An offer he couldn’t refuse

Lisle — where history and destiny merge.

In the track and cross country programs, at least. Last school year Lisle posted coach job offerings for both the Lions’ girls and boys cross country teams as well as the boys track team.

Ken Jakalski had held all those positions, but he was retiring as a teacher in 2012. The Illinois Track and Cross Country Coaches Association hall of famer said there were no takers, so since his commute could consist of a brief walk, he’s back on board as a varsity head coach for all three teams, for a 27th year and counting in Lisle.

“It’s an ideal situation,” Jakalski stated in an email after this all was resolved in August. “I don’t have to shower to go to work!”

In the running

Glenbard West heads the girls side and York the boys side of the first Illinois Cross Country Coaches Poll of the season in Class 3A.

Maddie Perez, Lisa Luczak and the Hilltoppers, hot off the title of last Saturday’s Hornet-Red Devils Invitational, head defending 3A titlist New Trier and Palatine on a list heavy on DuPage County talent. Lake Park, Wheaton Warrenville South, Naperville North, Downers Grove North and Downers Grove South follow with York ranked No. 11.

On the boys side, what a surprise, York leads the poll ahead of O’Fallon, Naperville North and Neuqua Valley. Lake Park, Hinsdale Central and Wheaton North pull in at slots 12-14.

Over at Mike Newman’s Illinois Prep Harrier website, among the Class 2A scene he currently ranks Glenbard South’s boys fifth and Fenton 14th; on the girls side Prep Harrier rates coach Pete Connelly’s Broncos seventh, St. Francis 14th, Glenbard South 20th.

Speaking of York

A lady Duke would be a duchess, and this weekend York graduate Maria Cicero Lindberg will get the royal treatment.

The former Maria Cicero will be inducted into the Boston College Varsity Club Hall of Fame on Friday, the seventh women’s track and field athlete to be honored in the Hall of Fame’s 42-year history.

Arriving at Boston College in 2001 out of York with the 2000 Class AA cross country individual (in a state-record 13 minutes, 49 seconds for the 2.5-mile course) and team titles and state track victories in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs under her belt, Cicero competed in seven NCAA competitions and was a four-time All-America in both cross and track.

Among her many achievements while running for the Eagles, Cicero won the USA Junior Cross Country title as a freshman, and placed 29th at the 2002 World Cross Country Championships. The four-time all-Big East pick won the 10,000 title in the 2005 conference meet, setting a Boston record of 33: 52.77.

No rest for the winners

Lake Park track athletes did not lie dormant after winning a third straight Class 3A title last May.

Over the summer the DuPage Track Club placed 10 athletes among the top 10 in their respective events and age groups at the USA Track and Field Junior Olympic Championships in Maryland. The DuPage Track Club is headed by Lancers jumps coach Tom Kaberna and features many current and future Lake Park track stars.

Leading the list was senior Scott Filip, Lake Park’s own, who became the club’s first national champion in decathlon. Now running pass patterns as a Lancers wide receiver, Filip also placed seventh in both long jump and triple jump in his “young men’s” age group.

Outgoing senior high jumper Kevin Spejcher also earned a seventh place in his event while his younger brother Daniel finished top-10 in both pentathlon and high jump in a younger age group.

Shawn Koch, second place at the Class 3A meet in triple jump in Charleston, finished 10th in decathlon in the young men group; Lake Park’s Joe Pierce ran second in the intermediate boys 400-meter run.

Open to athletes outside the Lake Park enrollment, the DuPage Track Club’s Brandon Lombardino, of Grant, placed top five in both discus and shot put. Benet’s Anne Yahiro, now at Villanova, also competed in triple jump in Maryland.

The Butler did it

Founded by Peter Butler in 1974, the Oakbrook Athlete of the Year honors the top male and female high school athlete who lives in Oak Brook, as nominated by area athletic directors. The list includes past prep superstars such as York’s Tim Stratton and Hinsdale Central’s Maggie Acuna.

This summer Timothy Christian track and cross country athlete and basketball player Tessa Bosman and Hinsdale Central football player and wrestler Justin Katzovitz earned the honor. Both were recognized prior to their respective graduations and in a ceremony at the Taste of Oak Brook.

Heady stuff

The Edward Neurosciences Institute, in affiliation with the Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation, will offer a free program, “What Parents, Coaches Need to Know about Concussions,” from 7-8:30 p.m. Sept. 12 in the Edward Hospital Auditorium, 801 S. Washington St., Naperville.

Neurologists and concussion experts Dr. Henry Echiverri and Dr. Mohammad Sajed will discus signs and symptoms of concussions, laws concerning the injury, and the evaluation process that determines when an athlete can return to competition. A free book, “Parent’s Guide to Sports Concussions,” will be distributed.

Registration is required; call (630) 527-6363 or visit

Set the date

Volleyball’s obviously huge in these parts, so the 2012 Chicago Classic might be of interest.

Held at Mother McAuley High School in Chicago this Saturday and Sunday, the event brings in Penn State and Oregon State along with locals DePaul and University of Illinois-Chicago. Four matches will be held Saturday and two more Sunday.

For times and costs, call (773) 238-4859 or email

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