2016-17 Team Biographies

GRACE BAALMAN, Hardin (Calhoun)

Grace Baalman

“Amazing Grace” may just be the perfect nickname for Grace Baalman, a three-sport standout and academic all-star at Hardin Calhoun High School. In everything she does, Grace is absolutely amazing.

In basketball, Grace holds Calhoun’s all-time girls basketball scoring record. She was named to the Associated Press All-State team all four years in high school, with three years as the top vote getter. With Grace leading the way, her teams earned second and third-place trophies at the state tournament at Redbird Arena in 2015 and 2017, with a state title, an overtime win over defending champ Moweaqua Central A & M, in 2016.

In volleyball, Grace was named the Alton Telegraph Volleyball Player of the Year as a junior and Calhoun’s Player of the Year as a senior. In the Telegraph, she was described as “a powerful attacker off the pins” who “excels in serve receive, defense and on the service line.” She amassed over 1000 kills as her team took regional titles all four years and a sectional championship in 2014.

And in softball… Grace’s achievements are beyond amazing. Last season, Grace finished with a 35-2 record and a 0.21 ERA along with an astonishing 589 strikeouts. She pitched in back-to-back state championships with a possible three-peat coming up, notching a record 39 strikeouts during a marathon 17-inning semifinal victory at the 2016 Class 1A softball state finals, receiving All-State and Telegraph Player of the Year honors every year, and a place on the pages of Sports Illustrated. She has signed with the University of Kentucky to play Division I softball.

In the classroom, Grace earned a 4.20 GPA on a 4.0 scale, making her first in her class at Calhoun High School. An Illinois State Scholar, she has served as president and secretary in her four years on student council, president of National Honor Society, treasurer of the Spanish Club, and she is the No. 1 saxophone player in the CHS band.

“Never have I seen a more talented and intelligent young woman,” writes Ann Gilman, Grace’s volleyball coach and chemistry teacher. “She is self-motivated and refuses to do anything less than her absolute best.”

“She is confident in herself but is also unassuming,” adds CHS Principal Cheri Burris. “She leads by example.”/p>

Grace Baalman represents IHSA Board of Directors Division No. 6 and her principal is Cheri Burris.

 

WARREN BLOOD, Winnetka (New Trier)

Warren Blood

Whether he’s running cross country or track, unpacking Virgil’s Aeneid in Latin class, or playing guitar in the New Trier jazz ensemble, Warren Blood has learned to appreciate that there is more than one way to win.

“I have always been a fierce competitor,” Warren notes. “But for most of my life, I judged my success purely on how I scored on a test, my time in a race, or the amount of applause I received at a music recital. These are the rewards that generally get the most attention. However, my high school experience would prove to me that these are far from the most important.”

Instead, Warren learned to appreciate “victories in the dark,” the kind of quiet success he felt when he learned to abandon personal rivalries in order to encourage others. As well as to appreciate each individual’s unique contributions that strengthened the team.

“These experiences have taught me to track my success not just by the stats, but by what I gain each day from those around me,” he writes. “It is the knowledge and support that I have received and then shared with others that has taken me infinitely further than when I am inwardly focused.”

Warren has run both track and cross country all four years, serving as captain of the cross country team as a senior. On a cross country squad that earned 10th and 14th place at the state meet the past two years, Warren was named “Most Improved” in 2015, following that up with MVP honors in 2016. In track, he finished 7th at state in the 3200-meter run in 2016.

He is a two-year member of the Latin Honor Society and played with the jazz ensemble all four years. He also ran on New Trier’s winter running club every year of his high school career.

Warren scored a 33 on his ACT and earned a 4.80 GPA on a 4.0 scale, earning him a place at the front of the class at New Trier.

“Warren’s tenacity and resilience, both in the classroom and on the track, serve as an example to his teammates and inspiration to his coaches,” says New Trier track and field coach Mark Wukas. “Guys like him make my job great.”

Warren Blood represents IHSA Board of Directors Division No. 2 and his principal is Denise Dubravec.

 

MORGAN BOLLINGER, Lockport (Twp.)

Morgan Bollinger

When you hear that Lockport’s Morgan Bollinger has been to the IHSA state track and cross country meets a total of five times, you might think it’s a walk in the park by now. But Morgan knows exactly what it took to get there.

“Every year when I stand at the starting line at Detweiller Park before the gun goes off, I think of every run and workout I completed in preparation for that day,” she says. “I picture my teammates bent over beside me after tough workouts, knowing that we were all in it together. More than anything, sports have taught me that I can achieve more than I thought I ever could with extreme determination and unwavering focus.”

Her determination and focus did not go unnoticed. “Morgan displayed enthusiasm and dedication from the beginning of the year,” notes Brian F. Pearson, history teacher at Lockport Township High School. “Her attitude had a positive impact on others, as many students seemed to emulate her enthusiasm and hard work.”

And if her team benefitted from her presence, Morgan is aware that she also achieved more because of theirs. She says, “When a group pushes each other to their limits, they can accomplish great things together.”

Some of those “great things” include four trips to Detweiller Park, as Morgan helped Lockport reach Top 20 finishes all four years, with 5th place team honors in 2014 and 2015. She was named MVP in cross country all four years and served as captain of the team this year.

In track and field, Morgan was the sectional champ in the 3200-meter run last spring. She was also part of two 4x800 relay squads with Top 10 finishes at the state meet.

Morgan’s 4.535 GPA on a 4.0 scale puts her in the Top 10 in her class at Lockport, where she is a member of the National Honor Society and the Spanish National Honor Society. She is an Illinois State Scholar and she participates in Saturday Morning Physics sessions at Fermilab as well as Physics “Bridge Building” competitions.

She also plays in the high school’s prestigious Wind Symphony, and her skill with the French horn has earned her a place in IMEA All-District and All-State orchestras.

Morgan Bollinger represents IHSA Board of Directors Division No. 3 and her principal is Dennis Hicks

 

TAYLOR COOK, Nashville

Taylor Cook

Taylor Cook fills many roles in Nashville. In the community and at Nashville High School, Taylor has stepped up to get involved and make a difference.

Listing just a few of Taylor’s contributions, her coach and teacher Jean Orr offers, “Clarinet section leader, cross country runner, National Honor Society member, track team member, FBLA officer, Daughters of the American Revolution Good Citizen Award winner, Sunday school teacher…”

And in each of those arenas, Taylor leads with quiet confidence. Taylor notes that she was shy and not inclined to speak up when she started at Nashville High School, but her participation in track and her bond with her teammates boosted her self-esteem and gave her the spark she needed to forge ahead with her goals.

