Sports

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Ava Porlier

College: Valparaiso University
Sport: Soccer
Study: Health Sciences/Biology

“I chose [Valparaiso] because they have a great soccer program, and they are well known for their academics. They have great health sciences programs, and… I am studying biology,” Porlier said. “I also really liked the team, coaches, and campus… I am very excited to play at the next level. I’m excited to learn a lot more about soccer and improve my skills overall. I hope to have a successful career at [Valparaiso] and play to the best of my ability while I am there.”

Senior Ava Porlier scans the soccer field for an open teammate.
Photo courtesy of Ava Porlier

TJ Simpson

College: Robert Morris
University – Chicago
Sport: Football
Study: Business

“I felt that RMU was best for me because they help you with internships, and you don’t take general [study] courses. I also enjoy the city lifestyle,” Simpson said. “I’ve played football for four years now. My goal for playing football at the collegiate level is to stand out amongst all incoming freshmen. I plan to do that by continuing to lift daily and increase my power and speed.”

Senior TJ Simpson commits to Robert Morris University.
Photo courtesy of TJ Simpson

Andrew Heneghan

College: Carthage College
Sport: Track/Cross Country
Study: Computer Sciences

“I decided to go to [Carthage] because… I think doing a sport in college is going to be an unforgettable experience and is something that not many kids will get to experience,” Heneghan said. “I hope to make nationals by the time I am a senior. I hope as a freshman, I will be able to make Varsity. I want to experience being on a national caliber team, which is what we will strive to be next year… running is really rewarding and is a great metaphor for life.”

Photo courtesy of Clarissa Moreno

Senior Andrew Heneghan competes in the 800-meter run at the Western Suburban Gold Conference meet on May 15.
Photo courtesy of Clarissa Moreno

Katie Vondra

College: Aurora University
Sports: Volleyball
Study: Special Education

“I decided to go to Aurora University because it offers a great Special Education program, which is what I plan on doing as a career. It just so happens that I got the chance to also play the sport that I love,” Vondra said. “I feel so blessed and grateful that I get the chance to continue playing volleyball at the collegiate level.  I hope to do the best that I can do at not only volleyball but also my academics.”

Senior Katie Vondra takes a breather in between sets at a home match.
Photo courtesy of Katie Vondra

Rebekah Ondracek

College: Elmhurst College
Sport: Softball
Study: Education

“I want to make All-Conference in college and work my way up to being the starting catcher my freshman year. I’m super excited about forming close relationships with my teammates and getting out of my comfort zone to make college the best experience I can make it…. I found so much joy with the sport and can’t think of anything else I’d rather do,” Ondracek said. “It means a great deal to me, and I’m so excited that my career in softball doesn’t have to be cut short after high school.  I can’t believe I only have four more years of playing, but I want to give everything I have to these last four years.”

Photo courtesy of Rebekah Ondracek

Senior Rebekah Ondracek shares laughs on the field with fellow teammates as she warms up before a game.
Photo courtesy of Rebekah Ondracek

Graphic by Joe Stellato

Compiled by Joe Stellato and Jack McGann

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Junior Adam Gray runs in the 4X800 meter relay at an outdoor meet hosted at Morton West High School.Photo by Clarissa Moreno, Freelance Photographer

Junior Adam Gray runs in the 4X800 meter relay at an outdoor meet hosted at Morton West High School.
Photo by Clarissa Moreno,
Freelance Photographer

Senior numbers are low, but morale is high for the DGS boys track team this spring. As they make the transition from indoor to outdoor, Sprints Coach Dustin Hausherr knows how different the two tracks can be.

“The largest difference is the tracks we are running on. You can compete on a 160-meter or a 200-meter track indoors.There are more curves that will equal slower times for the athletes.  All the tracks outdoors are 400 meters and athletes can start to focus on the times and distances they need to hit to qualify for the State meet in [the] end of May,” Hausherr said.
Just like the tracks, this years team’s mentality has also changed. Losing by just a few points last year at the WSG Conference meet, Hausherr believes that the experience, while disappointing, has given this year’s team an edge that could not be taught otherwise.

“We fell just a few points short last year to Willowbrook, but I believe that has helped us regain our focus and has motivated us to work that much harder this season,” Hausherr said.
Junior Adam Gray is one of the team captains and not only sees this new mentality, but also a camaraderie within the team that isn’t found in the average cut sport.

