second leg competitors to the cut line around the track by 10 meters before two other teams began edging up on him as he handed off to Nate Peters. Peters stayed with the pack of now six teams vying for the state qualifying finish. As he handed off to Sheriff we needed to take down two teams ahead of us.
Sheriff sprinted around the curve as the field started to spread apart and made a move on the last 200 meters of the race. Definitely giving his all, we finished with a season-best but missed qualifying by 2 seconds.

The sectional proved to be a very good night for the Saint Viator Boys Track & Field Team. Each member contributed, giving 100% and in result, Saint Viator qualified the most relays and individual events in history.
2018 State Qualifiers 

Long Jump: 21′-7″ Jeremy Yoder – Senior 
Discus: 141’3″  Athan Huelskamp – Sophomore 
4×800 Relay:  8:21.28 
Brady Collis- Sr, John Leininger- Sr, Richard Rinka- Sr, Patric Natindim-So
alt. (Nate Peters, Matt Goss, Michael Steadman, Jason Doland)
4×200 Relay: 1:34.07
Jeremy Yoder -Sr, Will Sheriff- Sr, Jeremiah Hare- Sr, Jacob Nelson-Jr
alt. (Kennedy Gawin, Joseph Turzitti, Lucas Barisas, Will Walberg)
400 dash: 50.76 Michael Steadman- Senior 
1600m: 4:34.15 Patric Natindim- Sophomore 
Notable Saint Viator Finishes
  • Athan Huelskamp- 6th Shot Put 41-10.5
  • Kentaro Lim- 8th in Pole Vault 10’0″
  • Kennedy Gawin- 18’0 Long Jump *personal record
  • Jonathan Ngoy – High Jump 5’3″  *personal record
  • Christian Duenez- 28′ Triple Jump
  • Bryce McDonnell- 3200m 11:19.20 *personal record
  • Ryan Springer – 3200m 11:27.83
  • Joseph Turzitti- 100m 11.79 *personal record
  • Matt Goss – 800m 2:27.39
  • Thomas Gattuso – 400m 58.02  *personal record
  • Daniel Debabneh- 300 hurdles 54.39
  • Jason Doland – 1600 4:57.72
  • Kennedy Gawin – 200m 24.98 *personal record
  • Jeremiah Hare – 200m 24.99

Senior Bowls a Strike and Punches Ticket to Vanderbilt

IMG_8802Angelique Dalesandro ‘18 holds a rare spot in more than 50 years of Saint Viator athletic history: She is the first student to earn a Division I scholarship to bowl in college.

This fall, Angelique will be bowling at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, whose women’s team just won the National Collegiate Women’s Bowling Championships, held last month in St. Louis.

“I’m excited about how good they are,” said Dalesandro. “I’ve never been on a team before, so between that, and having teammates, it’s all new to me.”

IMG_8798At the spring signing day in April, Angelique made a point to thank her father, Dan Dalesandro, with starting her in the game and being her biggest fan. He was the one who enrolled her in a Daddy/Daughter league at the former Rolling Meadows Lanes when Angelique was 5.

She advanced to youth leagues when she was a little older, but it wasn’t until after her freshman year, after playing volleyball for one season, that she returned to the sport she loved.

“I went bowling with friends and did really well,” Angelique says. “I had forgotten how much I missed it.”

She returned to the lanes and hasn’t looked back. For the last three years, she has headed to River Rand Bowl in Des Plaines for practice after school. Without a team at Saint Viator, she competes as an individual, but it was at the Junior Gold Championships last summer in Cleveland, where Angelique stood out and drew the attention of the Vanderbilt coaches.

Her private coach, William Clark, points out that it is the biggest youth tournament in the country, with 3,800 bowlers, and nearly 1,000 alone in the girls’ division, ages 16-20. Among her peers, Clark says Angelique finished among the top 1 percent.

“College coaches are always looking at how well you can execute your shot,” Clark says, “as well as how you throw the ball, adjust to lane conditions and handle adversity.”

Angelique says that she is working hard to meet the level of play at Vanderbilt, but this much she knows: To bowl in college, she says, is a dream come true.

John Scully ’10 Leads Watertown Wolves to Historic Championship

John Scully Wolves Cup 2John Scully ’10 is having the time of his life.

In April, he celebrated his first professional hockey championship, as a member of the Watertown Wolves, a minor league hockey team based in Watertown, NY, which won the Federal Hockey League championship during its historic season this year. His team even was recognized on NBC during the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs.

“This what you play for, so this means a lot to me,” said Scully, team captain, in an interview in the Watertown Daily News.

Scully was the first Wolves’ player to hoist the coveted Commissioner’s Cup, as the team celebrated winning the championship after defeating the top-seeded Port Huron Prowlers, three games to one.

John Scully Wolves Cup1As a rookie, Scully played on a Danville Dashers team that reached the FHL Final in 2015, only to have the team come up short in losing to the Wolves in the fifth game of the series in Watertown.

Scully began playing hockey at a neighborhood rink in Arlington Heights and one of the things that drew him to Saint Viator, he says, was the chance to play high-level hockey.

He is the oldest of six Scully siblings, who all have attended Saint Viator. His youngest brother, Jim ’19, plays tennis and performs in the musical. His parents, Dennis and Rita, who runs the McKenna Marketplace at Saint Viator, are his biggest fans.

“He earned his degree, and if he can go play hockey, I hoped he could play as long as he can,” Dennis Scully said in an interview in the Daily Illini. “Who wouldn’t want to do that?”

Scully played in Saint Viator’s club program, ultimately being named to the all-state team as a senior. He played under Coach Evan Poulakidas his junior and senior years, who reached out to Scully when the Wolves won the championship.

After graduating from Saint Viator, Scully continued playing hockey, at the club level, at the University of Illinois, where he also earned a business degree. Ironically, just this year, university officials announced they are looking into the possibility of launching an NCAA team that would compete in the Big 10.

Even at the club level, Scully scored big numbers. As a senior he recorded 23 goals and 10 assists, leading his team to a 2014 Central States Collegiate Hockey League championship.

John Scully Wolves team 1“Towards the end of my college career I realized that I might have a chance to play minor pro,” Scully says. “I figured I should at least give it a try, and I was fortunate to sign a pro contract.”

He started out with the Bloomington Thunder, before playing with the Danville Dashers and now the Watertown Wolves. He describes his current team as being a couple of steps down from the Chicago Wolves, but still considered minor league professional hockey.

“Watertown is not an official farm team for an NHL team,” Scully says, “but some guys from our league do get called up to the next level which is affiliated with the NHL.”

Scully says that getting to play pro hockey right out of college really motivated him to work hard and try to make it to the next level.

“It’s still fun,” he says. “Waking up every day to go work at the rink and do something you love is a dream come true.

“The places I’ve been, the people I’ve met, and the experiences I’ve had,” he says, “are because of the game of hockey and I couldn’t be more thankful.”

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