“Every time I tell someone I want to be a veterinarian, they either tell me ‘the schooling is too tough,’ or ‘not very many people get into veterinary schools,’” she relates. “Because of my mental toughness from track, I was able to ignore other people’s negative comments and push forward in following my dreams.”

“Taylor constantly challenges herself academically, as shown by her rigorous college prep schedule,” writes Nashville Guidance Director Tesha Maschhoff. “While taking all three of the honors courses we offer, Taylor has earned a 4.0 unweighted grade point average on a 4.0 scale and is ranked 1 of 91.”

In addition of four years of track and three of cross country, Taylor played volleyball and basketball as a freshman and has competed in IHSA solo/ensemble music competitions throughout her high school career. Her awards for track include Rookie of the Year, Most Valuable Runner and MVP. She also participates in student council, Future Business Leaders of America, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, WYSE, Math Team and Tri-M Music Honor Society, and she volunteers at a food bank, helps shop for Christmas presents for underprivileged families, and works as a mentor to junior high students.

Maschhoff adds, “Taylor is achievement motivated and goal oriented. Her personal characteristics of kindness, dependability, responsibility, honesty and cooperative attitude will enable her to be successful in college and life.”

Taylor Cook represents IHSA Board of Directors Division No. 7 and her principal is Brian Pasero.

 

RAFAEL CURRAN, Chicago (St. Ignatius College Prep)

Rafael Curran

“Sal, I’m sorry. I don’t think I can do this anymore.”

Before his freshman year at St. Ignatius, Rafael Curran spoke those words to his older brother on the first day of an intensive wrestling camp. He was, he says, “thrown into the deep-end, without a clue of how to wrestle.” With bruises and mat burns, ready to throw in the towel, he asked his brother for an out.

But he didn’t get one. Instead, Sal told him if he couldn’t handle the camp, then he sure wasn’t tough enough for St. Ignatius wrestling. Rafael thought, “I’ll show him”. His ability to wrestle didn’t change overnight, but his attitude did. Rafael went from that demoralizing camp to four years on the Wolfpack wrestling team, including two years as captain. He added two years of soccer and four years of track, and spent two years on state-qualifying football teams.

“All those sports required considerable commitment and dedication, but no sport matched the difficulty and intensity of wrestling.” he says. “Wrestling has taught me how to dig deeper when I feel I have nothing left.”

Rafael’s search to dig deeper extends well beyond athletics. He has compiled a 4.11 GPA on a 4.0 scale at St. Ignatius and scored a perfect 36 on his ACT. An Illinois State Scholar, he’s earned honors with distinction every semester, and was named a National Merit Commended Scholar as well as a candidate for the United States Presidential Scholar program. He also found time to help found a Business and Economics Club, to participate in National Honor Society and to work with the Arrupe Mentor Program.

He’s even more of a standout when it comes to the study of Latin, where he is a three-time gold medalist in the national Latin exam and a two-year member of the National Latin Honor Society. As a sophomore, he was invited to study Greek in a dual language honors class, giving him a combined seven years of classical language training.

“I have witnessed his character and leadership on the team and in the school community at large,” writes head wrestling coach Tony Pascolla. “I can say without reservation that Rafael is a top-quality student-athlete distinguished by his eagerness to learn, his willingness to work, and his personal integrity.”

Rafael Curran represents IHSA Board of Directors Division No. 1 and his principal is Brianna Latko.

 

MYLES DAVIS, Chicago (Payton)

Myles Davis

“It’s the little things, men!” For Myles Davis, those are words to live by.

“After missing a first down by an inch, watching a pass fly off your fingertips and into the arms of a defender, and having someone tackle you by the end of your shoelace, you learn pretty quickly that football, like life, is indeed a game of inches,” he says.

Myles learned that what seemed like little things — giving 100% during conditioning, putting more weight on the bar, showing more effort on the practice field — translated into the extra inch and the extra spark that made all the difference on game day. In the same way, an attention to detail in terms of studying meant all the difference on exam day.

Myles has been named All-City (2016) as a wide receiver and All-Conference (2014, 2015, 2016) as a wide receiver and running back on Payton’s football team, and he took MVP honors in 2015 and 2016.

Microeconomics teacher Kathryn Person explains that Payton is a small, academically focused school and wasn’t much of a contender in football. “Myles serves as an inspiring role model for the other students and even his senior peers,” she explains. “Payton has become a Top 10 Chicago Public Schools team with four consecutive conference championships, three straight state playoff appearances, and is truly an emerging powerhouse. Myles is the driving force behind that rise.”

In addition to his four years on the Grizzlies football team, including a year as captain, Myles put in two years of basketball and four in track, with two years as captain of that squad, as well. And he made it to the state track meet all four years.

He’s also competed in chess, sung in the choir, served as a Payton Advisory Leader and worked with the National Honor Society as a tutor. He earned a 3.91 GPA on a 4.0 scale and scored a 33 on his ACT.

“My assessment of Myles is simple — an absolutely brilliant young man who is gifted with the exceptional ability to seemingly grasp challenging concepts with simplicity,” writes Valentin Torres, his AP biology instructor. “Furthermore, Myles is diligent, responsible, and the most genuinely good-hearted person I have ever had the pleasure to teach.”

Myles Davis represents IHSA Board of Directors Division No. 1 and his principal is Tim Devine.

 

JAKE GILLUM, Metamora

Jake Gillum

You can throw all the obstacles you want in his path, but Jake Gillum won’t give up. He’ll just work harder.

He remembers when he started as a freshman at Metamora Township High School, when “it took a hearty meal for me to tip the scales over a hundred pounds. Entering into a world with athletes double my size and experience, I was short, shy, and even scared about what high school athletics had in store for me. The only thing I knew I could rely on was my competitive spirit.”

Competitive spirit, yes, but also a whole lot of effort. “It is hard to believe that there is a harder working young man anywhere than Jake,” offers Kelly Willard, who coaches tennis and teaches honors algebra, trigonometry and statistics at MTHS.

Jake had to work hard to compete as a true three-sport athlete all four years of high school. He has emerged as a leader in all three, serving as captain in basketball, cross country and track this year.

His cross country teams have finished 6th, 5th, 7th and 6th the past four years at the Class 2A state meet, with Jake himself leading the way and moving up from 23rd in the field to 11th and then 10th last fall. It should come as no surprise that he was named the Peoria Journal Star Cross Country Runner of the Year three times. In October 2016, he earned an Extra Effort award from television station WMBD to go along with his team’s MVP award and three years of All-Conference honors.

