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State showings in tennis, track, gymnastics top Downers Grove South spring highlights

Published: Wednesday, July 2, 2014 12:02 p.m. CST • Updated: Tuesday, July 29, 2014 9:50 p.m. CST
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(Erica Benson - ebenson@shawmedia.com)
Downers Grove South's Zac Taylor makes contact during a regional playoff game this season. The Mustangs enjoyed their deepest playoff advancement ever, making it to the supersectional game.
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(Clark Brooks/Photo News for Shaw Media)
Downers Grove South's Michaela Hackbarth (middle) runs in the finals of the 800-meter run during the IHSA state meet on Saturday. Hackbarth finished second in the race.
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(Bill Ackerman file photo)
Downers Grove South's Dominic Tommasone competes on the parallel bars during the state meet at Hinsdale Central. Tommasone was top 10 in three events and 11th in the all-around.

DOWNERS GROVE – The spring sports season has concluded and with it the school year. Now is the perfect time to take one more look at the best moments from the spring sports season for Downers Grove South.

1. Baseball's best

An undefeated run through the West Suburban Gold conference was just the beginning for South's baseball team, which went on to capture regional and sectional crowns and push highly-regarded St. Rita to the limit before falling 2-1 in the supersectional game.

Hard play came to define the Mustangs and their playoff run this season.

"We played one of the best ballgames we've ever played right here," said Zac Taylor, a senior and three-year varsity starter, after the season-ending loss. "We left our hearts out on the field."

Taylor, fellow three-year starter Joe Becht and seniors Chris Pedrak, Danny Spinuzza and Matt Zinnecker were regulars who set the tone for the team. which enjoyed its best playoff run ever,

The last time South reached the supersectional was in 2005, but the 2014 team enjoyed a deeper playoff advancement. Supersectional game used to be played among the final 16 teams; currently, the final eight teams in each class advance to supersectionals.

"This group, this team, it was a special group of kids," head coach Darren Orel said. "They played their hearts our for each other."

2. Smashing success

Like their baseball diamond counterparts, the Mustangs of the softball diamond went undefeated in conference play, but there were more highlights to come later.

South outscored its two opponents in the regional round of the playoffs 17-1 to cruise to the title, then knocked crosstown rival Downers Grove North out of the playoffs, winning the sectional semifinal 7-4.

The Mustangs could accomplish a lot more in the near future. The loss of seniors like Jess Andree, Caitlyn Daly, Dana Kremer and Melissa Orton will sting, but pitchers Caroline Hedgcock and Payton Buresch are among several starters slated to return.

3. Major statement

South's boys tennis team enjoyed its best showing ever in the state tournament as it finished fourth overall, and the highlights went beyond place.

The 19 matches the Mustangs won were their most ever, and all six athletes who played in the tournament earned all-state honors.

Tony Leto went 6-2 in the singles bracket and finished sixth. Christian San Andres was 5-2 in singles and earned a top-12 finish.

The doubles teams of Mitch Plys and Lawrence Hiquiana and Ryan McMillan and Zach Wood both went 4-2.

4. Right on track

South athletes made their names known at the girls state track meet in May.

Sophomore Michaela Hackbarth qualified for state in two events and had a stellar showing in one of them, placing second in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:13.0

Senior Abby Kargol went out with a bang, setting new personal and school records in the 3,200 run as she finished fifth with a time of 10:50.04.

5. Multiple state medals for Tommasone

Dominic Tommasone was young, being a freshman at South, but that was no hurdle for him at the state gymnastics meet as he notched three top-10 finishes. He was sixth on vault (9.250), seventh on pommel horse (8.50) and 10th on parallel bars (7.95). He also placed 11th in the all-around (49.70).

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