Saint Viator News

Delivering the latest news from Saint Viator High School.

Category: Athletics (Page 1 of 7)

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.”

Cole Kmet ’17 Takes the Mound and Then the Gridiron

Over the course of one weekend, Cole Kmet ’17, started in two Division I sports at the University of Notre Dame: He was the opening pitcher for the Irish when they faced the Hokies from Virginia Tech. One day later, he started with the football team as a tight end in the school’s annual spring scrimmage showcase, its Blue and Gold Game.

Kmet is the first dual sport athlete to start a baseball game since 2010, and he was among the first interviews during its 29-hour live streaming Notre Dame Day 2018 event on Sunday, in which continuous events, interviews, and social media posts engage alumni to give back to the university.

In Kmet’s interview, he met with Notre Dame alum, Joe Theismann, a pro-bowler and Super Bowl winner, who watched the spring game from the sidelines. At the opening of the four-minute interview, Theismann asked Kmet why his high school coach asked him to address his teammates before one of their games during the run toward the state championship.

“It was a huge honor for me,” Kmet said. “I’ve been with those guys for through my whole high school career. They’re my best friends.

“To have my coach tell me that I could talk to them, was really special,” he added “and something I’ll hold in my heart for the rest of my life.”

Theismann later asked Kmet why, of all the universities, did he choose Notre Dame?

“It was a good fit for me,” Kmet said. “My high school translated well to here. Being able to play both (football and baseball) here is a big deal and Coach (Brian) Kelly allowed me to play both, which is huge.

“The academic standard here is set very high,” he added, “and I knew that’s something I wanted. I knew it would make me a better person.”

That same day, Kmet was featured in a 1-minute video, created by Fighting Irish Media and its more than 177,000 followers, that followed Kmet through the weekend, suiting up for baseball and then football, called “24 Hours with Cole Kmet.”

Spring Sports Teams Find Rigorous Competition Over Spring Break

Members of the baseball, lacrosse and softball teams got a head start on this year’s spring season: They took the opportunity to have a training trip over spring break.

DZJLcCBU0AE4EguTake the baseball team. In their first season since winning the state championship last year, Head Coach Mike Manno led his team to Scottsdale, AZ, for a tournament that he hoped would solidify and strengthen them.

Both his varsity and junior varsity teams had the chance to play solid competition, with varsity players involved in four games while the JV played in three. While basking in the warmth and sunshine, the Lions also held two practices, allowing them to make the most of their time there.

When they weren’t on the diamond, Manno and his teams climbed Camelback Mountain, enjoyed four team dinners together and they even combined to outdo one another in a hilarious skit night.

“It was a great opportunity to learn more about our kids — outside of baseball,” said Coach Manno, a 1994 Saint Viator graduate, and Illinois Coach of the Year last year. “It’s a great trip every year and it allows us to bond together for seven days.”

DZLO84gV4AAltayDean Bill Sandford and his assistant coach, Jason Kuffel ’99, led the lacrosse team out to the east coast, where they played highly competitive teams from New Jersey and the Philadelphia areas.

“Going to a region of the country where our sport is played consistently at a higher, more rigorous level is an annual awakening for our guys,” says Coach Sanford, a native of New Jersey, who last year led the Lions to the ESCC title and to the Elite Eight of the IHSA tournament.

“Between the five programs we competed against, I would say the coaches combined for well over 100 years of coaching experience,” Coach Sanford added. “That’s hard to find out here.”

In addition to playing and practicing, the team climbed the “Rocky stairs” at the Philadelphia Art Museum, ate iconic cheesesteak sandwiches, played Top Golf and went paintballing in rural New Jersey, and all before taking in a Division I game between Rutgers and Delaware.

DZeIboYWkAImWM2Girls’ softball Coach John Scotillo led the Lady Lions down to Walt Disney World in Orlando, where they played in a tournament at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. They go every other year, where the sunny weather provides the team their first meaningful practices on the field.

DZURRTdWkAAWZSUBut it is the bonding time that Coach Scotillo likes, from their day spent at Walt Disney World, to fun times at the hotel pool, to their team dinners.

Two of Coach Scotillo’s assistant coaches are alumni. Julie Sweeney ’11 and Bridget Urbanus ’10 were on the first Disney trip the team took, in 2010.

DZJVXxGU8AEHEVN“They remember almost nothing of that season,” Coach Scotillo says, “but they have great memories of the trip. lt was rewarding for me to see them regale the team with stories from their spring trip.”

Team members said the most memorable part was the afternoon they spent at the Boys & Girls Club in Orlando, volunteering in the after-school program. Its activities involve more than 100 grade school children after school. The Lady Lions accompanied youngsters through different educational stations, from computers and French class, homework help, and cooking.

“To a person, they all agreed it was the highlight of the trip,” Coach Scotillo said. “I was very proud of them, embodying the spirit of Saint Viator in action.”