In track, Jake placed 3rd at state twice as part of the 4x800 relay, with 4th and 8th place individual finishes in the 1600-meters. His basketball team won its regional last year, setting a new school record with its 26-2 season. Jake took special honors twice for his mental toughness and extra effort in basketball.

But, as Coach Willard reminds us, there is more to Jake than athletics. “First and foremost, Jake’s academic record is impeccable,” he says. During the last semester, Jake “recorded a grade of A+ in every class he took, all six of which were rigorous honors classes.” Jake’s overall GPA is 4.664 on a 4.0 scale and he scored a 34 on his ACT. He was named a National Merit Finalist in February.

Jake Gillum represents IHSA Board of Directors Division No. 4 and his principal is Sean O’Laughlin.

 

BRIANNA GIST, Chicago (St. Ignatius College Prep)

Brianna Gist

Whether she’s in the pool or on dry land, Brianna Gist believes in living — and playing — in the moment.

Brianna recognized early on that hard work, perseverance and desire were crucial parts of her life as a high school swimmer. Her regimen included “waking up at 5 o’clock for early swims, practicing after school for two hours every day, learning to push mental limitations to the fullest, committing to eating a healthy diet, and sacrificing social events for meets.” But it was only when she realized that she needed to focus on the here and now, not yesterday’s swim, not tomorrow’s swim, but “on each stroke, breath, and turn of the race”, that she began to enjoy success.

That lesson extended to water polo during one important tournament. “The crowd, scoreboard, and clock became inconsequential as I concentrated my thoughts on defending and passing with each new second of the game,” she relates. “I learned the value of playing in the moment.”

Brianna has spent four years on the water polo team and as a varsity swimmer, with one year as captain. She was part of a 200-meter freestyle relay that finished 9th at the state swim meet and part of the state runner-up water polo team in 2014, with return trips to state in 2015 and 2016. She was awarded her school’s swimming spirit award in 2014.

An Illinois State Scholar, she participates in National Honor Society and French National Honor Society, and she has earned a 4.22 GPA on a 4.0 scale, receiving Honors with Distinction every year. She is also a member of the Student Executive Board of Diversity, the Black Organization of Successful Students, Circle of Friends and the Medical Club, and she plays violin in the symphonic orchestra.

Brianna aspires to be a neurologist and her teachers and coaches have no doubt she will succeed. “Brianna is a true scholar,” writes Assistant Principal Robert Harris. “She has an intellectual curiosity that few teens possess today, and she is quite cognizant of the importance of maintaining and celebrating that curiosity.”

St. Ignatius swimming coach David Stephens sums her up more simply when he says, “She is an extraordinary young woman.”

Brianna Gist represents IHSA Board of Directors Division No. 1 and her principal is Brianna Latko.

 

TIM KRASHEVSKY, Vernon Hills

Tim Krashevsky

Every high school runner will hit bumps in the road. Vernon Hills High School’s Tim Krashevsky has faced his share, from a strained Achilles Tendon to an inexplicable second-to-last finish in a race he thought he should own. What got him back in the race? Tim points to one thing: Resilience.

“If everything was always positive and worked the way it was supposed to, where would the challenge of finding solutions be?” Tim asks. “Where would the significance of improvement lie?”

That ability to meet challenges, to continue to work toward improvement in the face of adversity, is a valuable lesson Tim has learned. “My failures have been the ones to guide me toward resilience,” he concludes. “The successes and achievements are just a byproduct.”

Byproduct or not, his successes and achievements are impressive. “Tim is an exceptional student-athlete and has excelled in both cross country and track,” writes Mark Whitney, head coach of Vernon Hills’ cross country and track and field teams. “As a sophomore, Tim placed 3rd in the 800m at the state final meet. His performance was remarkable for a sophomore who had never run the 800m before that year. In June 2016, Tim competed in the Festival of Miles invitational in St. Louis and placed 3rd in the 800m in an elite field of athletes. His time of 1:53.62 is the second fastest in Vernon Hills High School history. Tim is also a member of the school-record-holding 4x400 relay. He ran the anchor leg on the 4x800 relay at the 2016 state final where the team placed 4th overall.”

He is also “an intensely intellectual young man” according to Paul Friedrich, his AP United States history teacher. “He is organized, mature, thoughtful and insightful. It is unique that he has performed at such a remarkably high level while engaging the most rigorous possible academic schedule.” He adds, “Tim is truly notable for his intellectual breadth and vibrancy.”

A member of the National Honor Society, Tim has competed in IHSA solo/ensemble music competitions as well as four years of track and four years of cross country. He has served as captain of each team during his high school career. He scored a 35 on the ACT and has earned a 4.34 GPA on a 4.0 scale.

Tim Krashevsky represents IHSA Board of Directors Division No. 2 and his principal is Dr. Jonathan Guillaume.

 

IRWIN LOUD, Oak Park-River Forest

Irwin Loud

Irwin Loud knows exactly how to find individual success. It’s by being part of the team.

“I have participated in track and cross country since my freshman year in high school,” he says. “Both of these sports emphasize strong individual performances that are combined to achieve team success.” Irwin notes that it works both ways, as the team supports individual performances, too. “If someone has a lackluster race everyone will cheer them on and support them. We do this because we know the team’s success is only possible if each individual succeeds as well.”

Irwin has been MVP of the cross country team three times and “distance runner of the year” in track three times. He has placed 2nd and 3rd in the 3200-meter run at the state meet, with a 4th place in the 1600-meter run last year. His points brought Oak Park-River Forest High School a 10th place finish overall at the state track meet in 2016. In cross country, Irwin also made it to state, finishing in 11th place in 2014.

“Irwin possesses a strong drive to reach his full potential, which caused him to earn All-State honors as a sophomore in cross country and track,” writes Christopher Baldwin, Irwin’s cross country coach and AP computer science teacher. “He was also an All-State runner in track as a junior and ran the second fastest time in the state of Illinois. Irwin consistently strives to improve himself and always encourages teammates to improve.”

Off the track, Irwin is just as dedicated. “Irwin continues his impressive work ethic inside the classroom as well,” says Coach Baldwin. “He has been a role model student, acting as a leader as he excels in a full load of honor level courses.”

