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Hawks honor two local high school seniors

in Community Sports/Elburn/Hometown/Kaneland/Sugar Grove by

GENEVA—The Fox Valley Hawks honored its seniors Sunday, which included an Elburn and a Sugar Grove resident.

Kaneland senior and Elburn resident Mike Potvin, an assistant captain and left wing, started playing hockey at age four, plans to attend Waubonsee Community College next year.

Mike Hill, a Sugar Grove resident and senior at Aurora Central Catholic High School, has been playing the last four years, and plans to attend the University of Wisconsin/Platteville majoring in Engineering.

The hockey team, consisting of players from Aurora Central Catholic, Batavia, Kaneland, St. Charles East and St. Charles North high schools, plays at Fox Valley Ice Arena in Geneva.

3-on-3 tournament registration open

in Community Sports by

SUGAR GROVE—Registration is open for Kaneland Youth Basketball’s fourth annual President’s Day 3-on-3 tournament.

The tournament is hosted at Harter Middle School from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 17.

Registration is $20 per team.

There are fourth through eighth grade divisions, as well as boys and girls divisions. There will also be A & B divisions, depending on the number of registrations. Medals will be awarded to each division champion.

To register, visit KanelandBasketball.org.

Wasco girls fastpitch registration

in Community Sports by

WASCO—Wasco Girls Fastpitch Softball Leauge (WGFSL) registration for the Spring/Summer season is underway. Registration is open to all girls from kindergarten through 12th grade.

Games are played in the evenings and some Saturdays in St. Charles. Practices start in April and conclude late June or early July.

Players may register online at WascoFastpitch.com, download a mail-in registration form, or call (630) 513-1200.

Wasco baseball registration now open

in Community Sports by

WASCO—Online registration is now open for the spring 2014 Wasco baseball season.

There are opportunities for kids from five years of age through high schoolers, with registration starting at $150. Hat, jersey, socks, and baseball pants are included in the registration fee. Because safety is their highest priority, the organiztion provides quality equipment such as batting helmets and catchers gear for each team.

Coaches are also needed, especially at the younger levels.

If you’re interested in registering or coaching, visit WascoBaseball.com.

Photo: Kaneland Cagers win Sycamore Shootout

in Community Sports by

The 8th-grade Kaneland Cagers won the inaugural Sycamore Force Shootout this past weekend. Brian Bartholomew (front, left to right), Rhett Espe, Kyle Stuart and Matt Olson. Asst. coach Brian Claesson (back), Luke Gomes, Jack Douglas, Garrett Hukle, Blake Feiza, Mathew Gombar and head coach DJ Cleinmark (not pictured: Josh Marczuk).
Photo submitted by Heather Espe to sports@elburnherald.com

Blackberry Township working to renew lease on Elburn Youth Baseball field

in Community Sports by

BLACKBERRY TWP.—The Blackberry Township Board hopes to renegotiate a lease that will allow Elburn Youth Baseball to continue playing at McNair Field.

The previous lease negotiated between Blackberry Township and Burr Ridge company Transmission Relay Corporation had lasted 10 years. The lease granted local athletic leagues the use of five of the corporation’s 20 acres located south and east of the intersection of Bateman and Rowe roads in exchange for a fee of $1 a year.

Transmission Relay Corporation had purchased the property in 2003. Located in unincorporated Kane County, the property is zoned for recreational open space. According to Village President Dave Anderson, who was Township Supervisor at the time of purchase, the agreement the new owner made with the previous owners was that it was to be used for athletic fields for Kaneland area athletic leagues.

When the new owners applied for a zoning variance from Kane County to install a tower on the property, the variance was granted on the condition that it would continue to be used for athletic fields.

Elburn Youth Baseball volunteers had begun the process of expanding the field’s parking lot when they received a call telling them to hold off on the expansion. It was then that the baseball organization members realized the lease had expired on April 30 of this year.

Blackberry Township Supervisor Dennis Ryan and Road Commissioner Rod Feece initiated a meeting with owner Lynn Limanowski on Nov. 20 to discuss the renewal of the lease. Feece said the meeting was cordial, and that Limanowski was receptive to the baseball organization continuing to use the field. However, he said she was not open to the property being used for football activities.

