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updated: 9/17/2012 9:17 PM

Libertyville's boys cross country team lends a Hand

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  • Coach Mark Buesing's Libertyville boys cross country team looked beyond its immediate surroundings to help support disadvantaged youth by donating to By The Hand.

      Coach Mark Buesing's Libertyville boys cross country team looked beyond its immediate surroundings to help support disadvantaged youth by donating to By The Hand.
    Paul Valade | Staff Photographer


In addition to all the time they work on conditioning to run in meets every week, Libertyville's boys cross country runners also spend some important hours away from the sport.

They have once again donated to "By The Hand," a Chicago charity that works with disadvantaged youth.

The Wildcats followed an eight-year tradition and this time raised $2,000 for the charity.

The Libertyville athletes sold coffee, hot chocolate and smoothie mixes with the help of TKU, Inc. Fundraising.

The team's top fundraisers were Alex Zoellick, Tyler Chen and David Rule.

By The Hand is an after-school program with an emphasis on academics and a commitment to nurturing the whole child.

Founded in Cabrini Green and located strategically throughout some of Chicago's most impoverished inner-city communities, where overcrowded and underfunded schools abound, By The Hand is filling a need -- and with great success.

More than 900 students are served by the program.

The team actually met some of the students from By The Hand on Sunday, Sept. 9 at the Chicago Half-Marathon and 5k in Jackson Park.

The By The Hand students, ages 9 to 17, ran the 5k.

The Libertyville cross country runners helped them warm up and cheered them on during the race.

"After helping them warm up, I wanted to run, too," said senior Adam Blythe. "But it was a lot of fun to watch them compete."

"It was nice to meet the kids that will be helped by our donation." added senior Chris Aksland. "And it was rewarding to see their smiles when we cheered for them."

Over the past eight years, the Libertyville boys cross country team has donated more than $16,000 to charities.

The team is coached by Mark Buesing, Matt Condron, Mike Cook, Ben Zollo and Colleen Pawlicki.

Women's soccer

Wisconsin-Whitewater senior Lauren Aguilar (Carmel) was named a Wal-Mart Player of the Week for her performances against Lake Forest College.

Moving up to No. 1 doubles, Aguilar and her partner went 1-0 as they rallied from a 4-2 deficit to win 8-5 in their season debut together.


• Sophomore libero Kelsey Nobilio (Johnsburg) was named Wisconsin-Whitewater volleyball player of the week for her performance in the Whitewater Invitational.

Nobilio played all four matches posting 69 digs in 12 sets for an average of 5.75 digs per set.

She added 7 aces and 9 assists and led the Warhawks in digs in each match with a standout performance against Augsburg (21 digs, 2 aces).

The Warhawks went 4-0 in the invitational, sweeping each opponent 3-0.


The Hawthorn Middle Schools in Vernon Hills have rolled out a new after-school fencing program/team for boys and girls on Mondays.

The year-long program will teach middle school students the Olympic sport of fencing.

Rich Jackim, a volunteer club administrator for the Crimson Blades Fencing Academy, said the response has been tremendous and more than 20 children showed up on the first day from Hawthorne North.

"This is a great example of the school district and parents working together to launch a new program even in difficult budgetary times," Jackim said. "It's also a great example of a public-private partnership since the program is actually being run by a local fencing club called the Crimson Blades Fencing Academy."

The Crimson Blades Fencing Academy is a small fencing club in Libertyville that teaches students of all ages the sport of Olympic Sabre Fencing.

Jackim coordinates member and parent volunteer activities and works closely with coach Gordon Gandy to keep the Crimson Blades' members informed about club activities, schedule changes, tournaments and events.

Jackim also manages and maintains the club's website.

Founded by Gandy, a nationally ranked sabre fencer, Crimson Blades offers beginning, intermediate and advanced saber classes, as well as private lessons, tactical training and open fencing.

Gandy has been the assistant fencing coach at Stevenson High School for more than 12 years and has been coaching beginning to elite fencers for more than 20 years.

He has been the head coach at Crimson Blades since its founding in 2006.

Fencers come from Libertyville, Vernon Hills, Lake Bluff, Lake Forest, Mundelein, Grayslake, Round Lake Beach, Gurnee, North Chicago and towns throughout Lake County.

The Crimson Blades Fencing Academy is home to some of the best interclub and interscholastic fencers in Illinois. In 2012, its high school girls team won the Illinois State Fencing Championship in Sabre.

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