As a student, Irwin has a particular aptitude for Japanese. A four-year student of the language, he received a scholarship to study in Japan for six weeks last summer and his academic success led his teacher Yoko Schmadeke to nominate him for the Japanese Honor Society. In addition, Irwin helps organize the school’s annual Japanese Fest, including hands-on teaching in calligraphy and origami for children from the community. He also hosted a Japanese exchange student.

“He is always helping others,” writes Ms. Schmadeke. “His attitude really makes the class a better place. Working with him has been an absolute delight.”

Irwin Loud represents IHSA Board of Directors Division No. 3 and his principal is Nate Rouse.

 

JENNA LUTZOW, Belvidere (North)

Jenna Lutzow

If you ask Belvidere North track and cross country standout Jenna Lutzow to talk about her athletic career, she may mention what sports have given her. Physical and mental strength, humility, perseverance…

Jenna is overlooking some serious hardware. Not only is she a state champion in cross country, but her victory last fall led Belvidere North to the team championship, as well. As a junior, Jenna was the state runner-up, and so was her team. And in 2014, when Jenna took third place, her team came in 5th in the first time it had ever qualified for the girls cross country state meet.

She was named the 2A girls cross country Runner of the Year last fall, Belvidere North female athlete of the year in 2014 and 2015, NIC-10 girls MVP in the Rockford Register Star, Rock River Valley All Star Preps Player of the Year in cross country, 13-WREX Athlete of the Week and, of course, team MVP in cross country all four years of high school.

Jenna has done great work in track, too, finishing 4th in the state in the 800-meter run in 2014 and state runner-up in that same event last year. She was honored as the Blue Thunder MVP in track in 2015 and 2016. She has scholar athlete awards in both track and cross country all four years and, just to keep her schedule full, sings in a cappella choir and Choraliers.

“Ms. Lutzow is one of the hardest working athletes that I have ever coached,” writes cross country coach Kenneth Husser. “She is the first to arrive at practice and the last to leave. This attitude is carried over in the classroom and her academics. She epitomizes selflessness, always supporting, congratulating and encouraging her teammates.”

English teacher Andrew Pivoras agrees. “Not only has she had remarkable success as an individual runner, but she has also been a valuable leader to the team, always encouraging her teammates to be great.” And on the subject of her work in the classroom, he adds, “Jenna’s commitment to academics is shown by her acceptance into the school’s most distinguished organizations including National Honor Society, the Science Honor Society and the English Honor Society. She is also a member of the Belvidere North Aces, a distinction that is only awarded to the top five percent of the senior class.”

Jenna Lutzow represents IHSA Board of Directors Division No. 2 and her principal is Marc Eckmann.

 

CLAUDIA MAGNUSSEN, Pana (H.S.)

Claudia Magnussen

A quick glance at Claudia Magnussen’s resume tells you that she is always eager to try new things, open a new door, take on a new challenge.

“As a freshman, I was so excited to finally be in high school that I wanted to join every club I could,” she relates, “and I am glad I did.”

During her time at Pana High School, Claudia has experienced four years of track and field, four years of student council, four years of Foreign Language Club, four years of FCA, two years of cross country, two years of Scholastic Bowl, two years of WYSE, two years of National Honor Society, a year of golf and a year of volleyball.

“What people remember most about Claudia Magnussen is her attitude, her unrelenting positivity and the way she is excited for everything in front of her,” says David Svezia, her social studies teacher. He talks about a student trip to Italy over the summer. “Each day was an opportunity for Claudia to experience and learn as much as possible.”

Claudia’s 4.23 GPA on a 4.0 scale makes her No. 1 in her class. She is an Illinois State Scholar with scholar athlete accolades all four years of her high school career. Recipient of Pana’s D.A.R. Good Citizen Award, she also made the South Central All-Academic team and was named the First National Bank Senior of the Month and WMKR Radio Student of the Month.

In both track and cross country, Claudia is a two-time MVP. She earned the Maria Witsman Most Dedicated Athlete Award and holds school records in the 1600 and 3200-meter runs.

“By every standard, Claudia is one of the most outstanding students who ever attended Pana High School,” concludes Principal Gayle McRoberts. “Pana High School did not have a cross country team until last year. In that short amount of time, Claudia went from a 12th place finish at the state meet last year to a 2nd place finish this year (losing only to a four-time state champ!) Pretty good for two years of training! As a track and field athlete, Claudia’s specialties are the 1600 and 3200-meter runs. As a sophomore, she placed 9th in the 3200, and as a junior, she placed 3rd in both the 1600 and 3200-meter runs. I am looking forward to seeing what this season has in store for Claudia!”

Claudia Magnussen represents IHSA Board of Directors Division No. 6 and her principal is Gayle McRoberts.

 

KENDYL McFARLAND, Monticello

Kendyl McFarland

For Kendyl McFarland, joining Monticello’s track and field team has made all the difference.

Kendyl remembers her lack of confidence when she started playing sports, a problem that kept her distant from her teammates and generally not having much fun. She continued to keep to herself when she started high school golf and basketball. “It was not until track season that some of the upperclassmen took me under their wing,” she says. “Over the course of the season, I became much less timid. We became close friends and we supported each other through our triumphs and failures. When I made it to state in pole vault that year, they came to support me, and it was one of the best experiences of my life.”

As she blossomed in track and field at Monticello High School, Kendyl took those lessons into other parts of her life. “It not only made me more confident, but I also learned the value of determination, teamwork, and good leadership; I will use those lessons for the rest of my life. Even now, as a senior, I use my leadership positions to make connections and instill these lessons upon the younger students.”

Kendyl has qualified for state three times in the pole vault, with a Top 10 finish in 2014 and Top 15 in 2015. She has competed in AAU Junior Olympics, with three high finishes in the USATF National Youth Outdoor Championships. She also made it to state in golf twice, helping her team to 11th place overall in 2013, and she has been the Okaw Valley Conference champion in golf three years in a row.

Kendyl has earned a perfect 4.0 GPA, putting her at No. 1 in her class at Monticello. She scored a 35 on her ACT and she is a Wendy’s High School Heisman candidate, vice president of Rotary Interact Club, an officer in Pep Club and a leader in FCA. She is a freshman mentor and participates in National Honor Society, Spanish National Honor Society, Spanish Club and the student advisory board.

“Kendyl is one of the brightest students to walk the halls of Monticello High School,” writes Cullen Welter, math teacher at Monticello who also coaches football and boys and girls track and field. “She is inherently intelligent and proficient in all areas of academic and has recently been accepted into West Point Academy.”

Kendyl McFarland represents IHSA Board of Directors Division No. 5 and her principal is Tip Reedy.

 

WILLIAM E. MEADOR, Carbondale (H.S.)

William E. Meador

If you need someone to count on, Carbondale’s Will Meador is your man.

In his four years as a wrestler and four years of music competitions, he has served as captain for each team twice. He is section leader in concert and marching band, and he’s not just a member of the freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling clubs, but practice coordinator for both. Along with all of that, he competes on math and science teams and participates in jazz band and the Grace United Methodist Church handbell choir.

“I selected Will as the work crew chief during his junior year because he can be relied on to show up on time, ready to work, and perform at high quality level,” writes Gregory Townsend, Director of Bands at the high school. “He is consistently seen leading by example and delegating to peers appropriately. Will is great at understanding the challenges created in his busy schedule as a musician, wrestler and student.”

That level of responsibility and accountability doesn’t come easily. As Will tells the story, he wrote the essay for the All-State Academic Team while riding as a passenger in his dad’s truck on the way to the ILMEA All-State band competition. “The other four All-State players left right after school, but I stayed back in Carbondale because I wanted to be there for the wrestling team in our dual against Murphysboro,” he says. It’s all part of the extra effort that defines Will.

His 4.34 GPA on a 4.0 scale puts him at the very top of his class and his 33 on the ACT in the top 1% nationwide. With his tuba, he helped Carbondale win a state championship in music, along with 2nd and 3rd place trophies. He and his wrestling team both qualified for state in 2015 and Will came back the next year as an individual in the 132-pound weight class.

“I know I can assign anything,” says Carbondale wrestling coach Dennis Ragan, “and feel confident that it will be done exactly the way I want it to come out. He is one of the most dependable young men I have dealt with in my 37 years coaching and his communication skills with me and other teammates is impeccable. I already know that I will have a difficult time finding another team captain that possesses all the skills that Will has brought to our team. He is an outstanding young man in every way.”

William E. Meador represents IHSA Board of Directors Division No. 7 and his principal is Daniel Booth.

 

ANNEMARIE MICHAEL, Urbana (University)

Annemarie Michael

“Annemarie is the kind of student every teacher wants to fill every seat in the classroom.”

University High School math teacher Craig Russell isn’t just referring to Annemarie Michael’s intellect or ability. “Regardless of the academic strengths she brings (which are many), regardless of her friendships with her classmates, regardless of her athletic undertakings, Annemarie is a joy,” he says.

Russell refers to something special about Annemarie as he notes that she works beautifully as an individual, but also remarkably well in groups. What he calls Annemarie’s “strong-as-independent, strong-as-collaborator talents” did not come naturally to her at first. She admits she has long been a perfectionist and that led her to want to take on tasks herself rather than share them. “It was not until my freshman year of cross country that I truly realized what it meant to be part of a team,” she writes. “I found that my best memories were not from running alone late at night. Rather, I was happiest when running alongside my friends and teammates.”

That newfound collaborative spirit spilled over into her work with Habitat for Humanity, in working on Uni High’s oral history project, and in orchestra. “I have found that being the principal horn does not mean playing the loudest or standing out,” she says. “It means leading by example and blending your sound with others to make music.”

Annemarie is at the top of her class with a perfect 4.0 GPA. She also scored a 33 on her ACT and has top scores on national French and Latin exams.

She has competed in cross country and track and field all four years, serving as captain of the track team for two. With four Top 10 finishes at the state cross country meet (including stints on two state runner-up teams) and three Top 6 results in the state track meet, she has been named University High School’s MVP in cross country twice and once in track. She was also named All-Area First Team and All-Area Female Runner of the Year by the News-Gazette.

Along with leading the Habitat for Humanity Club and the oral history project at Uni, she is the principal horn with the East Central Youth Orchestra, plays in the pit orchestra for school musicals, and sings with her school’s Madrigals.

Annemarie Michael represents IHSA Board of Directors Division No. 5 and her principal is Jeanette Nuckolls.

 

EMMA MORAVEC, Downers Grove (North)

Emma Moravec

If life is a race, Emma Moravec is ready to run.

“Every day when I lace up my running shoes, I am doing something that I not only love but has made me into who I am today,” Emma tells us.

From her time on Downers Grove North’s cross country and track teams, Emma has learned quite a few important lessons. She says, “I’ve learned how to never give up, how to be a leader, and in addition to all of this, I’ve made amazing friends. Running has set me on a path to be someone amazing, and I will be forever grateful.”

At North, Emma has spent four years running both track and cross country, with two years as captain in cross country. Her accomplishments include qualifying for the cross country state meet all four years and running at the state track meet all three years so far. She was on a 4x800 relay that took 4th place in Charleston in her freshman and sophomore years, and she came in 2nd and 4th in the 800-meter run the past two years, helping the Trojan team finish 6th and 8th overall.

Emma’s 4.79 GPA on a 4.0 scale lands her in the Top 5 in her class of 524 students. She earned a 35 on her ACT and ranks as a National Merit Commended Scholar as well as an AP Scholar with Distinction. She took a bronze medal in a national French contest to put alongside her West Suburban Conference Academic Achievement Award. At Downers North, she is also involved in chamber choir and acts as a math resource tutor.

“Emma’s motivation, academic talent, and positive attitude are her qualities that stand out the most,” says Downers North Science teacher Alan R. Kersey.

“I have been acquainted with Emma since last year as her AP biology teacher,” writes Jeffrey Grant. “In the classroom, Emma represented the ideal student, one who is actively engaged during class instruction, always well prepared, willing to ask pertinent questions, and puts forth effort to seek assistance outside the class to gain a deeper comprehensive understanding.”

Grant adds, “Her ability to be a conscientious learner will make her successful with any endeavor she pursues.”

Emma Moravec represents IHSA Board of Directors Division No. 3 and her principal is Janice Schwarze.

 

ANGELINE NEEDS, Peru (St. Bede)

Angeline Needs

When you ask Annie Needs what she’s gained from her many different high school sports and activities, she starts off with “laughter” and moves quickly to “friendship.”

For Annie, interscholastic competition isn’t about tallying wins or annihilating another team. Instead, she talks about the laughter shared with her friends and the late nights spent on the bus after long meets. “I have gained a multitude of priceless experiences,” she says. “I have learned how to be a friend, teammate and leader.”

