Saint Viator News

Delivering the latest news from Saint Viator High School.

Category: Athletics (Page 1 of 7)

24th Annual Million Dollar Classic to Celebrate Saint Viator Athletics

1Join us at The Club at Wynstone on Monday, June 24, in North Barrington for Saint Viator High School’s annual Million Dollar Classic. This event raises funds to support Saint Viator athletics and celebrates what it means to be a student-athlete. More than $2.5 million has been raised to benefit the school’s athletic program through the years.

All skill levels are welcomed and encouraged to play on a course known to be “one of the best in Illinois,” according to Golf Digest. In addition to 18 holes of golf, the day-long event includes lunch, dinner, prizes and a raffle for all participants. New this year is a ticket option for a Social Day at the Club, for non-golfers to join in on the festivities.

“The Million Dollar Classic allows the young men and women participating in sports to be champions athletically, academically and spiritually,” said Tom Ramsden, Vice-President of Development at Saint Viator High School. “This is a day when the Saint Viator community can connect over a game of golf with one common goal in mind, to assist the student-athletes within our athletic programs.”

Over 80 percent of Saint Viator students participate in at least one of the 27 sports offered each year. The Million Dollar Classic benefits all athletics programs and, in recent years, has provided funding for a new camera system and digital scoreboards for Mahoney Court. This event allows for further innovation and growth within the walls of Saint Viator High School.

As long-time Saint Viator advocates, the Murphy family has generously gone above and beyond to ensure the event is successful. Dan, JoAnn, Dan ‘04 and Jim ‘08 are the presenting sponsors of this year’s Million Dollar Classic.

Tickets for Million Dollar Classic can be purchased online at www.saintviator.com/mdc.

Guests also have the option of purchasing tickets for the dinner only. Sponsorship opportunities are still available for the event.

Athletic Director Jason Kuffel, and Director of Development, Kristen Daniels, talk Million Dollar Classic on an episode of the school’s podcast series. Listen here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/saintviatorhs/2019/05/10/2019-million-dollar-classic.

Varsity Softball Hits Back at Cancer

D7s85rvW4AIKZbNThe girls’ softball team had an extra incentive to score runs this year: With every run they scored, the Lady Lions raised more money for a Roselle-based cancer support organization called Phil’s Friends.

At their end of the year banquet, its founder and two-time cancer survivor, Phil Zielke, was on hand to accept their check for $2,254 and share his inspirational story with players and their families.

“For most of us this was the best part of the service project,” says Cecilia Kaiser ’19, co-captain, “because we could see how our hard work would affect others.”

Before the season even opened, Cece and her co-captain, Maggie VanValkenberg ’19, met with Coach Scotillo to discuss weaving in a service project during the season.

D7s85rxW4AAWpvM“Phil’s Friends’ mission hit especially close to home,” Cece says. “I’ve known people who have beaten cancer, and I know how much strength they possess. I also know how difficult it is when they try to go through it alone. Phil’s Friends ensures that no one battles cancer alone.”

Zielke was first diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2004 and it returned in 2005. He endured many rounds of chemotherapy and radiation as well as a stem cell transplant before finally beating it. In looking back on his journey, Zielke points to the care packages, encouraging cards, and the outpouring of prayers that helped him make it.

He started the organization to bring hope to other cancer patients, through those same types of tangible efforts. In 2009, Zielke left his teaching career to devote himself full time to the organization. Within months, he opened Phil’s Friends Hope Center in Roselle.

The Lady Lions drew pledges for every run they scored, with the hopes of enabling more cancer patients to received care packages, cards, and prayers.

“On days where we played a tough team and didn’t score any runs, supporting Phil’s Friends was a driving force for us to work harder,” Cece says. “On the day we scored 12 runs, Coach Scotillo said that Phil’s Friends would be happy about our successful day.”

At the end of the season, the players realized they had come together more as a team while working for the charity.

D7s85ryX4AAKiSR“Coach Scotillo has always believed that coaching is about more than just the sport,” Cece added. “Phil’s Friends’ message of hope and overcoming obstacles was a perfect lesson for our team.”

College-Bound Student-Athletes Make Their Commitments

SlwrQGpKQ7uQZwJMNPFknA_thumb_837Saint Viator High School held a rare third national student-athlete signing day Friday, to accommodate the growing number of students who are committing to play their sport at the college level.

Teammates, coaches, parents and classmates made for a standing room only crowd in the Academic Commons for the ceremony. Student-athletes seated at the head table include those pursuing football, lacrosse, soccer, synchronized skating, tennis, volleyball, women’s hockey and Division 1 acrobatics and tumbling, at wide-ranging colleges and universities across the country.

This brings to nearly 30 the number of students who formally signed national collegiate letters of intent this year.

“The breadth and reach of the schools our students are going to continues to expand,” said Mr. Brian Liedlich, president. “Our students are high achieving and rise to the occasion. I know they will make a profound impact on all of the communities they are going to.”

College-bound student-athletes included:

  • Bella Pierce – Quinnipiac University (Acrobatics & Tumbling)
  • Hunter Loprino – Belmont Abbey (Lacrosse)
  • Niko Weder – Augustana College (Football)
  • Kevin Murphy – Illinois Wesleyan University (Football)
  • Kaylee Liberty – Endicott College (Women’s Hockey)
  • Payton McDonnell – Loras College (Soccer)
  • Pearl Mueller – Loras College (Lacrosse)
  • Emma Zajac – Ohio Wesleyan University (Tennis)
  • Carrie Leazer – Seton Hall University (Volleyball)
  • Jessica Johnson – Adrian College (Synchronized Skating)
  • Will Hartman – DePauw University (Soccer)

Carrie Leazer was the starting libero for the volleyball team’s first state appearance in 2017, in which they ultimately placed fourth, and she moved to outside hitter this year. Leazer now takes her game to the Seton Hill University Greensburg, PA.

Hunter Loprino will bring his game as an attacker to Belmont Abbey College in Belmont, NC, where its Crusaders were 14-3 overall last year.

“Hunter is the epitome of not only a leader but a Lions’ Lacrosse member,” says Coach Pat Gaeger ’08. “I have never seen a young man capture the attention of his peers like Hunter does.”

Jessica Johnson holds the distinction of being the first Saint Viator athlete to sign a letter of intent to compete in synchronized skating in college. Jessica skates with the Chicago Jazz Synchronized Skating Team, based in Rolling Meadows, and has competed multiple times at international competitions.

She now heads to Adrian College in Adrian, Michigan, whose squad medaled in every competition it entered this year, including earning the pewter medal at the 2019 U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships.

“Adrian’s program is very competitive,” Jessica said. “It’s a good fit.”

Payton McDonnell brings her soccer skills to Loras College in Dubuque, where her older brother, Miles, also plays soccer.

“With him there, it felt like home when I visited,” Payton said. “They’ve got a very competitive program. They won their conference last year and did well in the NCAA tournament. I hope I can help them make a deeper run next year.”

Her classmate, Pearl Mueller, will be heading to Loras as well, to play lacrosse for the Duhawks.

“I liked the community at Loras,” Pearl said. “Everyone there was very welcoming.”

Athletic Director Jason Kuffel thanked all of the parents, coaches and teammates for their support over the years. He went on to commend the student-athletes for all of their hard work and bringing their passion to the game,

“We will watch for you and root for you as you take your game to the college level,” Kuffel said. “It truly is a great day to be a Lion.”

 

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.

 

Page 1 of 7

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén