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updated: 1/8/2014 9:29 AM

Predicting big things for Tri-Cities teams in 2014

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  • Craig Brueske is predicting St. Charles North senior Erik Miller will clear 6-10 and take second place in the state high jump this spring.

      Craig Brueske is predicting St. Charles North senior Erik Miller will clear 6-10 and take second place in the state high jump this spring.
    JOE LEWNARD | Staff Photographer

  • Watch for Geneva's Kirby Einck to win a sectional championship next fall, according to Craig Brueske.

      Watch for Geneva's Kirby Einck to win a sectional championship next fall, according to Craig Brueske.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer


It is that time again.

Good, bad or in-between, it is time to write my annual predictions column.

Before I make my picks for the New Year, let's take a brief look back to see how some my predictions fared for 2013.

The good: I accurately predicted that Marmion's Johnny Jimenez and George Fisher would capture Class 3A individual state wrestling championships.

I also correctly said that St. Charles East's boys tennis team would earn its second straight sectional title and picked Geneva and St. Charles North to square off in the Class 4A girls volleyball sectional (Geneva won in the sectional semifinals).

In addition, I was on the mark when I said that 7 area football teams would qualify for postseason play -- Aurora Central Catholic, Aurora Christian, Batavia, Geneva, Kaneland, Marmion and St. Charles East.

The bad: I had Denver beating Green Bay in Super Bowl XLVII (Baltimore defeated San Francisco).

On the prep side, I said St. Charles East would beat St. Charles North in the 4A regional basketball semifinals (STC North won 69-53).

The in-between: I picked an all-Big 10 NCAA Basketball Championship with Indiana vs. Michigan. Michigan made it, losing 82-76 to Louisville.

Here are my picks to click in 2014:

• Record-breaking cold temperatures … been there, done that.

• AFC Championship: Denver 38, New England 35.

• NFC Championship: Seattle 20, San Francisco 16.

• Super Bowl XLVIII: Denver 30, Seattle 24 (It's the Year of the Horse in the Chinese Zodiac).

• NBA: After knocking off 2-time defending champion Miami in a dramatic 7-game series, Indiana defeats San Antonio in 6 games.

• NCAA: An all-Big 10 final of Michigan State vs. Wisconsin. My Final Four includes Creighton and Syracuse.

• MLB: Atlanta vs. Texas in the World Series.

• The Kane County Cougars will set a Midwest League single-game attendance record of 14,950 during a July game against Peoria.

• In January, St. Charles East's boys basketball team hands cross-town rival St. Charles North a 72-67 defeat. The Saints close out the month with a 66-64 upset of first-place Larkin in Upstate Eight Conference River Division action.

• In February, Marmion senior Johnny Jimenez caps his outstanding high school career by winning the 126-pound Class 3A individual state title at Champaign's State Farm Center.

• Marmion senior Anthony Bosco takes on West Aurora junior Carlos Jacquez in the 113-pound title match.

• The Class 3A Aurora Central Catholic regional girls basketball championship features Burlington Central vs. St. Edward.

• Geneva's girls basketball team avenges an earlier loss to Batavia as both teams share the UEC River title.

• Led by senior guard Liza Fruendt's 31 points, Batavia captures its first regional crown in 24 years with a 62-60 win over Geneva on the Bulldogs' home court.

• Class 4A Elite Eight (girls basketball): Wheaton Warrenville South vs. Huntley; Rolling Meadows vs. New Trier; Homewood-Flossmoor vs. Edwardsville; Whitney Young vs. Bolingbrook.

• Class 4A state champion: Rolling Meadows.

• Class 3A Elite Eight: Burlington Central vs. Grayslake Central; Jones Prep vs. Montini; East Peoria vs. Morgan Park; Effingham vs. Peoria Notre Dame.

• Class 3A state champion: Peoria Notre Dame.

• In March, host St. Charles North edges St. Charles East 68-65 in overtime on Alec Goetz's 3-pointer at the buzzer during the Class 4A boys basketball regional semifinals and rallies past Larkin 63-61 in double-overtime to capture the regional title.

• West Aurora defeats Hinsdale Central to win the East Aurora sectional basketball crown.

• Class 4A Elite Eight (boys basketball): West Aurora vs. Oak Park; Curie vs. Loyola; Edwardsville vs. Marian Catholic; St. Charles North vs. Stevenson.

• Class 4A state champion: Stevenson.

• Class 3A Elite Eight: St. Francis vs. Bartonville-Limestone; Bogan vs. Morgan Park; North Chicago vs. St. Joseph; Cahokia vs. Springfield Lanphier.

• Class 3A state champion: Morgan Park.

• In late-May, West Aurora senior Emma Spagnola wins 3 events -- long jump, 100 high hurdles and 300 low hurdles -- at the Class 3A girls state track and field meet in Charleston.

• On the boys' side, St. Charles North senior Erik Miller clears 6-10 to place second in the high jump at the Class 3A state track and field meet.

• St. Charles East senior Jasper Koenen reaches the state tennis singles championship against defending champion Martin Joyce of Hinsdale Central.

• Batavia and St. Charles East will capture Class 4A regional baseball championships while Aurora Central Catholic earns its second consecutive Class 2A regional baseball title.

• In early June, defending Class 4A state runner-up St. Charles East and St. Charles North will play for the sectional softball championship.

• It will be another banner year for our local soccer teams as both St. Charles North's girls and St. Charles East's boys advance to Class 3A state championship matches.

• Geneva senior Kirby Einck outlasts Sycamore's Angelina Ye to win her first sectional singles tennis title.

• In mid-October, St. Charles North freshmen Kate Lillie and Gianna Furrie finish in the top 20 at the Class 2A girls state golf tournament.

• In November, St. Charles East senior Torree Scull cracks the top 10 at the Class 3A girls state cross country meet in Peoria. Geneva lands a top-5 team finish in Class 3A while Kaneland also earns a top-5 team showing in Class 2A competition.

• A record-breaking 8 local football teams qualify for the playoffs -- Aurora Central Catholic, Aurora Christian, Batavia, Geneva, Kaneland, Marmion, St. Charles East and St. Charles North.

• Led by senior quarterback Daniel Santacaterina, Geneva opens its conference season with a 35-28 Week 3 upset of Batavia on its way to the UEC River title.

• Geneva's girls volleyball team faces St. Charles East in the Class 4A sectional championship match.

• Plainfield East and St. Joseph square off in the finals of the St. Charles East/Ron Johnson Thanksgiving Basketball Tournament while St. Charles East and St. Charles North play in the third-place contest.

• In December, St. Charles North's girls basketball team scores a first-round upset victory at the Dundee-Crown Holiday Tournament.

Make a copy of these picks, tape them to your refrigerator and see if any of them actually materialize.

Here's hoping for a happy and healthy 2014!

You can reach Craig Brueske at

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