Annie learned the importance of team spirit as she navigated four years of cross country, track, and swimming at St. Bede, with a combined six seasons as captain of those squads. She also competed in basketball as a freshman. She added four years each of student council, Spanish Club, Venturing Club, Interact, 4-H and YMCA swim team, three years playing trombone with the Spring Valley Municipal Band, and two years each of Scholastic Bowl and WYSE. She notes that activities such as WYSE competitions, Scholastic Bowl and cross country have enabled her to reach out and form bonds both with her peers at St. Bede and with students and competitors from other schools.

No. 1 in her class at Peru St. Bede with a 4.61 GPA on a 4.0 scale, Annie scored a 35 on her ACT. She is an Illinois State Scholar, her school’s D.A.R. award winner, and a Hugh O’Brien Youth Leadership Academic All-Star.

St. Bede guidance counselor Theresa Bernabei notes that “Annie is always one of the first to volunteer to help others and has been very active with service activities at our school and in the community.”

Ms. Bernabei explains that students at St. Bede are required to complete 100 hours of service, but Annie had more than doubled that by the end of her junior year and she continues to volunteer. “Annie is also a student ambassador for our school,” Ms. Bernabei writes. “Her endless energy, positive attitude and excellent communication skills have helped her to be very successful in this role.”

Rick Fess, Annie’s physics instructor, has also been impressed with Annie’s warmth and spirit. He offers, “She has exemplary leadership skills, academic capability and sportsmanship, and frankly, she is a nice person.”

Angeline Needs represents IHSA Board of Directors Division No. 4 and her principal is Michelle Mershon.

 

TYLER PASLEY, Shelbyville

Tyler Pasley

For Shelbyville’s Tyler Pasley, it’s all in the timing.

“Cross country relies entirely on time, so I learned how to divide my time up not only to hit the desired pace on my runs but to manage my time effectively for school as well,” Tyler says. Whether it’s balancing schoolwork, exams, the ACT, clubs and activities, or preparing for an upcoming track meet, Tyler knows every minute counts.

Tyler is a four-year member of Shelbyville’s track and cross country teams. He was part of the Rams’ three state-qualifying cross country teams between 2013 and 2015, teams that finished 4th and 6th in 2013 and 2014 and took home the runner-up trophy in 2015. Last year, when the team didn’t qualify, Tyler made it as an individual, finishing 10th among Class 1A runners.

His times were good enough to qualify for state in track in the 3200-meter run, and he ran as part of a 2nd place 4x800 relay team last year and a 4th place 4x800 relay team in 2014.

Tyler is No. 1 in his class with a 4.18 GPA on a 4.0 scale. He is an Eagle Scout, president of the National Honor Society, part of the Shelbyville High School Principal’s Cabinet, and a member of the Spanish National Honor Society. He is also a four-year member of the Spanish Club, and he has enjoyed tutoring younger students in Spanish two days a week.

And he’s still found enough time to compete in WYSE and Mathletes. “Math and chemistry have consistently been my favorite subjects of study throughout high school,” he notes. “These are the areas I focus on for the WYSE competition. It is a very competitive and difficult set of tests to take. Spending hours outside of regular classwork studying for these exams has taught me that the goals I set take great determination to achieve.”

Rachel Banfield, his math teacher and WYSE coach, describes him as the “type of person everyone wants on his/her team.” She says, “In my 21 years of teaching, I would put Tyler in the top 1% of all of my students. He is the type of student who wants to figure out the answer to a problem himself and who spends the extra time to figure it out. When he completes this task, he helps his classmates understand the concept, too.”

Tyler Pasley represents IHSA Board of Directors Division No. 5 and his principal is Shane Schuricht.

 

MATTHEW PEREIRA, Lake Zurich

Matthew Pereira

It’s not every high school student who owns his own whiteboard. Matthew Pereira has one so he can work on math problems at home the way they do in the classroom.

That’s Matt, someone who really loves to keep learning wherever he is. “Calling Matt ‘naturally curious’ about math would be a gross understatement,” says Daniel Ellis, Matt’s AP calculus teacher at Lake Zurich High School. “He is a genuine pragmatist who relishes and seeks out extra challenges, tests out unique approaches just for fun and is driven to figure out the ‘why’ of mathematics.”

Ellis adds, “I am not making this up: Matt literally asks for undergraduate math books for Christmas.” Along with that whiteboard, of course. Matt also took calculus classes online over the summer. He studies both French and Spanish and taught himself enough grammar and vocabulary outside of school to skip a year of language instruction.

“Matthew is one of the rarest of the rare students that most teachers never have the opportunity to encounter during their career,” writes Spanish teacher Leah Enright.

Matthew has earned a perfect 4.0 GPA and a 35 on his ACT. He is a National Merit Finalist with “student excellence” awards in Spanish and U.S. History, and he has qualified for ICTM math state competitions eight times. He was All-State in math and was named Math Student of the Month at Lake Zurich High School. He also qualified for the American Invitational Mathematics Exam.

He’s an accomplished runner, three times named MVP on his cross country team, one that finished in the Top 20 at the state meet every year during his high school career. Matt himself ran 3rd, 5th and 6th overall at the last three state cross country meets. He has been invited to run in the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships twice and also qualified for Nike’s Cross Country Nationals. Matt has put in four years on the Lake Zurich track and swimming teams as well as cross country, and he is a two-year captain in cross country. He was 8th in the 3200-meter run at the state track meet as a freshman and ran as part of the 9th place 4x800 relay as a sophomore.

During his high school years, he added math team, Interact and French Club just to keep things interesting.

Matthew Pereira represents IHSA Board of Directors Division No. 2 and his principal is Kent Nightlinger

 

LUKE SLOAN, Taylorville

Luke Sloan

When Luke Sloan was in elementary school, runners received a small plastic charm shaped like a foot for every mile they ran. Luke estimates that he ran over 300 miles between 4th and 6th grade. That’s a lot of little plastic feet!

But it wasn’t enough, not when he entered Taylorville High School and ran smack into the second-best freshman runner in the state, a student named Lawrence Curtin, who ended up as Luke’s rival, training partner, and best friend. “For two years,” Luke relates, “I played second fiddle to the ‘freshman prodigy.’ During my sophomore year of track, I edged closer and closer to him, but I still could not overcome my seemingly invincible opponent.”

