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Top 6 memorable moments for AT, Willowbook winter sports

As the snow continues to melt, spring sports are starting to take center stage. The two District 88 schools, Addison Trail and Willowbrook, had a number of standout athletes and accomplishments during the winter sports season, so before spring kicks into full gear, here’s a last look back at those winter successes, in no particular order.

1. Willowbrook girls basketball wins first conference title since 1996

After coming up one game short of sharing the West Suburban Gold title a year ago, Willowbrook girls basketball made no mistakes in the Gold this season.

The Warriors went 12-0 in conference play to win the outright conference title for the first time since 1996. Willowbrook finished the season 23-5 after losing in a regional final.

Senior Molly Krawczykowski led the team in scoring and was key to the team’s success. Fellow seniors Olivia Domin, Melissa Rader and Lauren Carroll were also main contributors.

“This group of seniors is the winningest group of seniors in Willowbrook in 18 years,” Harrell said. “In their two years on varsity they’ve won 45 games.”

2. Carson, Gomez represent AT wrestling at state

Two Addison Trail senior wrestlers and two best friends, Bobby Carson and Niko Rocha, got to share a trip to Champaign as state qualifiers.

Rocha was returning for his second trip to state while Carson was making his debut on high school wrestling’s biggest stage.

Carson won his first match and another in the wrestlebacks to finish 2-2 at state in the 285-pound division. Rocha was 0-2 at 170 pounds to finish 35-5 on the season.

“It’s great, especially because we’re actually real close,” Carson said of going to state with Rocha. “He’s like my cousin, almost. We do everything together.”

3. Rowland takes first steps to matching brother

Willowbrook sophomore wrestler Matt Rowland is trying to at least match the impressive accomplishments of his older brother, Dan. Dan was second in state a year ago and this winter Matt showed he can be as good or better.

Matt Rowland was fifth at 152 pounds at the state tournament to earn an all-state medal. He was 46-6 on the season.

“It feels pretty good,” Rowland said at state. “It’s a good way to end my coach’s career because he’s retiring after this season. And to go out with a win is great.”

He was joined at state by senior Jake Kroeger, who went 1-2 at 182 pounds.

4. Exciting wins for Addison Trail boys basketball

It was an up and down season for Addison Trail boys basketball, but the Blazers definitely had some memorable ups.

In their own pre-holiday tournament, the Blazers knocked off then-undefeated Stagg and later won against conference foe Morton, both in home games. The win over Morton was especially impressive because after that loss the Mustangs won 13 games in a row and made a sectional final.

Seniors James Pupillo, Joe Kurucar, Ronald Duling and Joe Villasenor led AT to an 11-18 season. Pupillo was named special mention all-state by the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association, but sat out the playoffs with an injury.

“I can’t say enough about our seniors,” coach Brendan Lyons said. “They put in more than any group that I’ve had.”

5. Blazer pair compete at state gymnastics

Freshman Kennedy O’Neill and junior Casey Boksha represented Addison Trail at the girls gymnastics state meet this season.

O’Neill was 27th on floor exercise and tied for 34th on the uneven bars. Boksha tied for 28th on floor.

6. Schmelter bowls at state

Addison Trail senior Meghan Schmelter qualified for state bowling and was able to crack the top 100. She finished 89th with an average score of 187.8, for a six-game total of 1,127.

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