Seven set to join Lake County High School Sports Hall of Fame
The induction ceremony for the 2017 Lake County High Schools Sports Hall of Fame will take place at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at the College of Lake County's Physical Education Center.
The Class of 2017 includes:
• Andy Bitta (Libertyville HS)
Bitta is the father of Libertyville High School soccer, having started the boys program in 1978 and the girls program in 1981. During his tenure as boys soccer coach (1978-1999 and 2007-2015), the Wildcats compiled a record of 439-141-55, winning a state title in 2015, with a 2-1 win over Quincy, and finishing second twice in 1986 and 2010. While coaching the girls soccer team (1981-1999 and 2013-2016), the Lady Wildcats had an incredible record of 314-77-26, winning a state championship in 1991, along with 2 runner-up finishes in 1989 and 1990. Throughout the Prospect High School graduate's tenure as both boys and girls soccer coach at Libertyville, his teams won countless conference and regional championships and numerous sectional titles. In 1991, Andy was named Coach of the Year for girls soccer by the Illinois High School Coaches Association, was honored as Coach of the Year for boys soccer in 2015, and he received a National Top 20 High School Soccer Team Award by the National Soccer Coaches Association. In 2001, he was inducted into the Illinois High School Soccer Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
• Jerry Blum (Northern Officials Association)
Blum has had a distinguished sports officiating career, serving as a basketball referee and baseball umpire for the past 27 years and a football official for 12 years. He taught at Gordon Tech for 2 years and then at Buffalo Grove High School for 31 years. Along with his teaching duties, he also served as an assistant football coach for 33 years and track coach for 29 years. He has been privileged to officiate 3 girls basketball state championship finals (1A & 2A in 2011, 2012 and 2014).
He also worked for over 27 years with Special Olympics, officiating basketball. He has worked the Special Olympics State Finals for 25 years and was honored to officiate the National Special Olympic Games in 2010 (Nebraska) and 2014 (New Jersey). In addition, he worked the 1999 and 2015 World Games in North Carolina and Los Angeles, respectively.
• Denis Bogatov (Warren HS.)
A 2009 graduate of Warren, Bogatov won the IHSA state singles title in tennis his junior year in 2008 and garnered third-place finishes in both 2007 and 2009. His career record in the state tournament was 19-2. His overall career record at Warren was 93-6 during his 3 years of competition. He was a three-time first team all-state award winner (2007-2009) and twice was named as a high school All-American in 2008 and 2009.
He was a four-time qualifier for the Super National USTA tournaments in both hard and clay court. As a junior player, he was ranked in the top 10 nationally, reaching the quarterfinals of the National 12 and under USTA tournament. In addition, he represented the Midwest multiple times in Junior Davis Cup competition. He played collegiately at Michigan State University, leading the Spartans as one of their top players for 4 years.
• Chris Groth (Antioch HS)
An outstanding student-athlete at Antioch, Groth won 5 varsity letters in baseball and basketball. He was named all-conference and all-county in both sports and honorable mention all-state in baseball. As a three-year starter in baseball, Chris compiled a .455 batting average, including 130 hits, 38 doubles and 92 RBI. On the hardcourt, he averaged 19.3 and 16.8 points per game during his two varsity seasons.
He moved on to Illinois State University, where he was a starter at second base on the Redbirds' baseball team, hitting over .300 during his 2 seasons there. He then transferred to the University of Iowa, where he was the starting second baseman, he hit .333 with 9 doubles and 19 RBIs, helping lead the Hawkeyes to their first Big 10 Tournament in appearance in 12 years and being honored with a selection to the Big 10 All-Academic Team. He elected to graduate and did not use his final year of eligibility at Iowa.
• Tami Haukedahl (Mundelein HS)
A 1976 graduate of Mundelein, Haukedahl was a rare six-sport athlete, participating in cross country for two years, track and field for four years (team captain for three years), tennis and softball for one year, volleyball for three years and basketball for four years (team captain for two years).
After high school, she attended Drake University from 1976-77 on a full athletic scholarship (one of the first full rides for a woman back then), participating in basketball and track and field. She then transferred to Illinois State University and earned a degree in criminal justice in 1980. She played basketball and was on the track and field team all three years for the Redbirds, was a scholarship athlete and was captain of the basketball team her senior year, when the Redbirds finished eighth in the WNIT (the Women's National Championship back then, just before the Women's NCAA Tournament started).
• Dennis Nevolo (Warren)
Nevolo graduated from Warren in 2008, as one of the Blue Devils' all-time greats in tennis. As a freshman (2005), he was named second team all-state. As a sophomore, he won the state singles championship with a 32-0 record, losing just 16 games in 7 matches at state. He was named first team all-state and earned high school All-American honors.
Nevolo continued his tennis career at the University of Illinois, playing No. 1 singles for four years. He was Big 10 Freshman of the Year in 2009 and was a two-time NCAA All-American (2011, 2012) for the Illini. He was selected MVP his senior season and finished sixth in Illinois history with a 116 career singles wins.
• Ashley Wanland (Stevenson HS)
A 2008 graduate of Stevenson, she is one of the most decorated swimmers in Lake County history. She earned all-state honors in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007. She was a 10-time North Suburban Conference champion in the 100 breaststroke, 200 IM, 200 medley relay and 400 freestyle relay. In 2004, 2005 and 2007, she was the state champion in the 100 breaststroke and held the state record in that event.
Wanland went on to have a prolific career at the University of Wisconsin, where in 2009, she was named the Big 10 freshman of the year. She won 9 All-American awards at Wisconsin.