Season 10 of Naperville Sports Weekly began in the fall of 2016 with host Joe Olmo returning for his 2nd season as host. He was joined mid-year by your truly as co-host for the remainder of the season. Season 10 was also when NSW first introduced its initial 9 part Time Capsule series, so we have now officially Inceptioned ourselves. A Time Capsule within a Time Capsule.
The first big event of the fall saw Benet Academy sophomore Lauren Beaudreau improve on her 4th place finish at the state golf meet from the previous season. The Redwing linkster finished a single stroke back from winner Grace Curran as the state runner up.
October of 2016 marked the first time the state tennis tournament split into Class 1A and Class 2A. Benet Academy took advantage of its 1A placement and brought home the first state championship in program history. The 1A doubles runner up duo of Katie Telford and Pauline Neubert led Coach Hand’s crew to the title.
November 5th, 2016 was one of the most memorable days in Naperville Sports Weekly history. The morning began with Benet Academy boys soccer bringing home the Class 2A third place trophy, the best finish for the Redwings since 2001.
At the state cross country meet just an hour later, Neuqua Valley boys cross country capped off a season long run of dominance with the 3A state championship. The third state title for the Wildcats and first since 2009.
The Naperville North girls cross country team followed suit, bringing home state championship number seven, led by Sarah Schmitt, Alex Morris and Claire Hamilton. Head Coach Dan Iverson then drove north from Peoria to Hoffman Estates to watch his son Colin and the Naperville North boys soccer team. The Huskies scored two goals in the 2nd half to bring home the first 3A state soccer championship for the program since 1998. The 2nd state title of the day for North and the 4th state trophy for our local teams.
The final fall sports team to wrap up the season was Benet Academy football. The Redwings made a tremendous run through the 7A playoffs with wins over Hoffman Estates, Normal Community and Rolling Meadows, before finally meeting their match against eventual state champion East St Louis in the semi finals.
The winter sports season did not feature any state championships for the six local teams, but there were plenty of memorable moments.
Naperville North boys basketball won its first sectional championship since 1998, finally vanquishing conference rival Wheaton Warrenville South in the sectional title game. Neuqua Valley hockey and stars Reid Martin and Ben Granato helped the Wildcats win the Illinois West Cup and advance to the elite 8 of the Blackhawk Cup for the first time in school history. Waubonsie Valley senior wrestler Mason Kroening finished as the state runner up in the 195 pound weight class, while teammate Nick Sondag earned 5th place at 220 pounds.
And Waubonsie Valley girls bowling sent legendary head coach Marty Miller off in style, ending the year with the third place state trophy. It was the 6th top five finish at state in a row for WV and the 6th state trophy for the program.
The spring season continued to provide winning programs and thrilling highlights for Season 10 of Naperville Sports Weekly.
At the state badminton meet at Eastern Illinois, Metea Valley earned its best individual finish in program history as the doubles pairing of Nitya Nagarajan and Allison Yu earned a back and forth three set win to finish in 3rd place.
Neuqua Valley came up just a little short of a three peat after winning state in 2015 and 2016, but the Wildcats were more than happy to bring home the 2nd place trophy. Joyce Chen and Shrinithi Venkatesan won the doubles state title for NV and junior Lauren Ho finished in 5th place in singles. Naperville North earned a state trophy as well thanks to freshman Emma Lin finishing as the state singles runner up.
For the 2nd consecutive season, Naperville Central boys and girls water polo made it into the final four up at Stevenson. The Redhawk boys followed up their state title from the year prior with a third place victory in 2017 over Fenwick. The girls made it to the state championship for the 2nd consecutive season. Central erased a three goal deficit in the 4th to send the championship match to overtime, but fell by a single goal 14-13, finishing as the state runner up to Stevenson.
Despite not having an official Boys Gymnastics team, Neuqua Valley’s Eric Mitchell showed off his skills at the state meet, winning the individual championship on the Pommel Horse.
Back at Eastern Illinois for the girls state track and field meet where Naperville North track and field showed that its running program could handle more than just long distance. The Huskies hoisted the state third place trophy as sophomore Halle Bieber won the 300 meter hurdles.
At the same meet, Metea Valley star Courtney Morgan finished up a historic career with her third state championship in the shot put. The Mustang added her 8th state medal later in the day with a runner up finish in the discus.
The following week, Neuqua Valley boys track and field also earned a first place medal at state thanks to the 4X800 relay team of Jake McEneaney, Tyler Bombacino, Josh Mollway and Isaiah Robinson.
Just like in the fall, the Benet Academy boys tennis team enjoyed the splitting of the state meet into two classes. The Redwings snagged the third place trophy in class 1A. Patrick McGuigan finished in 6th place in singles while younger brother Danny McGuigan and his partner Casey Schrader finished in 4th place in doubles.
Naperville Central boys tennis made school history in class 2A. It took a full team effort from the likes of Joseph Li, Mark Polowczak and Ammaar Saeed to rack up points. Junior Ryan Roegner won the third place medal in singles to put the Redhawks on the brink. Bill Zhang and Martin Matov then closed out the program’s first ever team state championship, by winning the 5th place doubles match over New Trier.
As the 2016-17 school year drew to a close, a pair of baseball teams made deep runs into the post season. Neuqua Valley rolled through the regular season with an incredible 31-1 record and a 21-1 record in conference play. The Wildcats got a walk off win over Minooka in the 4A regional championships and won a sectional plaque over Plainfield North before falling to St. Laurence in the Supersectionals.
Benet Academy competed in class 3A and cruised through the first couple rounds of the playoffs, before knocking off Nazareth in the section championship to win the first sectional plaque for the Redwings since 1989. But just like Neuqua, BA fell one game short of state, dropping the Supersectional to St. Viator.
10 season of NSW and 10 years of celebrating champions was in the books. Season 11 of NSW would see dramatic changes, not just for the Dupage Valley Conference, or the IHSA, but for Naperville Sports Weekly as well.
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