“Our dynamic is unique having the team be a no cut sport, it creates healthy competition within the team by running in open meets and showing what you’ve got. But also, it has a family feel. Everyone knows everyone. We can joke and kid with each other, and I feel that’s a great thing to have within a team no matter the sport,” Gray said.
Junior Jeremy Taylor agrees with Grey and thinks that this team has the mental toughness to take healthy criticism because it benefits more than just themselves.

“We push each other because we want everyone to be better than they were before. Improving the individual not only improves them, but also impacts us as well as the team,” Taylor said.

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Senior Will Tischler is one of the three senior captains of this year’s team from the 2013 State championship team.Photo by Sam Cherney

Senior Will Tischler is one of the three senior captains of this year’s team from the 2013 State championship team.
Photo by Sam Cherney

After starting off the season at 1-6, the boys Varsity volleyball team has been on a hot streak. Their record is currently 9-8 overall and 4-0 in conference play.

This recent spike in their performances has expectations rising, especially since it’s been two years since the team won a State championship. This year’s team is full of youth, including only four seniors along with six juniors and four sophomores. Senior team captain Will Tischler described the differences between the State winning team of 2013 and the current 2015 team.

“I think one thing this year that is really different about this team than the past few is that we have a young team…It is a wide spread of emotions, personality and experience,” Tischler said. “Another thing is that this team has players from all different clubs, whereas in the years past there is usually one club that dominates. With that being said, we all have different backgrounds and different training. It’s just something different and something we need to work on, so we’re all on the same page,” Tischler said.

Senior Eddie Binion also believes that the team’s separation in club volleyball impacts their performance and team chemistry.
“We have never really all played at the same volleyball club, so we all learned things different ways. While the past couple years the entire team played for the same club team, which made it a lot easier to communicate and connect with the other teammates,” Binion said.

Head Coach Kevin Streur explained how club volleyball sets limitations on players competing with people of other ages, opposed to high school where there are players ranging from freshmen to seniors. Despite this separation, Streur believes that everyone eventually gets on the same page.

“With club volleyball growing and more players playing, it’s great to see the improvements and how hard players do work in the off season from high school…Until you have tryouts, you really do not know the makeup of your team,” Streur said. “With many players spread out to different clubs when they come play for DGS we get them to understand that we are a whole program from freshman to Varsity at DGS. When they put on a DGS volleyball practice jersey [or uniform], they not only [represent] themselves, but [also take] pride in [their] school and [their] teammates.”

Compared to the championship team, this year’s team requires more senior leadership for the younger, less experienced members of the team. Streur acknowledged the role the seniors have to play this year.

“[The captains] have taken on roles of not only leadership, but [they] also [give] advice to players when they struggle or the game is not going the way we want it to,” Streur said. “With them, they have the experience and feeling of being on that team two years ago, and whatever they can provide to younger players, they do and know what it takes to play at the top level.”

Tischler elaborated on his and his co-captains’ responsibilities and how they lead by example.

“As captains we, Kyle Harty, Jeremy Hroma and I, need to lead by example on the court. If it’s keeping the energy up or staying mentally strong if a few points don’t go our way, I think the younger guys look up to us, and we need to make sure we set a good example on and off the court. We want to keep a good name for the program,” Tischler said.

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Junior Kristen Lea hits a double to score her teammate junior Kristen Bialek in a game against Wheaton Warrenville South on April 23.Photo by Alexis Carpello

Junior Kristen Lea hits a double to score her teammate junior Kristen Bialek in a game against Wheaton Warrenville South on April 23.
Photo by Alexis Carpello

The girls Varsity softball team is undefeated and ranked number one in the state, and hope to continue their success all the way to the end of the season. Head Coach Ronald Havelka is heading into his 23rd year of coaching the Varsity team, and talks about his coaching experience and his expectations for the girls this season.

“I coached softball at the junior high level for 13 years, and then became DGS’s varsity coach in 1993,” Havelka said. “Besides coaching softball I coached sophomore basketball at DGN and junior high boys and girls basketball. I also coached two years as an assistant football coach at Hinsdale South High school.”

