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updated: 4/7/2014 6:30 PM

St. Viator's Halpin earns ESCC Hall of Fame honors

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  • St. Viator coach Jack Halpin and golfer Joe Ferrari pose after the Lions won the IHSA Class 3A championship for the third straight season in 2009.

      St. Viator coach Jack Halpin and golfer Joe Ferrari pose after the Lions won the IHSA Class 3A championship for the third straight season in 2009.

 
 

At the age of 70, Jack Halpin is still going strong.

He can't imagine leaving coaching.

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"High school golf coaches never retire," he said. "It is the best job on earth and I forever thank St. Viator and their former president (Father Charles Bolser CSV) for asking me to be part of the Viatorian community."

Bolser sure knew what he was doing when he hired Halpin.

On Thursday, Halpin will be part of the ninth class of inductees into the East Suburban Catholic League Hall of Fame.

The induction will be held at the Crystal Sky Banquet Hall in McCook.

Halpin has been a golf coach at Viator for the past 20 years, 16 as the boys head coach.

His teams have won eight ESCC crowns, six regional titles, four sectional crowns and three straight Class 3A championships from 2007 to 2009.

He has guided six teams to the state finals.

The Lions' 2006 team finished second in Class 2A behind Bloomington's University High -- which won its second consecutive title, by 6 strokes over the Lions.

St. Viator won the school's first state title the next year, defeating Quincy by 6 strokes in the first season of Class 3A. Quincy was led that year by current PGA player Luke Guthrie.

The 2008 team was the highlight of Halpin's career.

Led by Matt Vitale (Butler), Dan Stringfellow (Auburn), Joe Carlson (San Diego), Brad Klune (Boston College) and Kenny Wienckowski (Illinois Wesleyan), the Lions won 11 consecutive tournaments that season.

The won the ESCC by 14 strokes, the regional by 20 and the sectional by 6 shots.

At the state final, St. Viator shot 291 (3-over-par) and 292 (4 over) for a 583 (7 over) -- a total that is the lowest 36-hole team score in IHSA history.

The Lions won the state meet by 14 strokes.

The team was led by Carlson's 137 (7 under) that broke the all-time 36-hole scoring record which had been held by Jay Haas -- who is a member of the Champions Tour.

Halpin's 2009 team was under great pressure to "three-peat".

The Lions rose to the occasion, becoming the first team to accomplish the feat since Rockford East 64 years earlier.

Although they lost the ESCC title to Carmel by 1 stroke, the Lions came back to win the regional, sectional and a third straight Class 3A title, by 3 strokes.

Dan Stringfellow won the individual championship with an even-par 144.

Stringfellow is the only golfer besides Tour player D.A. Points to finish in the top 10 in all four years of his IHSA career.

Halpin has sent 12 players to compeate at the Division I collegiate level.

But what the veteran coach views as the real achievement of his coaching career is all the work he has done with players who came to the St. Viator program with minimal golf experience.

"They grew to become excellent players and even better people," Halpin said.

Two individuals in particular were 2000 graduate John Perna and 2010 graduate Joe Ferrari.

"I cut John his freshman year," Halpin recalled. "He ended up coming to practice every day and would politely ask 'have you got a place for me to play today?'

"After three weeks, I gave him a hat and a shirt and put him on the team. Through just hard work and guts, John started on the varsity the next season."

Perna became a regional medalist his senior year and led the Lions to their first state finals appearance in 16 years. He went on to play three years at Florida Gulf Coast University and is now one of the top two teachers of junior golfers in Illinois.

In 2006, while in eighth grade, Ferrari was diagnosed with cancer in his leg and he had to give up football, basketball and baseball.

"There was serious talk about having to amputate his leg," Halpin said. "He would come out to watch his brother Michael play and I would tell him to get better as I was counting on him down the road."

Ferrari ended up starting for the Lions in 2009 _ and his final round of 76 at the state championship was the difference in the Lions finishing first instead of second.

"It is the Pernas and the Ferraris that you remember the most," Halpin said. "In the championship years, we were blessed with great players, who I just had to make sure were color-coordinated.

"The guys who played No. 5 and No. 6 (Michael Ferrari, Joe Ferrari, Matt Crandall and Luke DeTrempe) really were the stars of those teams as they came through when we needed them on the last day of the championships."

And now Halpin has earned a championship of his own -- induction into the ESCC Hall of Fame.

Baseball

Illinois-Chicago right-hander Jack Andersen (Fremd) was named the Horizon League pitcher of the week.