A call to Transmission Relay Corporation was not returned by press time.

Sign-up for baseball begins on Saturday, Feb. 1, and Blackberry Township officials said their plan is to get the lease in place before then. They said they will schedule a special meeting for Thursday, Jan. 2, to discuss the issues, and then meet with the property owners before their first regular meeting of the new year on Tuesday, Jan. 14.

Wasco Diamonds 14U clinic set for Dec. 28

in Community Sports by

ELBURN—The Wasco Diamonds will present a 14U clinic on Saturday, Dec. 28, at the softball diamond located at 707 Herra St. in Elburn.

A pitching and catching clinic is from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and is $25. An all-skills clinic is from 9-11 a.m. for 10U players and from 1-5 p.m. for 12U and up players and costs $45. To sign up for both clinics is $60. A T-shirt is included in the cost.

For information on registration, email britkoss14@aol.com. Registration ends Friday.

Softball tryouts, clinics approaching fast

in Community Sports by

WASCO—Wasco Girls Fastpitch Softball (WGFSL) registration for the 2014 Spring/Summer season begins Wednesday, Jan. 1.

Registration is open to all girls from kindergarten through 12th grade. There are no out-of-district fees.

Players develop their skills with the emphasis on fun. Games are played in the evenings and some Saturdays in St. Charles.

Practices start in April and conclude late June/early July. Players may register online at WascoFastpitch.com, download a mail-in registration form, or call (630) 513-1200.

WGFSL also offers All Star teams, the Wasco Warriors. The Warrior participate during the in-house season, in addition to several area tournaments without the year-round commitment and expense of full time travel all the while gaining great experience for the more advanced player. All Star tryouts are Sunday, Jan. 12.

WGFSL, in partnership with Elite Sports Training Center of St. Charles is also offering clinics that includes hitting, speed-agility-quickness, pitching and hitting prior to the start of the season.

For more information about WGFSL or the clinics, visit WascoFastpitch.com.

KUSC wears pink to take on cancer

in Community Sports by
KHS Principal Jill Maras (back row, left to right), coach Mike Mitchinson, Jack Rissman and assistant coach Joel Rissman. Lucas Pehl (left to right), Jake Guernon, Cade Ory, Sean Gannon, Nick Cummings, Nick Mitchinson, Joshua Pehl, Nicky Montalbano, Will Sand and Ryan Nudo. 									       Courtesy Photo
KHS Principal Jill Maras (back row, left to right), coach Mike Mitchinson, Jack Rissman and assistant coach Joel Rissman. Lucas Pehl (left to right), Jake Guernon, Cade Ory, Sean Gannon, Nick Cummings, Nick Mitchinson, Joshua Pehl, Nicky Montalbano, Will Sand and Ryan Nudo. Courtesy Photo
Assistant coach Joel Rissman (back row, left to right), Coach Mike Mitchinson, Matt Olson and Jack Rissman. Nick Cummings (front row), Ryan Nudo, Lucas Pehl, Jake Guernon, Cade Ory, Nick Mitchinson, Sean Gannon, Joshua Pehl, Nicky Montalbano and Will Sand. 										       Courtesy Photo
Assistant coach Joel Rissman (back row, left to right), Coach Mike Mitchinson, Matt Olson and Jack Rissman. Nick Cummings (front row), Ryan Nudo, Lucas Pehl, Jake Guernon, Cade Ory, Nick Mitchinson, Sean Gannon, Joshua Pehl, Nicky Montalbano and Will Sand. Courtesy Photo

KANELAND—The Kaneland United Soccer Club held a Think Pink fundraiser in October to raise money and awareness for cancer.

Two local residents of the Kaneland community, Matt Olson and Bridget Sweeney, both battling a cancer diagnosis, were the recipients of the club’s proceeds. The club sold pink spirit wear to its players and at the Oct. 11 Kaneland High School football game.

The players wore their pink gear during October league games. Almost $900 was raised by the club. The recipients were the guest of honor at a 10U boys game held earlier this month in Elburn.

Photo: Dodgers win

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2013 Oct 20 -053 Wasco Championship game!
WASCO—The Wasco competitive Major team Dodgers won the championship game verses the Brewers in a well-pitched defensive battle between the two teams Oct. 20 in Wasco.