He realized that he would never win if he continued to practice on the same level as Lawrence. “He drew his success from his natural ability; I had to draw mine from hard work,” Luke concluded. He added miles and weight training, working harder and harder until he eventually managed to beat Lawrence about half the time. At the 2015 Apollo Conference cross country meet, he and Lawrence ran together for the first half, but then Luke sped up with Lawrence and a Charleston runner hot on his heels. Luke writes, “I held onto my lead for the rest of the race, claiming the conference championship, with Lawrence finishing a few seconds behind me.”“

Since then, he has broken five school records in track and cross country and was named MVP of the cross country team twice as well as “most valuable distance runner” twice in track. He says, “I continue to work harder than ever, not only in running, but in other areas.” His schedule includes plenty of “other areas.” If you add up Luke’s sports and activities, he has spent a combined 15 seasons in IHSA competitions.

Academically, he’s earned a 5.87 GPA on a 5.0 scale, taking a spot in the Top 5 at THS, and a 34 on his ACT. He is an Illinois State Scholar, a National Merit Commended Scholar, a state finalist for the Wendy’s High School Heisman, champion in the LEAD conference academic challenge, and president of the National Honor Society. He has done stellar work in journalism, both in competition, where he was team captain twice, made it to sectionals in sports and editorial writing and took 1st place in newspaper design, and at school, where he is editor-in-chief of the newspaper and copy editor of the yearbook.

Luke Sloan represents IHSA Board of Directors Division No. 6 and his principal is Matthew Hutchison.

 

LOGAN THOMS, Okawville

Logan Thoms

You might call Logan Thoms “Mr. Everything” at Okawville High School.

President of student council, president of Future Business Leaders of America, editor of the school yearbook and newspaper, vice president of Tri-M Music Honor Society, vice president of Spanish Club, treasurer of his class, lead delegate to the Model UN with ten different honors amassed, representative at Boys State where he was voted a Supreme Court Justice, Illinois State Scholar, captain of the baseball and golf teams, and a member of band, chorus and Drama Club as well as Okawville’s WYSE and journalism teams. He’s in the Top 5 in his class with a 3.99 GPA on a 4.0 scale and he earned a 33 on his ACT.

What’s left? Oh, he was also Homecoming King. And he has a 1st degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do.

Logan has played four years of baseball, including two on state-bound teams, one that ended up runners-up and one that came in 3rd in Peoria, while he’s personally gone as far as sectionals in both golf and journalism. He’s taken six different Southern Illinois School Press Association awards for everything from yearbook sports copy to best overall newspaper and he came in 2nd at the sectional level in IHSA journalism for sports writing. He also won the John Philip Sousa award in band and was named to the Prairie Honor Band.

“I do not think anyone could name anyone who exemplifies the qualities of a student athlete better than Logan Thoms,” writes Tim Hostert, Logan’s teacher, coach and Model UN advisor. “Logan is one of the most exceptional, high-character students to attend Okawville High School and is not just involved in numerous extracurricular activities, but maintains a leadership role in many clubs, sports, and activities. As a result of his involvement with student activities, he has gained the complete and total respect of the student body and all of his teachers.”

Okawville teacher Dana Dovovan, who has worked with Logan on the school yearbook and newspaper, agrees with that assessment. She says, “He has the passion and the drive to impact the world in a positive way, and I believe he will do whatever is necessary to achieve his goals.”

Logan Thoms represents IHSA Board of Directors Division No. 7 and his principal is Keith Senior.

 

KAHLIL WASSELL, New Berling

Kahlil Wassell

To New Berlin’s Kahlil Wassell, failure isn’t nearly as important as what happens after.

“Some of our greatest victories happen when we get up after our failures and use the lessons we learn from them to better ourselves,” Kahlil writes. He gives an example of “one overcast and dreary day in May” when he lined up at the starting line, ready to fulfill his dream to win the 100-meter dash at the state track meet. “The next thing I knew, the gun had gone off and the race was over,” he says. Did he win? Nope. He came in 8th.

At first despondent, Kahlil turned it around with “a fierce determination and sense of responsibility.” He decided, “My success would be determined by my ability to overcome obstacles and learn from each experience.”

And that’s exactly what he did. He became a team captain, sprint coach, and leader, learning how to facilitate cooperation and engender a spirit of teamwork and camaraderie. “Our collective hard work and determination enabled us to become Illinois state champions in several events and our small rural school brought home the state team championship for the first time in our school’s history,” says Kahlil.

Kahlil has yet to reach that elusive goal of coming in 1st in the 100-meter dash at state, although he did come in 2nd last year and he has one shot left. He also won the 400-meter run and came in 2nd in the 200 along with running the anchor leg of New Berlin’s state championship 4x100 relay.

Nationally, he has qualified for New Balance, USATF and AAU competitions, while closer to home he was named to the State Journal Register track and field honor roll.

He has played basketball and soccer and competed in Scholastic Bowl for New Berlin High School, and he has participated in National Honor Society, Science Club, Key Club, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Engineering Explorers Post, and Student Council, where he has been Class Secretary all four years.

An Illinois State Scholar, Kahlil has been named New Berlin’s Student of the Year in English, Chemistry and Biology, and his 4.4 GPA on a 4.0 scale ranks him in the Top 5 in his class.

Kahlil Wassell represents IHSA Board of Directors Division No. 6 and his principal is Hattie Doyle.

 

BROOKE WILSON, Mt. Prospect (Prospect)

Brooke Wilson

When you hear that Brooke Wilson scored a perfect 36 on her ACT, you may think she has nothing left to learn. But that just isn’t Brooke.

Whether it’s on the track or the cross country course, in the classroom, working with other students at Prospect High School, or planning outside projects, “Brooke has a fire that burns brightly and she continuously challenges herself,” writes Peter Wintermute, her math teacher and cross country and track coach.

“There is no doubt that Brooke has been blessed with a great gift for learning,” adds social studies teacher Craig Bianchi. “Yet she is unlike other students who take their talents for granted and never really acquire a strong work ethic or fail to develop their fullest potential. Brooke has always pushed herself to be her best.”

Brooke echoes the idea of pushing herself when she says, “Each season I have made a point of fine tuning and tweaking a different part of my training: nutrition, strength training, recovery, among others. I do not believe that after a certain ability level has been achieved, progress will continue if the athlete or participant does not acknowledge the need to reflect upon their training regimen.”

In her four years of cross country and four years of track at Prospect, Brooke has emerged as a leader in both, serving as captain in cross country three times and in track twice. She’s also stepped up as a freshman orientation leader, peer tutor and member of the Principal’s Advisory Committee, and a participant in Knights’ Way, a school/community outreach program.

