Everybody knew that Libertyville High School girls basketball was never going to be the same. That incredible season last year could not be repeated, because the seniors took off. How could coach Kathie Swanson and her staff rebuild overnight and put out a winning season again?
Last Thursday night in Gurnee, the Wildcats moved to 13-4 on the season with a 45-36 win over Warren.
It’s called a program. A program does not allow for losing seasons. Great players might come and go, but a system that preaches defense and good teamwork goes on.
"I loved last year’s team,” said Libertyville senior Kerry Risley. “But it’s a new year. We have to move on. Our coach told us that we are still a talented team that we should expect the best."
Clearly one star returned to the Wildcats this season. Minot State University in North Dakota signed up Alex Haley to play for that squad next year. An athletic center in Nicole Kruckman returned as well.
In the win over Warren, Risley forget about her broken nose and led all scorers with 18 points. The senior didn’t even play with a mask to protect the nose.
"It’s nice to have her back from her broken nose,” Swanson said. "She’s a gamer."
The new-look Wildcats even have a freshman on this team. She is guard Mary Wilterdink. The seniors include guards Molly Moon and Eileen Knauff. In the win over Warren, junior guard Haley Hoeksel provided key basket. Also helping out this year are Dana Kym, Olivia Mayer, Rosie Lynch and Margaret Haws.
Boys Swimming: The Libertyville team rang up 107 points last week at the Cougar College Events meet. The Wildcats placed third and were just 4 points short of champion Buffalo Grove.
Libertyville had winning performances out of Matt Harrington (22.69 in the 50 free), Alex Snarski (2:05.22 in the 200 fly), Atticus Rush (4:32.02 in the 400 IM) and the 800 free (7:34.51). Those four swimmers were Pat and Matthew King, Tommy Keefe and Harrington.
Matthew King was second in the 1,000 free. His time was 10:22.03. The record in this event was set in 2007 by former Libertyville swimmer Ben Glick (10:12.29).
Snarski was second in the 200 back (2:02.02). A pair of Boynton boys helped the 400-medley team claim second place (3:51.79). That was Eric and Bruno Boynton along with Justin Fu and Snarski.
Wrestling: The big match is Friday at home. Warren (4-0) is the guest at Libertyville (4-0).
The Wildcats are 11-3 and last week registered a 43-20 win over neighbor Mundelein.
The winners that day were Kyle May (120), Pat Fitzgerald (126), Charlie Meyer (132), Austin Pettinato (145), Sal Ayala (160) and Tim Grote (220)
Last Saturday, the Cats hosted a quad and went 2-1 on the day. One win came over Wheaton North 43-14. Both Meyer and Josh Hirth (138) notched key wins. Other winners included Steve Polakowski (113), Fitzgerald, Pettinato, Ayala, Austin Koziol (170), Kayne MacCallum (152) and Chris McDermand (285). May won by a forfeit.
The Wildcats did run into a tough club from Oak Park River Forest and fell 42-14. That team is the top-ranked team in the state. Noah Strong (106) and McDermand notched wins.
Libertyville rallied to topple St. Rita 39-17. Meyer stood out stopping a returning state qualifier. Pettinato did the same thing. Both Strong and Polakowski notched close wins. Other winners included May, Fitzgerald, Koziol, McDermand and Kevin Barbian (195).
Ice Cats Hockey: It’s the all-star break for hockey season. The Ice Cats have two selections. Peter Henderson and Brad Zwiener. On the JV level, it’s Bryan Constable and Alex Pong. The all-star game is scheduled Jan. 22 at the West Meadows Ice Arena in Rolling Meadows. Game time is 12:20.
Boys Hoops: It’s a tough week of foes for these Wildcats. High-scoring Mundelein pinned a 76-64 win on the Cats last Friday. That was despite 26 points from Libertyville’s athlete of the week, Griffin Pils. Ellis Matthews added 19 points.
It doesn’t get easier for Libertyville as Warren is the next foe on Friday night. Saturday’s foe at home is Round Lake.