As the snow continues to melt and the temperatures start to rise, spring sports are starting to take center stage. Nazareth juniors Jorge Palacios and Tommy Clarke participated in the 3-Point Showdown at the state basketball finals on Thursday to wrap up the winter sports season for area schools. Before spring sports hit high gear, here’s a last look back at the successes of the winter sports of area private schools Nazareth, Fenwick and St. Joseph this season, in no particular order.
1. Balanced Friars boys make sectional final
Despite an injury to Northwestern recruit Scott Lindsey, which kept him out of a large chunk of the season, Fenwick still proved to be among the state’s best teams.
Thanks to a balanced team that included seniors Dan Dwyer and Tom Planek and breakout sophomore Mike Smith, the Friars overcame Lindsey’s injury and were stronger when he came back. Fenwick finished the season 22-9 and made a sectional final.
The Friars were fourth in the tough Chicago Catholic League North with an 8-3 record but impressed by taking third in the CCL Tournament. Once they got to the postseason, the Friars won at Farragut for a regional title and defeated nearby St. Joseph in a sectional semifinal before losing to Orr in the final.
2. Chargers win third straight regional
St. Joseph was on the losing end of the sectional semifinal against Fenwick but still saw a lot of success this season.
Junior guards Jordan Ash and Glynn Watson continued to improve and should be among the state’s best guards next year. Both are being heavily recruited and should lead a Charger team next year that has even more potential.
Another reason why St. Joseph could be even better than their 23-7 record, regional title and share of the Catholic League North title, is that sophomore Nick Rakocevic also will be back.
The 6-foot-10 forward impressed in his first year on varsity and, like Ash and Watson, has multiple Division I offers already.
3. Naz girls win second regional in a row
Nazareth is in a tough place in Class 3A. They’ve had to run into strong teams in sectionals that are among the premier programs in the state. However, the Roadrunners still have managed to win regional titles in each of the past two seasons.
In the regional, Nazareth beat Timothy Christian and Wheaton Academy by double digits to claim the title. Once they got to the sectional they faced eventual state champion Montini. The Broncos cruised past Naz 70-44.
4. Kozyra finishes Friar wrestling career at state
The Class 2A state tournament was a disappointment this time around for Fenwick senior Mike Kozyra, but the 170-pound wrestler still goes down as one of the most successful wrestlers in the program’s history.
Kozyra made the quarterfinals in the main draw and won one more match in the wrestlebacks, but he fell one win short of placing. He was 28-8 this season.
As a junior Kozyra took fourth at 160 pounds. During his Fenwick career, Kozyra was a three-time sectional qualifier and a two-time state qualifier.
5. Two Friar swimmers, two relays medal at state
Michael Hill and Cavan Smith both made event finals at state swimming to score points for Fenwick. Their showings, along with two relays that made finals, helped Fenwick take 16th in the state.
Hill, a junior, was eighth in the 50-yard freestyle, and Smith, a sophomore, was 12th in the 100-yard butterfly.
Hill, Smith and seniors Conor Fabian and Zach Tieke were sixth in the 200-yard medley relay. Smith, Hill, Tieke and junior Andrew Bertschy were 12th in the 200 freestyle relay.