Brooke has enjoyed success at the state track meet, finishing 2nd in the 3200-meter run and 6th in the 1600 in 2015, adding a 5th place result in the 3200 last year. She was named her cross country team’s MVP in 2014, 2015 and 2016 as well as Most Outstanding on the track team the past two years. She holds Prospect’s school records for both home and state meet courses, and she ran a time at the state cross country meet that qualifies as a Top 20 time in any class.

“Brooke is a one-of-a-kind gem!” Wintermute offers. “She is a shining example of a gifted student, a phenomenal athlete, and an outstanding person.”

Brooke Wilson represents IHSA Board of Directors Division No. 2 and her principal is Michelle Dowling.

 

EMMA WILSON, Chicago (Jones)

Emma Wilson

“Running may have strengthened my legs, but what I value more is how much it strengthened my mind,” writes Emma Wilson of Chicago Jones College Prep.

“I have spent my time as part of this team learning how to be a courageous person and how to use my mind to cultivate change in the world,” she says. “I have learned that no mental battle is too much for me to handle, because I have run eight-mile runs in below-freezing temperatures, I have had to come home from mentally devastating races and then work all night on school assignments, I have had to help my friends persevere through their worst injuries and races, and they have had to do the same for me.”

She concludes, “Now, I must use these four years of amazing experiences to aid me in the next journey I embark on.”

In addition to her four years of track and cross country, Emma has competed in music competitions, receiving “honors superior” in Chicago Public Schools solo/ensemble category. She is president and founder of a garden club at Jones College Prep, she serves as secretary of the Current Events Club, and she participates in Tri-M Music Honor Society.

In track, she has qualified for state in the 1600-meter run and the 4x800 relay, and in cross country, she was part of a team that finished 22nd in 2013. Her impact on the cross country team isn’t measured in numbers, however. Coach Jacqueline Wickham Smith remembers meeting Emma during her first week of high school and her first week of cross country. “I knew, at that moment, at the beginning of my first year as head coach, that I had found the athlete our program would be built around,” her coach writes.

“As team captain, Emma makes team meetings and other events fun with her impeccable comic timing — teenagers and adults alike find her hilarious — but is all business once it’s time to run.” She adds that they’ve won a total of three city championships in the history of the program, and Emma has run on every one. “Her freshman year, she became the first individual city champion in school history, while leading her teammates to the city championship.”

An asset to Jones College Prep in every way, Emma is now ready to take on the world.

Emma Wilson represents IHSA Board of Directors Division No. 1 and her principal is Joseph Powers.

 

MELISSA WOHRLEY, Mendota

Melissa Wohrley

One in a million, the top of the heap, the best of the best… That’s Mendota’s Melissa Wohrley.

In addition to calling Melissa “a truly astounding human being,” MHS Director of Guidance and Counseling Mitchell Landgraf calls her “the cream of the crop.” He says, “This pattern of rising to the top happens in multiple arenas. It is not just going to state in music, it’s being selected for the honors band from among the state qualifiers. It’s not just being a top-seeded tennis player, it’s being voted as team captain by the teammates who so trust and respect her. It’s not just being inducted into the National Honor Society, it’s serving as an officer the junior year, president the senior year, and choosing to use that avenue to give up study hall to tutor other students.”

Denise Aughenbaugh, Mendota High School’s principal, also talks about just how much Melissa is involved in. In addition to the activities and sports already mentioned, she ticks off Drama Club, fall play, spring play, concert choir, concert band, marching band, pep band, jazz band, swing choir, madrigals singer, math team, basketball, track, soccer, student mentor and Interact Club. Principal Aughenbaugh concludes, “She has done it all!”

Melissa herself is aware that she took on a lot in high school. “The extent of all my activities could feel slightly overwhelming, but I was determined and willing to dedicate the time and effort necessary for me to continue to be so involved,” she offers. “I feel that one of the primary reasons that I have strengthened as a person from these activities is because I worked to put myself in a leadership position in all of them.” That includes acting as Drum Major with the band, section leader of the trumpets, choir president, president of Interact, and two years as captain in both basketball and tennis.

A two-time state tennis qualifier in doubles, Melissa is No. 1 in her class with a perfect 4.0 GPA. She is an Illinois State Scholar and she won Mendota’s D.A.R award. She was also the News Tribune Girls Tennis Player of the Year in 2016.

“Mendota High School, the Illinois Valley community, and statewide athletic, academic, and music interscholastic programs have all been bettered because of Melissa’s service, goodness, dedication, competence and respectful spirit of collaboration,” writes Landgraf.

Melissa Wohrley represents IHSA Board of Directors Division No. 4 and her principal is Denise Aughenbaugh.

 

VINCE ZONA, LaGrange (Lyons)

Vince Zona

A top three finish at the state cross country meet…

When your team finished 4th the year before, hitting the Top 3 and taking home some hardware doesn’t sound so out of reach. Until you consider that only one runner had returned from the varsity lineup that got to 4th place.

“Going into my sophomore year of cross country, our team barely cracked the Top 20 in state rankings,” Lyons Township’s Vince Zona recalls. “What the pre-season ranker did not know was just how much we all wanted to succeed.”

He adds, “Everyone on that team was committed to the same goal: A Top 3 finish at the state meet.” To get there, they focused on total commitment, discipline and sacrifice. “Our program changed from one that relied on talent for success to one that worked as hard or harder than any other program in the state.”

And when the LT Lions that year defied expectations, made it to No. 3 and brought home a trophy, it was both a team and personal triumph. Vince says, “I carry the lessons I learned from that season with me in everything I do, and I have done my best to pass the lessons along to the future members of the program.”

The next year, they did even better and won the 2nd place trophy at state, with a 9th place team finish at the Nike Cross Nationals in Portland, Oregon. Vince came in 6th and 7th in the cross country state meet the past two years. He was MVP in cross country as a senior, and he has contributed to 2nd and 6th place results for LT in the 4x800 relay and 5th in the 4x400 at the state track meet. He holds a school record in the 4x800, and twice he’s broken the Lions’ record for the 3-mile run.

On the academic side, Vince earned a 35 on his ACT, he is a National Merit Commended Scholar, and he has compiled a 5.09 GPA on a 5.0 scale. A two-year member of the National Honor Society, he is a member of the Spanish National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta National Mathematics Honor Society and Astronomy Club, and he is a peer math tutor. He also hosts a sports talk show on WLTL, his school radio station.

Next fall, Vince will run cross country at the University of Notre Dame.

Vince Zona represents IHSA Board of Directors Division No. 3 and his principal is Brian Waterman.