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updated: 10/3/2013 8:05 PM

From rivalries to shootouts to shooting stars, it's all here

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  • Video: Josh Ruggles sinks 3s


Many people around these parts can't get enough about the Geneva-Batavia football rivalry. Count the Batavia Historical Society among them.

The Historical Society and the Batavia Depot Museum have invited Batavia Public Library director George Scheetz to present a program on his booklet, "The Biggest Game of the Season: Batavia Bulldogs vs. Geneva Vikings." It'll be held 2 p.m. Sunday in the City Council Chambers of Batavia's City Hall.

It doesn't matter if the 95th meeting in the 101st year of the series occurred Sept. 13. People want more.

"I'm guessing I'm only going to whet people's appetites, but I think it'll be fun," Scheetz said.

For the TriCities stat geek and series aficionado, "The Biggest Game" is a must-read. Dedicated to Bulldogs football coach Dennis Piron, it includes the results of every football game ever played in the rivalry with nifty notes, lopsided scores, a section on the fields that have hosted the games and other triviata.

Scheetz constantly updates it. He noted that Batavia's 49-20 win three weeks ago ranks second all-time in combined points, trailing only Batavia's 46-34 win of 2011.

"I keep finding stuff," he said.

Among the curious discoveries of his research is evidence indicating Batavia's football squad apparently was called the Vikings during the 1930s. That, of course, may be viewed as blasphemy on either side of the border.

"I got the greatest kick out of that," said Scheetz, who also discovered old articles calling Batavia the "Crimson Tide."

He'll try to cull the data into a 40-minute to hourlong PowerPoint presentation on traditions, school colors and nicknames, school songs, highlights of the rivalry and the like. Whatever pictures of old coaches and memorabilia he can wrangle will accompany the presentation.

"I think it's a fun story and I think there are a lot of different ways you can approach it," he said. "I'm going to try to hit the highlights and hopefully people will enjoy that."

Scheetz gave a presentation in July on the history of the Batavia Public Library and estimated at least 50 people attended. He thinks this one may draw more.

"People seem to be much more interested in the football rivalry than they do about the history of the library," he said.

For further information on Sunday's presentation, reach the Batavia Depot Museum's Carla Hill at (630)406-5274.

Day and Knights

Kaneland boys basketball coach Brian Johnson called all excited. He's got a shootout brewing on Feb. 15, 2014, he said, similar to Batavia's Night of Hoops.

Called the "Kaneland Day and Knight of Basketball," it's a dual-level sophomore and varsity triple-header offering interesting matchups between local teams and distant talent.

The day leads off with St. Charles North taking on Peoria Richwoods. Following is Larkin-North Chicago and the marquee match is the host Kaneland Knights against Hillcrest.

More details to come closer to the date, but Johnson said he hopes to lock up sponsorships by November, for those who may be interested.

Wiz kid and Robo

Less than two weeks after becoming Michigan State's ninth women's volleyball player to exceed 2,000 kills in a career, on Tuesday Geneva graduate Lauren Wicinski was named the American Volleyball Coaches Association national player of the week.

The 6-foot-1 outside hitter, the active kill leader in Division I women's volleyball with 2,075, led the Spartans to road wins at No. 1 Penn State and No. 13 Ohio State, lifting Michigan State from No. 15 to No. 9 in the process. That's the team's highest ranking since the 1997 preseason.

Wicinski's 21 kills against Penn State snapped an 18-match losing streak to the Nittany Lions and was the Spartans' first win ever over a top-ranked foe. At Ohio State she slammed 12 kills and landed an ace on match point for Michigan State's first win in Columbus since 2008.

Also, on Sept. 27 more than 100 volleyball players, parents, teachers, students and friends from St. Isadore Catholic Grade School in Bloomingdale went to the women's match at Northwestern. The Wildcats were hosting Nebraska, featuring 6-2 senior outside hitter Kelsey Robinson, a St. Francis High School and St. Isadore graduate whose mother, Sue, teaches at St. Isadore.

Kelsey Robinson had transferred from Tennessee after her junior year, and a report said Northwestern had been the nearest opponent to her Bartlett home in her college career.

She celebrated with gusto, hammering a match-high 25 kills with a team-high 12 digs in a four-set win that, coupled with a straight-set win at Illinois launched the Huskers into No. 10 in this week's AVCA poll.

Shooting star

Wheaton Academy's Josh Ruggles said mainly what he got from his Aug. 8 world record of 135 three-pointers in a 5-minute span was about 250 additional Twitter followers.

He's being modesto.

That's modest, or humble, in Spanish. Because right now Ruggles, his parents Dave and Holly and older brother Brandon are in Spain, sightseeing and preparing for a 3-point contest that's part of Supercopa, the tournament that starts the Spanish basketball league known as the ACB.

Ruggles, a junior guard, will be shooting from 22 feet against the likes of North Carolina State all-time 3s leader Scott Wood and former Chicago Bull Andres Nocioni. The contest is Saturday, held in the 15,000-seat Buesa Arena in Vitoria-Gastiez.

The Illinois High School Association and the NCAA cleared Ruggles' participation but not, naturally, the $5,000 prize should he win.

After nailing those 135 threes in the Wheaton Academy gym, captured on a video now past 350,000 views on YouTube with coverage everywhere from ESPN to The Huffington Post, Ruggles got a message on his cellphone from the ACB's Roc Massaguer, inviting him to compete at Supercopa.

Ruggles said he nearly didn't tell his parents about it since he wondered if he could even participate and "if it was real."

He can, it was, and he started practicing shooting 3s from 22 feet out, farther then the 19-foot, 9-inch high school distance. In a recent session he made 22 of 25 shots from the five stations.

Ruggles' main concern, aside from jitters against pros like Nocioni, is getting used to the seams on the European balls, different from the ones used here.

The reality is, this is all gravy.

"The big goal would be to win it," Ruggles said. "Going in I've got nothing to lose. If I were to shoot 4-of-25 I could just leave that in Spain and never have to talk about it again. But mainly it's just the opportunity to go to Spain."

Follow Dave on Twitter @doberhelman1

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