The 12-stack Jungle is in.
This summer hopefully more equipment will beef up Glenbard North's weight room renovation project, which aims to raise $60,000 to update gear that dates back to the early 1970s.
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"When I went to school at Glenbard North it was old then," said Panthers boys track coach Mark Karwowski, Class of '97, not at all nostalgic.
Of the pieces that are there now, he said, "Absolutely we use them, but what the kids need is something more updated, something safer and something more user friendly."
Not for athletes only, strength training classes also use the facility on a balcony off the competition gym.
Karwowski said for the past three years he and athletic director Matt Bowser have been deciding what equipment can be ditched and what can be saved, a budget, and a new floor plan for the weight facility. The plan and accompanying information can be seen by visiting glenbardnorthhs.org.
Next, of course, came that age-old question.
"Where are we going to come up with the funds," said Karwowski, though he said progress on that end has been "really good."
Efforts certainly were aided by one of his high school classmates.
Ryan Diem, who in March retired after starting 150 games over 11 seasons on the Indianapolis Colts' offensive line, opened his checkbook. Diem played for Illinois High School Football Coaches Association 2005 Hall of Famer Dale Evans and has also donated to the Panthers football program.
"He definitely was a very giving contributor and we're very grateful for what he has done," Karwowski said.
For those interested in helping, tax-deductible contributions can be made online. Karwowski is brainstorming fundraisers for this fall and winter.
He said he used "facilities that weren't very high-tech" but hopes new equipment -- like the multiple-station 12-stack Jungle -- will help the Glenbard North student of tomorrow.
"I feel that they're very deserving of using a higher-quality weight room," Karwowski said.
Watch the birdies
Congratulations are due a bunch of girls for earning top seeds at the state badminton finals this Friday and Saturday at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston.
Top-seeded singles players are: Andrea McNalley of Hinsdale South, Ellen Lin (Naperville North), Torrie Graham and Georgia Schneider (York), Jasmine Liu and Rachel Anderson (Wheaton Warrenville South) and Alisa Liu (Naperville Central).
Top-seeded doubles teams include: the top-ranked Hinsdale South twosome of Emma Adcock and Brittany DeClouette, Emily Planek and Emily Buhle (Downers Grove North), Tina Xu and Lydia Yiu (Naperville Central), Stacy Krebs and Kirsten Sipek (Glenbard East) and Kyleen Jan and Diana Fan (Naperville North).
Glenbard South named the first successor to retiring coach Andy Preuss, who coaches Raiders boys cross country as well as track and field.
The new cross country coach will be a familiar one, veteran Raiders boys and girls assistant Doug Gorski. He's been on the squad for a decade, and before that he coached gymnastics coach; in 2001 he was named freshman boys gymnastics coach of the year.
"With him and (volunteer) Chris (MacTaggart) last year helping, I'm thinking it'll be pretty seamless," Preuss said Tuesday. "It'll be seamless, I think, because the kids are driven. Doug even told them last night that he's not going to change anything we've done."
That makes sense since he was part of five sectional championship and conference championship teams in cross country, including last year's third-place squad in Class 2A as well as the 2011 2A boys track runner-up.
A teacher at Glenbard South who ran for York, Gorski smoothed the concerns of the boys who wondered if, on Saturday runs in Wheaton's downtown, they'll still be able to visit the weekly summertime French markets. No problem.
"It'll be pretty much business as usual," Preuss said. "And they're going to be good."
All positions covered
Matt Alley, a Wheaton Warrenville South 2000 graduate and former Tigers quarterback, was in church when he met Pastor Charles Mugisha Buregeya, a native of Rwanda who founded Africa New Life ministries.
The pastor's focus is providing education, basic necessities and spirituality to a country that in the 1990s suffered a genocide that left countless children orphaned. Started in 2001 with headquarters in Portland, Ore., Africa New Life has sponsored more than 2,300 children (at $39 a month) and now offers three schools and three churches in Rwanda. Last year its New Life Christian Academy was named the country's top-ranked secondary school.
Alley was touched by all this and sought to further a pressing need -- a school dormitory with a price tag of $140,000.
The WW South quarterbacks coach figured the best way he could raise dough was by assembling a dynamite staff of area football coaches, bring out a few college players and offer a youth football clinic. Open to all kids entering grades 3-9, it'll be held at WW South from 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. June 9.
"It really is kind of a community rallying to try to help this community in Africa," said Alley, who noted every instructor is volunteering his time.
He's lined up 2010 Daily Herald DuPage All-Area Football Team captain Reilly O'Toole, now an Illinois quarterback, plus Eastern Illinois lineman Eric Luhrsen, Elmhurst College quarterback Joe Furco and Northwestern-bound senior back Dan Vitale. (Don't make Vitale run much, kids, he's working on a tender hamstring.)
In addition Alley's lined up a bevy of local prep coaches including Jon Beutjer, Keith Lichtenberg, Alby Zander, Joe Kish, Matt Sinclair, Bryan Ittersagen, Will Kadera, Grant Nemeth, Terry Ekl, Mike Ebbert, Joe Ulrich and new Wheaton Academy coach T.J. Ragan. It's a Wheaton-centric list but hard to complain given the success.
"We've got all positions covered," Alley said. "We want to make it competitive to a point, but we also want to make it where the kids can learn."
A $40 minimum donation is asked by May 18; here's a direct link to the clinic brochure: http://tiny.cc/n5pncw or you may reach Alley at firstname.lastname@example.org. For Africa New Life, visit africanewlife.org.
New IC AD
Immaculate Conception his hired Tom Schergen as its new athletic director. Schergen, who comes aboard July 1, will succeed outgoing AD and head varsity boys basketball coach Darren Howard, whose contract the Elmhurst school administration chose not to renew.
Schergen most recently served as a special-education teacher and head boys varsity soccer coach at Mt. Carmel. He started out as special education teacher and athletic director at Maria, and after a three-year stop at Bremen went to Marist, where he was athletic director from 2007-2011. He's been involved in soccer at every stop.
In his final year at Marist Schergen earned honors as an Illinois Athletic Directors Association Division Athletic Director of the Year, an award Howard also won following the 2009-10 school year.