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Titles for LT gymnasts, RB's Mailin Struck part of trophy haul for area athletes

Badminton, cross country, soccer, water polo, tennis wrestling and track also part of sparking state finishes

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014 10:30 a.m. CDT
Lyons Township sophomore Chris Rediehs competes in the parallel bars during the state meet on May 10, 2013. Rediehs brought home a third place state finish on horizontal bar. Matthew Piechalak file photo -
(Bill Ackerman - backerman@shawme)
Lyons Township's Alex Chatt hits a shot in a match against Hinsdale Central on Sept. 19, 2013. Chatt earned her third straight top 3 finish at the state tournament this fall. Bill Ackerman file photo -
(Clark Brooks)
Mailin Struck eyes the finish line at the Class 2A state meet at Detweiller Park on Nov. 9, 2013. The German exchange student won the race by nearly 30 seconds to claim the title. PhotoNews/Clark Brooks for Suburban Life Media
Erica Benson file photo - Lyons Township's Katie Carling competes on the balance beam during the state gymnastics meet on Feb. 16, 2013. The Lions won a state title with a comeback on the second day of the meet.

As the calendar flips to 2014, what better time than to reflect on some of the best performances put forth by local high school athletes in 2013. Several state champions were crowned, and even more teams and athletes made their marks with top finishes in state competitions.

School: Lyons Township

Sport: Girls gymnastics

Place: State champs

State run: The Lions won the first state title in the program’s history and in a dramatic fashion. LT trailed Prairie Ridge by a quarter of a point after the first day of competition and could only make up the ground in event finals. The Lions pulled off the rare Saturday comeback by adding 0.575 to the team total in the event finals and won the title. Sophomore Kelsy Kurfirst won floor exercise, was second in the all-around and on vault and tied for third with junior teammate Katie Carling on balance beam. Junior Michelle Cozza was second on bars and tied for third on vault.

Quote: “When I improved on the bar score it got me motivated and I knew that our team had a potential of winning state so we all carried that to beam,” junior Michelle Cozza said. “It was surreal.”

Name: Stephanie Lin, Lyons Township

Sport: Badminton

Place: State champ

State run: Lin was a surprise winner at the state tournament last spring. She was seeded in the 5-8 range, but dropped just one set all tournament. She upset top seed Ailynna Chen of Hinsdale Central in the quarterfinal round and later defeated Hinsdale South’s Emma Adcock in the final.

Quote: “I don’t think I was expecting that at all. One of my coaches says your best weapon is between your ears. I just kept that in mind.” Stephanie Lin said.

Name: Mailin Struck, Riverside Brookfield

Sport: Girls cross country

Place: Class 2A state champ

State run: The German exchange student came to RB with an established running background. From the day she stepped on campus, she became one of the favorites to win state. She was dominant throughout the year and won the Class 2A state title by 29 seconds.

Quote: “In Germany, I have a training partner, but I feel like cross country is more about the teams instead of the individual. I really like that. It’s kind of a new experience,” Mailin Struck said.

School: Fenwick

Sport: Boys water polo

Place: State champ

State run: The Friars entered the season without the most recent state trophy in its possession for the first time in eight years and made it their mission to win back state. Fenwick knocked off defending champion Lyons Township in a tense sectional final and had just one close match in the three at state to win the program’s 10th state title since it became an IHSA sport in 2002.

School: Lyons Township

Sport: Boys cross country

Place: Fourth in Class 3A

State run: The Lions didn’t win the conference, regional or sectional races but were good enough to get to state and earn the program’s second state trophy in a row and ninth overall. Henry Hostettler, Dan Lupano and James Ryan all placed in the top 50 at state. LT was the third of three West Suburban Silver teams to grab a state trophy.

School: Fenwick

Sport: Girls swimming

Place: Third in state

State run: The Friars have become one of the elite programs in girls swimming and showed that yet again this fall. By taking third at state, Fenwick won its third state trophy and fourth in five years. The individual successes of Mimi Schneider, who won the 50-yard freestyle and the 100-yard butterfly, and Paulina Kaminski, who won the 100-yard breaststroke, highlighted the state meet for Fenwick.

School: Fenwick

Sport: Girls soccer

Place: Third inClass 2A

State run: Fenwick’s run to state in girls soccer gave the program its third appearance at state and second trophy. The Friars were the only team to come even within a goal of state champ Glenwood, losing to the Titans 2-1 in a semifinal. Seniors Lauren Frank, Bridget Hillsman, Cali Pyzdrowski, Kelly Collins and Elizabeth Cusick were among the key players for the veteran team.

Name: Alex Chatt, Lyons Township

Sport: Girls tennis

Place: Third in state

State run: Chatt was a standout her entire high school career. The Northwestern recruit made the state tournament all four years and placed in the top three the last three years. This fall she took third place to add another state medal to her list.

Name: Chris Rediehs, Lyons Township

Sport: Boys gymnastics, horizontal bar

Place: Third in state

State run: The Lions made state as a team for the first time since 2003 and Rediehs was a big reason why. The sophomore was sixth in the all-around, but his high point came when he tied for third on the horizontal bar with a score of 9.2.

Name: Jameer Thurman, Proviso West

Sport: Wrestling, 195 pounds

Place: Third in Class 3A

State run: Thurman won a regional title, but settled for third at the sectional meet. Once at state, the current Indiana State wrestler made it to the quarterfinals before losing to an undefeated Jordan Ellingwood. Thurman battled back in the wrestlebacks, winning four matches to take third at 195 pounds in Class 3A.

School: Fenwick

Sport: Girls track, 4x800-meter relay

Place: Fourth in Class 2A

State run: The Friar foursome of Megan Cahill, Briana Daley, Arriana Arroyo and Olivia Ryan went into state with high hopes after winning the 4x800 relay at the Glenbard South sectional. Cahill, Arroyo and Ryan were joined by Quinn Reilly to win the East Suburban Catholic Conference title in the same relay before Daley took Reilly’s spot in the postseason.

Name: Pat Vitek, Nazareth

Sport: Wrestling, 195 pounds

Place: Fourth in Class 2A

State run: Vitek went undefeated in the regular season and won regional and sectional titles to enter state as the only undefeated wrestler at 195 pounds in Class 2A. He was defeated by eventual state champion Anthony Ferraro in the semifinals and settled for fourth place, but not before compiling a 40-2 record.

Name: Mike Kozyra, Fenwick

Sport:Wrestling, 160 pounds

Place: Fourth in Class 2A

State run: Kozyra was second in both the regional and sectional meets after losing to Montini’s Xavier Montalvo, who went on to win state, in the finals of both. Kozyra picked up two wins at state, including one by fall, to make the semifinals and eventually take fourth place.

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