Girls swimming: Elk Grove on the rise
The Elk Grove girls swimming team won its first three meets of the season, downing Maine West, Hoffman Estates and Leyden. Coach Dave Toler noted it's just the second time that's happened since at least 1996.
Elk Grove's record-setting medley relay team is back, plus MSL and sectional scorers Natalie Wlodarz (junior), and sophomore Kylie Rittle have won all their events to date. Senior Rachel Ford and sophomore Michelle Cobirzan continue on the Elk Grove relays and have a number of dual victories. Freshman Dea Papaleka, along with sophomores Ava Hennig, Anja Restak, Natalia Kosciarz, Natalia Garcia and Grace Schiller give Toler a bright future.
"We will win some events against most everybody," he said. "At the MSL championships we are really looking to move into the Top 6 teams. We are young, anxious and excited. Getting faster always is good."
St. Viator update: St. Viator has been boosted by the efforts of Olivia Dorshorst in the 500 and 200, Jayne Bottarini in the back and IM, plus Beth Warren in the fly and IM. All three are key cogs in the front line Lion relay teams.
"We have ramped up the workload much faster this year," coach Mike Miklius said. "We have an increased focus on leg strength. We are working harder each week to allow for a better taper at the end of the season. We are looking forward to an excellent season, and we have hopes of sending multiple girls to state. Though we have a lot of young swimmers on the roster, I see hardworking athletes who are ready to break out."
Conant update: Nina Matusiak has been making strides in both the 200 and 500 for the Cougars.
"Nina has had some great swims the past two weeks and has improved in both the 200 and 500 pretty significantly," coach Justin Bickus pointed out. "She has been working hard at practice and her effort is starting to pay off."
Bickus added Megumi Komoto has been victorious in her individual races. "She has yet to swim her best events," he said. "She's been a great leader for the team, and kind of sets the expectations for work ethic and has really helped her relays."
Anika Palkhiwala won a close breaststroke race against Prospect and clocked a lifetime-best swim in her 50 of the 200 medley relay. "Anika is improving and really has been working hard at practices," Bickus said.
Palatine update: Jane Smith already has broken three Palatine pool records in the 200, 100 and IM.
Coach Katie Kupka also lauded the effort of versatile sophomore Veronika Drab, sprinter Maggie O'Brien, a key water polo player for the Pirates, as well as freshman Hailey Huber, and divers Anais Gonzalez Posso and Sydney Aikman. The two divers are returning state qualifiers.
"This team is extremely motivated to have a successful season and is putting in the time and training to ensure that success," Kupka said.
Prospect update: Prospect, which defeated Conant last week, defends its title at St. Viator Saturday.
Coach Alfonso Lopez said sophomore Grace Dembowski "looks like she is in great shape to lead the team in a variety of events."
Junior Erin Danielewicz impressed against Conant, while Payton DeCook, Lopez said, has state-qualifying potential on the diving board. Lopez added the 200 and 400 relay school records could be in jeopardy this season.
"I love the direction of our team right now," Lopez said.
Buffalo Grove update: Underclassmen have ruled the day for the Bison thus far. Freshman Reese Frighetto has added speed to the freestyle events, as well as the backstroke and fly. Sophomore Emilia Jedryka is showing promise in the backstroke and freestyle events, while junior Jillian Dombroski gives coach Michael McPartlin plenty of versatility in the IM, breast and fly.
BG has downed Palatine and took fifth at Lake Forest thus far. The Bison are closing in on the school records in the 200 free and medley relay records.
"We have a few very fast relays and a lot of young depth on the team," McPartlin said. "We have a lot more strength in the sprint freestyle events this season. I am looking forward to seeing this team progress as we get into championship season."
Maine South update: The Hawks opened the season with a 103-83 win against Conant. Coach Don Kura said defending state champion and 200 IM state record holder Annika Wagner continues to make a huge impact.
Fellow senior Natalie Wajda was strong in the backstroke against Conant, while junior Nelly Hadlaw excelled in the fly in that meet.
"We have done better at practice focusing on the details it takes to swim consistently fast," Kura said. "We have had a good start to the training season and have maintained pretty good health so far. Our meet schedule ramps up starting this week, so we'll see where we are at in a couple weeks."
Maine West update: The Warriors' top point leaders so far are freshman Michelle Kaner, sophomore Alyssa Harrison, senior Kaitlyn Weber and sophomore Casey Sebastian.
Kaner already has broken the backstroke school record that had stood for 16 years. "This is a big deal this early in the season," coach Ryan Claus stressed. "She is on track to make a big impact. She already has posted some really fast times. I am excited to see what she accomplishes this season."
Claus noted 70 percent of the varsity team either freshmen or sophomores. "We are a small and very young team," he said. "We have a lot of potential and I am really proud of how we are training. We are heading in the right direction."
Maine East update: Coach Peter Przekota reported in his nine years as coach of East, this is his largest team with 35 athletes. "They are extremely hardworking and do a great job pushing each other," he said. "The team is extremely positive and creates an environment where everyone feels welcomed and is able to thrive."
Junior captain Jordan Oslowski broke the sophomore backstroke record last year and Przekota said she's looking to make a run at the varsity benchmark this fall. Freshman Irene Lazanyi PR'd in both the 50 and 100 in her first high-school meet. Both times put her in the current Top 2 at East.
Leyden update: Coach Chris Cook noted Ola Robak in the team's first meet against Elk Grove broke last year's best 200 time by 4 seconds, ending at 2:29.
Overall, Cook liked what he saw in the season-opener against Elk Grove. "For the most part, the girls were a couple seconds off their best times from last year's sectional, which I am happy with," he said. "I feel that gives them a good chance to get best times this year before they even taper for sectionals."