With the calendar about to flip over to 2018, there is no better time than now to look back on the top stories from 2017, to recognize the sensational performances of area athletes and more. Here is a look at some of those top stories:
Lemont girls soccer team
fourth at state
Lemont’s girls soccer team won its fifth state trophy, all of which have come in odd-numbered years since 2009.
It was bittersweet, though.
The Indians entered the Class 2A state semifinals riding a 24-game winning streak. But Lemont’s quest for its first state title was dashed in a marathon 12-round shootout in penalty kicks.
Sophomore Michaela Egan scored to give Lemont a 1-0 lead on Burlington Central in the third-place match, but the Rockets scored three goals in the second half for a 3-1 win.
A silver lining – midfielder Carli Bermele and defender Saray Patino were Lemont’s only seniors to graduate.
Kyle Schickel second
at state wrestling
Lemont freshman Kyle Schickel made the most of his first state wrestling tournament.
Schickel won two decisions and one major decision to get to the 106-pound championship, where he lost to No. 1-ranked Justin Cardani of Champaign Centennial 5-2. Schickel had only six losses on the year.
“Kyle is an animal,” Lemont coach John St. Clair said. “A lot of kids come down here and nerves take over and they get run over. That didn’t happen to Kyle.”
Lemont football team
Keyed by a fierce defense led by All-State safety Gabe Berta and lineman Nathan Ascolani, Lemont went 10-2 and reached the Class 5A quarterfinals before losing to eventual state champion Phillips.
The Indians, who also won their conference title, allowed just 79 points over their first 11 games and just six points in two playoff wins.
Lemont boys golf ninth at state
The Indians, making their fourth straight state appearance, placed ninth in the Class 2A tournament held Oct. 13-14 at Weibring Golf Club at Illinois State University in Normal.
Senior Raymond Sullivan was the team’s top finisher, the first golfer in school history to play in four state tournaments. Sullivan shot a 7-over-par 149 over 36 holes, tied for 18th individually.
Fellow senior Jack Kramer tied for 21st at 8-over-par 150. Matt Grasman (tied for 79th, 169), Nate Stieber (84th, 171) and Grant Sullivan (97th, 178) rounded out Lemont’s top five.
Twice as nice at state
cross country meet
The Lemont High School boys and girls cross country teams were represented in state finals competition in the same season for the first time in five years.
The Lemont girls placed 18th in the team standings, while junior Andrew Deuschle competed as an individual in the boys event.
Senior Beata Drozda became just the second runner in program history to compete in four girls cross country state finals events.
Lemont’s girls posted a team score of 471 on their way to 18th place. Senior Jacey Schickel was Lemont’s top finisher, placing 86th while covering the 3-mile course in 19:05.
Lemont softball team
reaches sectional final
The Indians’ softball program won its sixth regional title since 2010, and was just three outs away from the first sectional crown in school history since 1989.
Lemont led Nazareth 3-0 entering the bottom of the seventh inning, but the Roadrunners scored four runs for a stunning 4-3 victory.
Lemont, which finished 21-16, has much to look forward to in 2018. Julia Orozko, Sam Galinsky and Jade Mardjetko were the lone seniors to graduate.
“We were up and down, but what I truly love about this team is they never give up,” Lemont coach Chris Traina said.