St. Francis' Ryan hanging up her skates

  • In her final competition St. Francis senior Chloe Ryan won the U.S. Senior Solo Ice Dance Championship in Provo, Utah.

    In her final competition St. Francis senior Chloe Ryan won the U.S. Senior Solo Ice Dance Championship in Provo, Utah. Photo courtesy of Kevin Phelan/KrPhotogs Photography

  • Inspired in part by the background of his father, John (right), Benet Academy senior Mick Bastuga (No. 74) has pledged money for each successful snap he makes this football season to Alex's Lemonade Stand to combat childhood cancer.

    Inspired in part by the background of his father, John (right), Benet Academy senior Mick Bastuga (No. 74) has pledged money for each successful snap he makes this football season to Alex's Lemonade Stand to combat childhood cancer. Photo courtesy of Benet Academy/Scott Butler/Visual Image Photography

 
 
Updated 10/16/2019 10:24 PM

Chloe Ryan won a major ice dancing championship at a Utah arena that hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics.

Hugely satisfying ... and a little heartbreaking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"That was it," Ryan said of her final competition.

We've spoken before with the St. Francis senior because of her success -- four United States Figure Skating Association national titles in solo ice dance, nine national medals overall in the last five years.

On Sept. 7 at the Peaks Ice Arena in Provo, Utah, Ryan won the U.S. Senior Solo Ice Dance Championship, her first senior title. She earned the highest score in the event's nine-year history in the technically based Rhythm Dance portion of the competition.

"It was so bittersweet. Happy that I was able to go out the way that I wanted to but sad, in fact, that I realized that I would never set foot on competitive ice again," she said.

"I want to focus on college and after winning this year it really was my perfect way to go out and I felt if I was going to go out for another season it would be a letdown from this season."

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A National Honor Society student at St. Francis, on Tuesday she received notice of acceptance into Loyola-Chicago. One day she hopes to practice medical malpractice law.

"The concept of being able to use my voice to help people who don't have a voice means a lot to me," she said.

More than continuing a passion she's pursued since she was 5. Skating, and those in that world, taught her perseverance, teamwork, acceptance, dedication, how to "get up when it hurts, literally and figuratively," she said.

Ryan won, on and off the ice. She has no regrets.

"I don't think so," she said, "because skating has become such a huge chapter in my life, but there are so many other chapters to come that I am looking forward to."

Ty-breaker

In Naperville North's 3-1 boys soccer win over Joliet Central on Friday, senior Ty Konrad set the Huskies' record for assists.

The Ohio State recruit's pass to Cesar Recendez for the game-winning goal was Konrad's 42nd assist.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

That broke the school record of Jay Rensink, Class of '89, a teammate of Naperville North coach Jim Konrad, Ty's uncle.

Snapping for charity

There's more riding on Benet long snapper Mick Bastuga's job than simply zipping the football back to the punter.

One snap at a time the Benet senior raises money to battle childhood cancer. His father, John, was diagnosed with cancer at 11 months old.

He survived that to become a place-kicker at Benet and at St. Norbert College. Now he coaches Benet's kickers and snappers.

His father's story impacted Mick, who is donating to Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer.

"It put my grandparents through a lot, and I wanted to do something to help," Mick Bastuga said. "Whether it was people struggling financially, I wanted to help lift the burden off people who had to go through that."

This season Bastuga has taken monetary pledges for each snap he successfully delivers to holder Luca Hall on field goals and extra-point kicks, and to Redwings punter Colin Gillespie.

"Every little bit helps," Bastuga said.

He has executed 45 snaps cleanly, raising $730 through the charity's Kick It! initiative.

Bastuga initially limited his campaign to the regular season, which ends Oct. 26. With Benet having clinched a playoff spot, he'll continue as long as the Redwings do.

"I didn't want to jinx it," said the 5-foot-11, 225-pound Bastuga, a prospective engineering student who plans on playing in college as a long snapper.

Bastuga tries not to think about pledges when he's snapping the ball. It's not easy.

"Yeah, it's in the back of my mind all the time, like, if I make this it's that much more money," he said. "But I try to keep that out of my head because there's already enough pressure in the game."

Soaring Redwings

We don't want to jinx this either, but Benet's girls volleyball team is on a fantastic run.

After beating Marian Catholic on Tuesday, the Redwings are 29-0.

That's Benet's longest winning streak to start a season since 2014 when it began 32-0. That team won the Class 4A title at 41-1.

doberhelman@dailyherald.com

Twitter: @doberhelman1

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