This week we put a bow on our winter sports coverage, and what a ride the last four-plus months have been. The winter season started in the midst of the omicron spike, which wreaked havoc with rosters and schedules in December, and then ended with the kind of thrilling finale we had taken for granted just two scant years ago.
Locally, perhaps the top performances of the winter played out in swimming pools. Riverside-Brookfield High School’s Harrison Nolan, in his third appearance at a state finals, set a state record to walk away with gold in the 1-meter diving competition. Brookfield resident Mike Flynn, meanwhile, won a pair of state championships for Fenwick High School in the 200- and 500-yard freestyle.
Lyons Township High School didn’t have any state champs in the pool, but they turned in five all-state performances to place third overall in the team standings, their first top-three trophy since 2018.
On the hardwood, Nazareth Academy’s girls posted their best-ever season, finishing tops in their conference and second in the state. Meanwhile, the Lyons Township High School girls basketball team won its first conference since 2016, racked up a 28-4 record – which included a 16-game win streak — and won a regional title.
The Lyons Township High School boys basketball team was stopped in the sectional finals, but the 26-6 Lions had their third straight 20-win season and placed second in their conference, which includes a team in the Class 4A Final Four this weekend. Riverside-Brookfield High School’s boys rolled to a conference title, a regional title and a 23-6 record, rebounding from a COVID outbreak that put their season on ice for almost a month.
On the wrestling mat, Riverside resident Gabe Kaminski, competing for Nazareth Academy, placed second at 220 pounds in the IHSA state individual championships. While they didn’t take home any medals, the RBHS wrestling team advanced six to the state finals after advancing all 14 wrestlers to the sectional round and earning another berth in the team state tournament.
RBHS sophomore Eleanor Aphay, meanwhile, became the Bulldogs’ first-ever individual to qualify for the IHSA girls wrestling state finals.
LTHS’ boys bowling team made their first trip to a state finals since 2018 and school’s competitive dance team also advanced to the state championships.
Along the way there were countless individual triumphs, perhaps not the kind that get headlines, but ones savored by athletes, coaches and parents just the same.
Congrats to all on a season of successes. We’re looking forward to many more this spring, which begins right now.