Havelka has achieved many accolades in his time coaching at DGS. Among them are 19 conference championships, 15 regional championships, five sectional championships and being elected into the Illinois Coaches Hall of Fame in 2007. His experience and dedication to the team has lead them to a successful start to their season.

“We have won our first seven games and hope to continue the run against a tough upcoming schedule,” Havelka said. “We advanced to Supersectionals two years ago, and last year we made it to the sectional finals. We have set our goal [this year] to advance to the State finals and compete for the State championship.”

The team and the DGS community have also been very supportive towards Havelka. Megan LoBianco, who plays short-stop for the team, talks about how Havelka helps her and the team play better.

“Our coach is extremely supportive of the team. He helps us to realize our mistakes and shows us the way the game is supposed to be played,” LoBianco said. “We still have to continue working hard and play every game to our greatest potential.”

Focus is not the only way to do well; with winning comes a lot of hard work. Pitcher Payton Buresch talks about the season and working with all the girls on the team.

“Our season so far is going great. We have all worked really hard in the off season and I think we have all came out stronger this year. We have also gained some really strong players that should help us along the way,” Buresch said.

The girls Varsity softball team plans on taking it all the way and continuing to work hard to win the State championship.

“Our girls have trained hard in our off season weights and conditioning program. We will continue to practice hard and continue to improve in all aspects of the game,” Havelka said.

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There are 23 players on the DGS Varsity baseball team. Out of those players, nine of them are pitchers. Without all of these players out on the field there would be no game, but one of the key components to the team are the pitchers.

At practice, while the rest of the team is working on fielding and hitting, the pitchers work on something different.

DGS Varsity pitching coach Patrick Molinari describes the everyday routine for a pitcher.

“A typical practice day for a pitcher can vary depending on the last time they pitched in a game.  Most of the starters have a specific throwing routine they follow throughout the week to get them ready for their next start,” Molinari said. “They also participate in all team defensive drills, as well as even hit ground balls to the infielders if they are needed to. Pitchers also do a lot of running and conditioning. This is an important part to the life of a pitcher to keep their bodies fresh and healthy throughout the long grind of the season.”

During the games each player is focusing on their specific position, but they all have the same goal  — to win. Senior Danny Kasher talks about the pressure that is put on a pitcher.

“Pitchers are the center of the game. The game only moves if we move, we have a lot of stress because however well the team does depends on how we do,” Kasher said.

If the position of the player is a P.O. (pitcher only) they have more downtime than any other player. They spend that time working on their technique so when they get called to be put in the game they’re ready.

Senior Peter Hamot explains the determination the pitchers have when pitching in a game.

“We go max effort in every pitch; we try and outsmart the hitters and do whatever we can to help the team,” Hamot said.

Just like every other player on the team, being a pitcher comes with the demanding struggles like soreness and not playing every game and.

“You do a lot more conditioning than the rest of the players. Pitchers typically get only a couple innings a week, and then you sit.  If you have a bad game then you have to think about that for awhile until you next opportunity, which in most cases could take a week,” Molinari said.

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Jackie Robinson West Cartoon

In 2014, a Chicago baseball team actually won a championship — not the White Sox or Cubs — but Jackie Robinson West; they claimed the Little League World Series (LLWS) title. Unfortunately, last year’s Little League national champions have been recently stripped of their title after Little League International (LLI) held an investigation and found that the team had submitted a falsified boundary map. As a result, LLI found the team guilty of using players who lived outside the team’s original boundaries.
These kids have been praised for their achievement last July, from parading on a double-decker bus through the city they play for, to receiving front row seats at the Major League Baseball Worlds Series and even meeting President Barack Obama. After basking in the limelight of championship honors, this team has been hit with the harsh reality of being labeled as “cheaters.” To label these kids as cheaters for something they didn’t have total control over is cruel, and taking their title away isn’t completely justified to their crime. Therefore, Jackie Robinson West should have their LLWS title reinstated — and don’t call me crazy yet.

The outcome of this entire situation rooted from the adults’ mistakes and has the kids of the team taking all of the heat. Where’s the justice in that? There has been past cases of the Little League handling situations that caused unnecessary collateral damage.

For instance, in 1975, following Taiwan’s fourth consecutive championship in 1974, Little League banned foreign teams from participating in the LLWS. They banned them while the league worked to strengthen rules against year-round practices and out-of-district players. To ban the entire rest of the world besides the USA from being able to compete in the league can’t be taken lightly, especially since the purpose behind it revolves around mistakes made by the league itself.

