Junior Grace Karan sees something even more prevalent in this season’s Lyons Township High School girls swimming and diving lineup.
That’s depth. Pun intended.
“I feel like we’ve always been pretty deep of a team but maybe this year we have our best swimmers in each event pretty close to one another,” Karan said. “We have a couple of really good swimmers in each event. It’s not like one event we can do well in. It’s all of them.”
On Friday, the Lions rode that depth for an emotional 99-87 victory at rival Hinsdale Central and to win the seven-team LT Relays Saturday with 328 points.
This is believed to be the Lions’ first dual victory over Hinsdale Central since their 2018 West Suburban Conference Silver Division championship season.
LT won on all three levels. On varsity, the Red Devils took first in eight of the 12 events but the Lions took second in 10 along with several thirds.
“I definitely feel like it’s given us a confidence boost and will help us continue to train hard and have high expectations for the rest of the season,” Karan said.
“It was a really fun met and it was especially one of the more enjoyable ones because it’s such a big rivalry. There’s so much energy on the deck from both events and it was really a team effort. Every swimmer and diver had a big impact on the results.”
LT won the 200-yard medley relay with Kylie Thompson, Dylan Jorgensen, Lindsay Forebaugh and Maeve Collins (1:50.52). Lauren Jablonski (100 breaststroke in 1:08.22), Audrey Cavaliere (100 freestyle in 53.85) and Collins (100 butterfly in 58.33) were individual champions.
Karan was among the many unsung heroes that amassed points. She was second in the 200 individual medley (season-best 2:13.39) and 100 breast (1:09.92) and part of the third-place B team 200 medley and 400 free relays.
“Grace is always in the thick of things and we rely on her adversity. Grace had an outstanding meet and you could tell she was having fun within her swims,” LTHS swim coach Scott Walker responded.
“The win against Hinsdale was special because it truly took everybody’s best effort and I mean everyone.”
Winning titles Saturday were the 200 free relay (Jablonski, Libby Langan, Ella Jean Kelly, Cavaliere in 1:39.32), 400 free relay (Langan, Tess Filipiak, Kelly, Cavaliere in 3:40.32) and the 300 back relay (Thompson, Ellie Baum, Olivia Kowalczyk in 3:01.73).
The Lions won by 32 points over second-place Fremd.
LTHS girls volleyball
Senior Grace Turner has additional support this volleyball season.
Her twin brother, Carson, is a team manager and was a setter for the LTHS boys volleyball team’s state runners-up in June.
“(Setter Abby Markworth is) always giving me feedback, my teammates are helping me,” Turner said.
“(Carson) takes the hitting stats. He’s like, ‘Look. You got more kills going this way.’ I really like to have that feedback especially since he’s a volleyball player. He’s a setter so he knows that middle (hitter) connection is important.”
The Lions (11-1) continued to connect in many areas Friday as they swept their third home quad this season, beating Normal 25-19, 25-8, Sandburg 25-18, 25-21 and Bolingbrook 25-13, 25-18. Their only loss is to undefeated Willowbrook Aug. 30 in three sets.
Turner leads the Lions with 70 kills, an impressive .358 attack percentage and 24 blocks. She’s also become a regular server already with more aces (13) than all of 2022 (12).
“Some teams you can physically see when they give up. The amount of times we’ve been in a six-point deficit and we come back and win like 25-22, the team chemistry in general (is encouraging),” Turner said.
“Most of us haven’t played together and we’re able to come together and have a flowing game.”
Turner (7 kills), Maddie Richard (6 kills) and Taylor Carroll (4 blocks) led the attack against Sandburg. Kiley Mahoney had 10 digs and Markworth had 20 assists and eight digs.
Turner (9 kills), Mahoney (9 digs) and Markworth (24 assists) paced the Normal victory. Sienna Olson (6 kills), Markworth (17 assists, 7 digs) and Turner (4 blocks) led the victory over Bolingbrook.
LTHS won 25-23, 25-16 at Lincoln-Way East Sept. 6. Carroll had seven kills and Turner three aces.
LTHS boys soccer
The Lions (6-2-1) set up a championship game in the BodyArmor Series with Monday’s 3-1 victory over Rockford Boylan on goals by Chris Medina, Owen Suda and Mason Burda.
LTHS has won four straight and is 4-0-1 in its last five games.
The Lions won Saturday’s BodyArmor game 2-1 over Solorio Academy on penalty kicks after a regulation goal by Haris Sarajlija, who also scored in the 1-0 victory over Stagg Thursday.
In their West Suburban Conference Silver opener, LTHS won 3-0 at Glenbard West Sept. 5 with two goals from Sarajlija and another by Burda.