Boys’ Basketball Nets Major Conference Honors

img_0028Saint Viator’s boys’ basketball team is on a roll. Not only did the team go undefeated through the rigorous East Suburban Catholic Conference schedule this year, but now they are receiving their just rewards.

Just this week, Head Coach Quin Hayes ’95 was named ESCC coach of the year, while Jeremiah Hernandez ’19 was named co-player of the year with Morgan Taylor of Marist High School. What’s more, Peter Lambesis ’18 and Trevon Calvin ’19 also were named to the all-conference team.

The awards were announced before the team begins its journey in the IHSA state playoffs. They play Rolling Meadows at 7 p.m. tonight in the first round of the Class 4A regional at Niles North High School.

This is the first time since the 2011-12 season that the Lions have stood out among ESCC teams. Some six years ago, a similar season played out when the Lions went undefeated in conference play, and Coach Mike Howland won coach of the year and Kevin Walsh won player of the year.

Ironically, Walsh has returned this year to help coach the Lions. He is an assistant with the sophomore team, which wound up in a three-way tie for conference champs, and he sits on the bench during varsity games.

SVHS_001Hayes, too, was named to the ESCC all-conference team back when he played for Saint Viator. During his senior year, he averaged 25 points a game and was named the Daily Herald all-area captain, before he played Division I basketball at Monmouth University.

But he finds coaching far more rewarding than he did as a player, especially when he has a group like this year’s varsity team, which he describes as “unique.”

“They are all close, on and off the court,” Hayes says. “They do everything together, and they have forged a bond that has become very special.”

He also credits the senior leadership on the team, which he says is “outstanding.”

“They have a team-first attitude that makes them very unique,” Hayes adds. “They just want to win.”

Saint Viator Hockey Team Wins the Kennedy Cup

IMG_7064For the first time in the 45-year history of Saint Viator hockey, the Lions stand on top of the leaderboard of the Chicago Catholic Hockey League. They won the coveted Kennedy Cup, the oldest trophy in Illinois high school hockey, in dramatic fashion on Sunday, defeating Saint Ignatius in a shut-out, 5-0, at the MB Ice Arena in Chicago.

“This is a huge deal for our team, our program, and our school,” says Head Coach Tim Benz, who took over Saint Viator’s program just one year ago after serving as an assistant coach at Loyola Academy. “The boys wanted it badly and put in lots of hard work on the ice, in the weight room and in the film room.”

Out on the ice, the Lions had to work for their title. They won the best of three in the quarterfinals against the Fenwick Friars, before having to skate the best of three in a series against Benet Academy in the semi-finals, and all before prevailing over Saint Ignatius in the best of three championship series to win the Kennedy Cup.

Their impressive win came at the practice home of the Chicago Blackhawks and home ice of the Saint Ignatius Wolfpack.

They’re not done yet. The Lions have advanced to the Sweet 16 of the state playoff series, sponsored by the Amateur Hockey Association of Illinois. They are seeded No. 5 and will face No. 12 York High School at 6:40 p.m. Friday at The Edge Ice Arena in Bensenville. The Lions advanced after winning their first game against the 29th seed, Lyons Township, in decisive manner, with a 9-2 win.

“We were initially known for our offensive firepower,” Coach Benz says, “but now are playing complete games with excellent defense and goaltending.”

As it is, four of the top 10 scoring leaders in the Chicago Catholic Hockey League are Lions, including Anthony Letto, Anthony Aiello, Vince Avino and Jack Nimrod.

Coach Benz also credited his defensemen and goalies, who combined for the shut-out in the championship game.

“Our defensemen are doing a great job of taking care of our zone and letting our goalies see shots,” he says. “They don’t get much attention on the scoresheet but their coaches and teammates greatly appreciate their efforts.

“Our goaltending has been great as of late as well,” Coach Benz adds. “Both goalies, Collin Bauman and Jake Meister, contribute to our team success and without them, we would not have won a championship.”

Boys’ Basketball Goes for Conference Title Tonight

img_0028Tonight is senior night for the boys’ basketball team, and they enter the 7 p.m. game undefeated in conference play. A win tonight over Nazareth Academy would secure the East Suburban Catholic League Conference title, outright.

Currently, the team is 8-0 in conference play, and knocking on the door of something historic.

“We’re trying to continue an undefeated season in conference,” says Head Coach Quin Hayes ’95 simply. “We have only won conference three times in the history of Saint Viator.”

While Coach Hayes says he can count on the team for scoring when they need to and that they have been stepping it up defensively, the strength of the team, he believes, is their chemistry.

“They are really close on and off the court,” Hayes says. “They do everything together, and they have forged a bond that has become very special.”

While this year’s varsity includes players from sophomore, junior and senior classes, he points to his seniors with providing the leadership that the underclassmen look up to.

“The leadership exhibited by our senior class has been outstanding,” Hayes says. “They have a team first attitude that makes them very unique. They just want to win!”

This year’s team aims to match or surpass last year’s achievements, when the team won regional and sectional titles.

Come out and cheer on the Lions, and help thank the seniors for their leadership on and off the court.

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