It just simply does not make sense to punish someone for something they weren’t responsible for. In this current case, the adults who manage the JRW are the ones who deserve the consequences for their own actions. The kids may have known that they did not live within the team’s original boundaries, yet it was the decision of the coaches whether or not to recruit players and submit their altered boundary map. Would a 12 year-old kid really be concerned about “residency boundaries” when they get invited to a team that would have a chance to win the LLWS?

Then there comes a question being brought into play: is it really cheating? If you think about it, the only thing that the players did wrong was live on the other side of town. This brings us to the issue in Major League Baseball with Barry Bonds. Bonds was a former professional baseball player who currently holds the all-time record for home runs (762). In 2003, Bonds was investigated for steroid abuse and was eventually found guilty. You would think that the league would take away his home run accolade — and you thought wrong. Bonds was sentenced a pathetic 30 days of home confinement. Compared to the punishment for JRW, it just doesn’t make sense.

The members of the team didn’t use illegal PEDs to enhance their skills, nor were they violating the age requirements. There’s really no unfair advantage given to them just by picking up kids beyond their borders. Yes, you can say that they have more access to more skilled players, but in the end, they are just normal kids who want to play baseball.

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water polo

Senior Luke Gentile prepares for a pass
in an after-school water polo practice.

A new year, a whole new water game.
Water polo has made it’s debut here at
DGS, and is getting more recognition for
its intense physical and mental requirements
to play the sport.
Water polo is a sport that involves
being aware of what’s around you and
knowing who’s around you. The game
is a mixture of basketball and soccer,
which makes for quite a unique sport to
play.
The playing team consists of six field
players and a goalie. After one of the
teams score they can switch out players
during their two timeouts or between
periods. There are many more rules
that make this sport distinct, but the
most noticeable difference is that it is
played in the water.
Senior Saule Gabrenaite talks about
how water polo is different to her than
other sports due to it’s difficulty.
“Water polo really is a tough sport
because it works your entire body at
any given time, considering you have to
tread and coordinate your movements
simultaneously. It’s just as much a mental
game as it is physical,” Gabrenaite
said.
Pool Manager Frank Kuchta also
talked about how water polo is an uncommon
because sport due to the game
is played in the water.
“You have to learn how to catch with
your throwing hand and how to throw
without being able to stand and anchor
your footing,” Kuchta said.
The amount of both physical and
mental preparation for the sport gives a
slight challenge for the water polo club
being so new this year. The members
are still learning about competitive
water polo, but are finding it to be a
positive educational experience.
Senior Luke Gentile talks about how
the past and present practices have
evolved for him and his team.
“I would say that the sport is very easily
accessible, because last year no one
had any experience (outside of gym) at
the beginning, but we all improved to be
on the competitive level,” Gentile said.
As water polo players skills continue
to grow, so does the recognition it gets
throughout the school. All signs seem to
show that water polo will continue to be
a club at DGS.

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Alongside North Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago lies the new Chicago Blackhawks store. Originally, the store was ground level and stocked with a scarce amount of merchandise, with most of the apparel in the store designed for men. Since the 2010 Stanley Cup win, getting around the store had become a major challenge because people wanted to support one of the most prominent teams in the National Hockey League. It was time for a change.

On Oct. 10 2014, the Chicago Blackhawks introduced a new and improved store to the city of Chicago. The new Blackhawks store now occupies two levels opposed to the old ground level storefront.

When walking into the new store, there is a glass and metal staircase painted with the Blackhawks colors. Next to the staircase is an elevator, which is a nice feature for those who are either unable or just too lazy to tackle the entry staircase.

Steve Kramer, member of the Chicago Blackhawks Alumni Association, enjoys the renovation.

“The new store is much better. There is more inventory to choose from and it’s brighter and easier to get around,” Kramer said. “It is more interactive and high tech as well. It’s just a fun store to shop in.”

The second level of the store is decked out in a white marble floor, which gives the store a clean and open look. The second level is where all the merchandise is displayed. This level also has windows overlooking the city and river, allowing shoppers to have plenty of light throughout the store.