Andersen piloted the Flames to a 10-4 series-clinching victory in Game 2 of a doubleheader at Curtis Granderson Stadium against preseason conference favorite Milwaukee.

Andersen tossed 8 shutout innings, allowed a mere 4 hits and did not walk a batter en route to his first win of the season.

"I give Jack a lot of credit for doing what he did on Sunday," said UIC head coach Mike Dee. "For him to come out and perform that well against a great offensive team like Milwaukee is impressive. Jack struggled earlier in the season, but he is improving and I think he'll gain some confidence from this performance."

Sunday was the first time in Andersen's collegiate career that he did not allow an earned run in a game he started. The 4 hits allowed is also a career best for the 6-foot-4 Palatine native.

This marks the first career pitcher of the week award for Andersen and the first for UIC this season.

A Heisman clout

Notre Dame freshman catcher Ryan Lidge (Barrington) doubled down the left-field line off Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston to give the Irish a 6-5 lead in the eighth inning against Florida State.

The No. 1-ranked Seminoles rallied for an 8-7 win in 12 innings in Tallahassee.

Lidge went 2-for-4 with 2 RBI.

Water polo

Two former teammates met as opponents in a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference women's match in New Rochelle, N.Y.

Erika Lauraitis (Fremd) scored 6 goals to lead the Iona College Gaels to a 16-9 victory over Villanova, whose goalkeeper Julie Conrath (Fremd) recorded 11 saves and 2 steals.

Conrath, a 2012 Fremd graduate, holds the IHSA individual record for the most goalie saves (427) in a season.

She is currently the MAAC conference leader among all goalies (10 games played) averaging 9.6 saves per game.

In their second match of the day, Conrath grabbed 9 saves and 2 steals as the Wildcats were victorious over St. Francis (Brooklyn) College, 13-6.

Lauraitis, a 2010 Fremd graduate, holds the IHSA individual record for the most goals scored (189) in a season.

In her first three years at Iona, the Gaels have won three consecutive MAAC championships and participated in the NCAA tournament all three seasons.

Following the Villanova game, Lauraitis was recognized on Iona's Senior Day. She then led the Gaels with 5 goals in a 14-13 victory over Marist College.

Fremd finished third in the 2009 IHSA state tournament and tied for fifth in 2010 when Conrath and Lauraitis were teammates.

Men's track

Concordia-Chicago junior Justin Bolo (Leyden) was named an athlete of the week for the school.

Returning from an injury, he scored a seventh-place finish in the long jump at 16-feet, 10 inches at the Augustana College Viking Olympics.

Bolo also competed in the 100-meter dash (11.91 seconds) and the shot put (27-8¾"), the latter a first-time effort.

"Justin went all-out in his events and turned in some good solid efforts," said CUC track and field head coach Phil Kopinski. "It is exciting watching him develop his many talents."

Men's hockey

Thomas "Chico" Adrahtas, head coach of the Robert Morris University Illinois Men's Gold Hockey team, was honored by the school's board of trustees in recognition of his 2012-13 Central States Collegiate Hockey League's coach of the year award. This is the second time in three seasons that Adrahtas has been selected for this honor.

He was presented with a framed proclamation from the board at a ceremony at the RMU Athletic and Convocation Center in Arlington Heights.

Adrahtas was recognized for the team-building skills he instills in his student-athletes both on and off the ice.

The Eagles Gold team has set or tied a record for regular-season victories three seasons in a row.

In 2012-13, the team achieved its highest season ranking in RMU history, holding the No. 2 spot in the nation for four weeks.

The Eagles' Gold team also excels academically: half the team posted GPAs over 3.5 and several maintained perfect 4.0 marks.

Adrahtas has inspired the team to become involved in charity events and student activities.

Graduating players have returned to participate in the RMU hockey program as assistant coaches and support the team at home games.

In honoring the coach, the board indicated, "Coach Adrahtas bends over backward to be of assistance and guidance to his players, not only while they are here but after they graduate. He is a mentor to his student-athletes in every sense of the word."

Men's lacrosse

Augustana's Jonathan Bryk (Fremd) scored his third goal of the season with 9:14 remaining in the opening quarter to give the Vikings a 2-1 lead they would not relinquish in a 12-5 win over Benedictine. Augustana improved to 7-3 overall and 4-1 in Midwest Lacrosse Conference.

• Please email Sports Notes items to jleusch@dailyherald.com.

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