The Dodgers were able to score two runs with timely hitting and base running to win the game 2-0.

The team included Victor Krause (front row, from left), Cody Krawczyk, Sam Jackson, Tyler Conklin, Carter Askew, (back row) Head Coach Craig Askew, Will Cushman, Tyler Johnson, Colton, Vito Brandonisio, Ben Durbala and Alex Buchanan (not pictured: Dalton Askew). Courtesy Photo

Kaneland Youth Competitive Cheer qualifies for State

in Cheerleading/Community Sports by

The Kaneland Youth Competitive Cheer team ended its regular season by earning a bid to the State competition in December. The team is in its second year of existence and is comprised of girls in grades 6-8 from the Kaneland community.

Preparation for this season began in the summer. The team practiced between two and two and a half hours, two to three days per week. Once school started, the girls continued to practice once a week.

The team competed in three regular season competitions this year. At the competitions, Kaneland was judged on several criteria, including overall performance and execution of their routine (dance, pyramids, jumps and fundamentals of cheer), which was limited to three minutes.

In order to participate in the State competition, the team must pay an entrance fee of $70 per girl. The team is holding a raffle to help offset the cost of both the entrance fees and the hotel stays during the competition. Raffle tickets are $5 each and can be purchased from any of the team members or by emailing competitive@kanelandcheer.org.

Three softball signings at KHS

in Community Sports/Kaneland/Softball by
Three Kaneland High School softball standouts signed with three separate universities on Nov. 13 in the KHS library in front of their teammates, families and coaches. Lauren Zick signed with St. John’s University in Queens, N.Y., Lexi Roach signed with Youngstown State University in Youngstown, Ohio, and Lanie Callaghan signed with Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Ind.

Lightning quick

in Community Sports/Girls Track/Kaneland/Softball by

Photo: Kaneland Knights fans know Lauren Zick: Track Athlete. But the senior has verbally committed to play softball for St. John’s University, located in Queens, N.Y. Speedy on the track as well as the basepaths, Zick plays softball for the New Lenox Lightning, and runs for the KHS track and field team in the spring. Courtesy of Mike Gombar

Kaneland’s Zick excels on diamond
KANELAND—Lauren Zick’s athletic career at Kaneland certainly has taken a unique path.

Zick verbally committed to play softball for St. John’s University last summer, yet the senior has never stepped into the batter’s box wearing a Knights’ uniform. Instead of circling the bases for Kaneland’s softball team in the spring, she circles the track for the Knights girls track and field squad as a sprinter and long jumper.

So, the question begs asking: You’re getting a full ride to St. John’s for softball, but you run track?

Well, Zick is quite a talented track athlete, too, having qualified for the state meet each of the past three years.

“She was running times that were state-qualifying times in high school as an eighth-grader,” said Keith Snyder, the Knights’ sprints and relays coach. “We (the Kaneland track and field coaches) held out hope she’d choose track, and luckily she did.”

Zick was being recruited to run track collegiately, but she’s had to inform recruiters that she’s agreed to attend St. John’s on a softball scholarship.

“I’ve had various schools show interest in me,” she said. “I’ve gotten letters and stuff. I’ve had to tell a few colleges that have given me calls that I’m committed to softball.”

In addition to loving track, Zick explains that the sport helps her hone her softball skills; specifically, improving her speed as a leadoff hitter, as well as her strength.

“Overall, I thought track would help me with softball with my speed and my start (out of the batter’s box),” she said. “My starts for a leadoff hitter weren’t as explosive. I’ve gained a lot of muscle and physical strength through track; we have a pretty rigorous lifting schedule and lift three to four times a week.”

However, it’s not as if she hasn’t considered suiting up and playing softball for the Knights.

“There’s always been the temptation,” she said. “Coaches talk to me every year, asking if I’d come out.”

Even though she doesn’t play for her high school team, Zick logs plenty of innings throughout the year as a leadoff hitter and center fielder with the New Lenox Lightning travel team. The Lightning’s summer schedule includes around 80 games. She’s currently in the final stretch of the club’s fall schedule, which is between 30 to 40 games. In fact, Zick and her teammates are heading to Orlando, Fla., for a fall showcase tournament that’s being held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

These types of tournaments are usually attended by many college coaches and scouts, Zick noted. Zick, who next summer will be part of the Lightning’s U18 Gold team, got the exposure to college coaches she needed by playing for the Lightning. The Lightning, she added, places 100 percent of their players who graduate from the program with college teams.