Junior Patrick O’Connor has seen both the old Blackhawks Store and the renovated store; O’Connor enjoys the new one much more.

“I like it because of the Blackhawks logo on the stairs and all the jerseys they have to offer. I also like that they made the store bigger because the old one was too small,” O’Connor said.

The Chicago Blackhawks are not only winning on the ice, but now off the ice, as their new store attracts all the fans.

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People who don’t play badminton regularly don’t usually notice the technique, footwork and timing that all goes along with playing badminton. Having a strong arm and a good racquet isn’t substantial enough to have a successful play or game. Everything correlates with each other from foot movement, the swing of the racquet and timing.

Math teacher Jocelyn Painter who coaches Varsity Badminton had no intentions of becoming a badminton coach and never imagined being one.

Painter explained that one of the strengths of the team is that “almost all of our returning varsity players from last year played in sectionals. That gives us great advantage since many schools had seniors competing at sectionals, and will now have players who don’t know what it’s like to play in the stressful environment that sectionals create.”

Senior Allison Williams was one of the Varsity players who made it to State last year as a junior.

She expressed her goals for this season, “last year I was one game away from making State, and I’d really like to have the experience of competition at a higher level,” Williams said. “It would also be a cool way to see all my hard work pay off.”

That one game was a devastating outcome for Williams, but this year she’s only focusing on what she can do to make it further than last year.

Senior Chelsea Deneb Octava has played badminton since she was in fourth grade in the Philippines, and has played on the DGS badminton team since she was a freshman. Badminton is not like any other sport when it comes to competition, you compete with other schools to win, and with players on your own team to try and defeat them.

“There definitely is intense competition within the team. We constantly have to play matches against each other in order to get our ranking,” Octava said. “Nonetheless we still are there to support each other.

Octava described the only disadvantage of playing badminton is her size.

“I’m so much tinier than the other girls it’s harder for me to get around the court and make my shots,” Octava said.

Senior Tamara Beecroft has one goal for the season, State.

“The ultimate goal would be able to make it to state. Though if nothing else, I just want to make sure that everyone else on the team has fun and improved together throughout the season,” Beecroft said.

Badminton season has just begun and the girls have a lot to look forward to, and to see if they can actually reach their girl and win state.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing growth in individuals and the team as a whole, seeing juniors and seniors grow in leadership roles” Williams said. “I’m hoping that our varsity team is focused and talented this year so that we can get into a good sectional, and I think we will be.”

 

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As the DGS boys swim team prepares for sectionals and State, the scissors and razors come out of the drawer to cut their hair in different and creative ways. This is a way for the team to bond and to get ready for State when they would have to shave their heads to improve their scores.

The team members shave unusual designs such as glasses on the back of their heads, mohawks and hair styled after Martin Luther. The team decides what they’re going to do and then get together to do the designs and patterns.

The reasoning for shaving their heads for meets is that it makes them go faster. This is known as swimmers drag, which is when they have all their hair on their bodies til the last minute. When they shave it all off, it improves their overall time.

Senior Thomas O’Hern explains that the reason the shave their heads is a great feeling to experience when first getting in the water.

“Shaving our heads every year is something we do for conference at the end of the year, it’s something [that] makes us swim faster…Although when you jump in the water for the first time after shaving your head, it’s a feeling that gives you a huge adrenaline rush and gives you a huge boost,” O’Hern said.

The tradition is not centered around DGS exclusively and is done by schools all over the country. Senior Kiehl Carlquist thinks that this traditions will continue to live on at DGS regardless if other schools continue to do it or not.

“Currently I think we are the only team in our conference that shaves as a team but for DGS alone, we have been doing this tradition for an extremely long time, and it will not stop,” Carlquist said.

Coach Bryan Szweda feels that this is a great way for the team to bond before their big meet.

“Part of it is most of the team shaves their head…for their end of the year swim meet so since they’re going to be shaving it anyway, it’s just kind of a fun way to bond as a team and do some fun stuff,” Szweda said.

With all that they do to prepare for their season, the hair doesn’t seem as big of a deal. Senior Andrew Chmela said that it helps them prepare for what is to come.

“There are very high expectations for conference, sectionals, and State for our team,” Chmela said. “I can’t wait to see it all play out.”

ISHA Sectionals for boys swimming is scheduled to be on February 21st at York Community High School.