Wheaton North's McEvilly recognized for doing his part
Tim McEvilly figures that like a lot of people, he's just doing his part.
"It's not necessarily in my comfort zone in regards to receiving recognition for things I believe people do every day," he said.
Wheaton North's girls soccer coach, a social studies and economics teacher, likely felt antsy last Sunday at Robert Morris University in Arlington Heights.
McEvilly was the focus of hundreds of soccer players, coaches, parents, teachers and administrators from throughout the metropolitan area who gathered for a presentation by organizers of the PepsiCo Showdown and the nonprofit Buddy's Helpers to acknowledge National Mentor Month.
In addition to a drive that collected more than 1,000 children's books and a similar amount of cash to be donated by surprise delivery to a Chicago Public School elementary school, McEvilly accepted a $1,000 check earmarked for one of his prime interests, the Midwest Shelter for Homeless Veterans based in Wheaton.
"Again, public recognition is not necessarily my thing, but if this recognition can bring any more awareness of the Midwest Shelter and bring more understanding, donations and contributions from the community to help them achieve their mission, then I'm all for it," he said.
McEvilly admitted that an in-the-know friend or two, realizing his aversion to the spotlight, tipped him off to something headed his way without totally spilling the beans.
He was genuinely surprised, though, by the appearance of Falcons senior midfielder Anna Warfield and senior forward Leila Parente -- and particularly by Colleen Antas, a member of McEvilly's Class AA third-place team in 2006. McEvilly has coached Wheaton North girls soccer since 2001 and had two stints as boys coach.
Antas is in her first year as athletic director at Eisenhower. With some of her school's soccer players attending, Antas kept the Wheaton North garb she wore in McEvilly's honor hidden under a full-length coat until the time was right.
Antas said McEvilly has been "positive and encouraging" from her freshman year in high school to the present day -- the first to call after an ACL injury in high school, her inspiration to coach after college, checking up on her progress at Eisenhower.
"Tim was my high school soccer coach on varsity for all four years that I was there and he definitely has been a mentor to all of the young ladies that he has coached, both a mentor on and off the field," Antas said.
That's the type Buddy's Helpers seeks to acknowledge. While honored, McEvilly sees acts of kindness and character all around him. He doesn't think it's that rare.
"There's countless heroes out there that don't get recognized," he said, "that nobody pays attention to."
Sarah Conroy, a lacrosse defender and three-year starter for Naperville Central entering her senior season, earned the New Wave Lacrosse club's "One Heart" award for its fall and winter season. The highest honor New Wave Lacrosse bestows female players, the award honors athleticism, academics, leadership and sportsmanship.
Addison Trail freshman Gabriel Slonina and Naperville North freshman Chris Brady, both soccer goalies with the Chicago Fire Academy, got a couple huge breaks this week. They escaped the polar vortex by being called in to the Under-15 U.S. Boys' National Team's first training camp of the year, Jan. 29-Feb. 6 in Carson, California. It's the fifth event for the U15s in preparation for this summer's CONCACAF championship. It's Brady's first call-in.
The January issue of Track & Field News charts the top prep returners nationally in each outdoor event. Glenbard West junior Katelynne Hart ranks second nationally over 2 miles at 9 minutes, 55.46 seconds and sixth in the mile at 4:44.63. The first time was converted from the 3,200 she ran at the 2018 Glenbard West Sue Pariseau Invitational; the second came at St. Ignatius' postseason Magis Miles.
Incidentally, on Monday Hart was named the Gatorade Illinois 2018-19 girls cross country runner of the year, a repeat honor. She won the IHSA Class 3A title a third straight year, took second at Foot Locker a second straight year, won the Nike Midwest regional and placed 16th at the Nike Cross Nationals.
Neuqua Valley sophomore Riley Ammenhauser, like Hart a defending state champion, is listed 17th in triple jump at 40 feet, 2¼ inches -- though she went 40-6 at the Class 3A Plainfield North sectional, which would have her 14th.
Naperville Central senior Thomas Shilgalis comes in ninth among boys in the 800-meter run, according to TFN, with his 1:51.81 last May at the Festival of Miles in St. Louis. Shilgalis, who will run at Michigan, also rates No. 20 in the "mile" at 4:12.16, converted from his 1,600-meter time of 4:10.70 at the 2018 Distance Night in Palatine.
The PGA Tour's BMW Championship doesn't hit Medinah Country Club until Aug. 13-18, but nearly three-fourths of the 2,000 volunteer positions to help staff the tournament have already been taken.
It's an opportunity that may appeal to high school students -- minimum 18 years old -- and to parents.
Volunteers may be assigned inside or outside the ropes on the course. They welcome attendees, assist corporate hospitality guests, sell apparel in the merch tent, and so on.
Volunteers must commit to working at least three shifts during tournament week; shifts run 4-6 hours. They're also asked to buy a volunteer package for $129 -- a package actually valued at $629, including a volunteer credential good for entry all week.
If interested, visit BMWChampionship.com and click on "Volunteers." Deadline is June 15, but specific volunteer positions will go quickly.
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