“I knew that since I didn’t play high school softball, I needed the exposure,” she said.

Zick’s coach with the Lightning contacted St. John’s because he knew they were looking for a girl in Zick’s graduating class (2014) to replace the team’s current center fielder—a senior who’ll be graduating next spring.

“It was beautiful,” Zick said of the campus at St. John’s, located in Queens, N.Y. “It’s completely different than Illinois. It’s a pretty area and I like how close it is to big city; it’s fun and there’s a lot to do.”

The coaching staff at St. John’s wants Zick to continue working on her skills as a slap hitter, which is an important part of the Red Storm’s game. Zick is a natural right-handed hitter who was converted to a left-handed slap hitter.

“I think the hardest challenge for me (making the switch) was seeing the ball from different angle,” she said. “You use the left eye for visualization from right side (as a right-handed hitter), and you use your right eye for visualization as a left-handed hitter. I still work on the visualization of it all.”

She talks to Red Strom coaches regularly as she prepares herself to join the team for their 2014 fall season.
“They’re checking in on me, asking what my stats are and what I’m working on,” Zick said. “They have a pretty quick lineup; all their outfielders are slappers. They basically told me as a freshman that I should expect to make an impact. There’s always going to be competition and your spot obviously is not guaranteed.

“It’s definitely going to be a lot of work. I can’t wait; I’m so excited to improve myself and play at the caliber level that I’m going to play at.”

But before you know it, it’ll be track season again. Snyder says the sky’s the limit for Zick in regard to what she could accomplish next spring.

“I would say that with her and the team, we have some pretty high hopes,” he said. “She has the potential to be all-state (in) anywhere up to four events. She has that kind of ability. The long jump and 200 (meter dash) are her favorite events. We’re going to look at the 100 and 400, or the 4×100 or 4×200. Whatever looks like the best chance to help out and get state medals.”

“I definitely want to be able to do well enough (in track),” Zick said, “so when I look back in the future, I can be proud of what I do while I did have the time competing in track.”

‘Pretty In Pink’ Champs

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14U Wasco Champions
The 14U Wasco Team 4 won first place in the Susan G. Komen “Pretty in Pink” tournament last weekend, sponsored by Wasco Girls Fastpitch Softball League. Grace Sobieski threw five perfect innings, stole five bases, and closed the 3rd inning with a double play. Kate Gill threw two innings allowing only one hit. Liv Doyle, Kate Weber, Hannah Springer, Adriana Conlee, Leah Thompson, Lexi Coakley all stole for a combined 20 bases to win the championship 10-1.
Courtesy Photo

Wasco Fastpitch looks for crafters

in Community Sports by

WASCO—Crafters are wnated for the fourth annual Susan G. Komen “Pretty in Pink” softball tournament October 19 and 20 at the Wasco Girls Fastpitch Softball fields in St. Charles.

The organization is seeking local exhibitors of items such as sport memorabilia, holiday items and decorations, jewelry, fashion items and items for females ages 5-18.

For more information email secretary@wascofastpitch.com or call (630) 513-1200.

Home on the lanes

in Bowling/Community Sports/Kaneland by
Mabel News Photos 3

Photo: Kaneland Harter Middle School 6th-grader Mabel Cummins is one of the top junior bowlers in the Chicago area, with a 179 average and a high game of 238. She recently competed in the 12-and-under division of the United States Bowling Congress’ Youth Open Championships in Detroit, placing fifth in singles, sixth in the doubles division and eighth in the team division. Courtesy Photos

Kaneland 6th-grader finds success on bowling circuit
ELBURN—Ray Cummins’ first job as an air traffic controller with the Federal Aviation Administration took him and his wife, Kimberly, both Nevada natives, north of the U.S.-Canadian border.

We’re talking way north of the border, to Chugiak, Alaska—an unincorporated community in the municipality of Anchorage.

A recreational bowler, Ray started taking his daughter, Mabel, to Eagle River Bowl in nearby Eagle River, Alaska, on Sundays before working the night shift when she was four.

“We put gutter racks up, and she would throw the ball between her legs,” Ray recalls. “We had a big, empty bowling alley to ourselves.”

Ray landed a promotion in 2008 to work at the Chicago Air Route Traffic Control Center, located at Indian Trail Road in Aurora, where he’s now a traffic management officer. It’s the hub of America’s national air space system that manages air traffic in and out of O’Hare and Midway airports.

So the Cummins family moved from an area he describes as paradise to the Fox Valley area.

“It’s the wilderness at your doorstep,” he said of their time in Alaska. “We had moose pretty much in our yard all the time.”

Ray, Kimberly and Mabel ended up putting down roots in Elburn. Their home sits on an acre and a quarter of land south of town along Hughes Creek.

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“I have this thing called the 15-second rule. I can get mad at myself for 15 seconds (after a bad shot) and I just let it go.”

-Mabel Cummins, Elburn sixth-grader

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“We traded moose for deer,” Ray said with a laugh. “It’s very similar to our home in Alaska. It’s kind of woodsy and remote, near civilization, but you live out in the woods. Elburn is very community oriented, and it just felt like home.”

Meanwhile, Mabel has been experiencing life in the fast lane since her move to the lower 48, moving into the upper echelon of bowlers for her age group.

Mabel, an 11-year-old sixth-grader at Kaneland Harter Middle School, is one of the top junior bowlers in the Chicago area. She averages a 179, with a high game of 238, and recently competed in the 12-and-under division of the United States Bowling Congress’ Youth Open Championships in Detroit.

She placed fifth in singles in the 12-and-under girls scratch (no handicap) division. Mabel also teamed up with her doubles partner, 12-year-old Blake Miller from St. Charles, and finished sixth out of 52 teams. In the teams’ division, where Mabel and Blake were paired with two other 12-year-olds they had never met; they finished eighth.

“It was amazing,” said Mabel, who is in her first year of competing in USBC tourneys. “I got to spend time with some really good team bowlers. I’ve been in a couple of tournaments like this, but this last tournament, I just decided to go there and have fun.”

Competitive bowling is a different beast from recreational bowling. Mabel owns 20 bowling balls—the average professional owns around 30—and takes five with her to tournaments. Bowlers constantly have to gauge the amount of oil on the lanes, and adjust the speed, rotation and loft of their shots.

“It’s incredibly physics driven,” Ray said.

“In tournaments I’ve gone to, they put down different oil patterns,” Mabel explained. “It changes how your ball reacts. The ball carries the oil down the lanes. You have to adjust accordingly.”

Mabel wants to continue honing her skills, and recently, one of her bowling role models, Diandra Asbaty, agreed to become her coach and mentor as Mabel continues to go through the junior bowling developmental process. Asbaty, who’s from Chicago, won the 2012 USBC Queens tournament, considered to be one of the four majors on the PBA Tour.

“I’ve had a couple of lessons with her,” said Mabel, who practices two hours a day and meets with Asbaty once or twice a month. “She wants me to be her student until I go off to college. I think she’s a really good teacher. She has a way of helping you understand what you need to do, and helping you get there to achieve that.”

One particular part of her game Mabel said she would like to improve on is the mental aspect.

“I’m working on my mental game,” she said. “How I react when I throw a bad shot. You have to have a strong mental game; that’s what puts you above the rest. I have this thing called the15-second rule. I can get mad at myself for 15 seconds (after a bad shot) and I just let it go.”

Mabel eventually would like to become part of Junior Team USA, an elite group of boys and girls bowlers who represent the nation at international bowling competitions. But her ultimate goal is to land a college bowling scholarship at one of the universities known for their bowling programs: Wichita State, Wisconsin-Whitewater or Nebraska.

One of the benefits of bowling in tournaments such as the USBC’s Youth Open Championships in Detroit is the potential to earn scholarship money. Whatever money a youth bowler earns—depending on how one places at a particular tourney—is put into a 529 college savings plan in which families accumulate tax-free funds that are applied toward college education expenses, such as room and board and tuition.

Mabel wants to become a prosthodonist, which specializes in the restoration and replacement of teeth lost either through an accident or the aging process.

“I like how a prosthodonist combines art and creativity and being able to help people, which is want I want to do,” she said.

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