2022-23 sports wrap-up

Miles Hayford

Baseball Fresh off last year’s State Championship win, the team burst into the season with a fantastic winning streak. A close 3-2 opening day win was all the motivation they needed to shift into another gear as they began to dominate opponents and even went on a 3 game streak of shutouts. As of mid-April, a whopping total of seven players have a batting average over .400. The team’s dominant pitching and hitting is leading the team towards a similar path as last year. As the season closes, they hope to bring home another championship to Nazareth.

Boys Basketball The season began with a 4th place finish at the John McBride Thanksgiving Tournament and in conference play with a victory over St. Patrick High School. Although the team finished the season with a 13-18 record, they made it to the Regional Championship. “The leadership demonstrated by our Seniors, Anthony Cullotta, Kharon Cotton, Dylan Colbert, Zach Hayes, Declan Foley, Matt Uphues, Rocco Solano and James Mercurio was truly remarkable and is an asset that will follow them long into their future,” said Coach Sean Pearson. 

The girls basketball team celebrates after winning the State Championship.
(Photo courtesy of Piton Media.)

Girls Basketball The team had an extremely dominant season, rarely challenged by other teams, proven by their 35-1 record. They finished first in the ESCC Conference. After a heartbreaking 2nd place finish last year, the team found redemption in a thrilling 63-52 win over Lincoln Community High School to bring home the first IHSA Girls Basketball State Trophy for Nazareth. The sole graduating player is Gracie Carstensen, who is going to DePaul University on scholarship next year. “Gracie was a huge contributor and leader to the team,” said Junior Olivia Austin. 

Bowling The team’s first season was formative and full of growth. The team had mostly recreational bowlers, so one of the main priorities of the season was teaching and learning things like proper footwork or adjusting to oil patterns. Even in year one, the team found success competitively. Senior Zach Stimach advanced to the IHSA Sectional by shooting 1,115 over six games. Coach Mike Sliwinski hopes to attract more players in the future and maybe even start a Summer League. 

Cheer In December, the team brought home a 1st Place trophy at the Oswego Invite. The team’s success can definitely be attributed to the leadership of Seniors Laelani Chapman and Ava Okai. The team also handed out some end of season speciality awards. Freshman Hannah Ereio won the Sportsmanship award, Junior Ashley Ponton won the Coach’s Award, Freshman Maeve Tomasik won the Best Technique award, Junior Devonny Munoz won the Most Improved award, Sophomore Clare Sandoval won the Most Versatile award, and Senior Laelani Chapman was named the team’s MVP. 

Boys Cross Country  The team had a successful season by accomplishing their main goal: qualifying as a team for Sectionals. Another goal met was running well at the pre-season Katherine Legge IHSA Regional and qualifying as a team for the IHSA Sectional. The team was led by All Conference runners Senior John Mowrer and Junior Hagan Perfect. It was a season of growth, and the team looked a lot different by the time they reached Sectionals. “All of the runners continued to create new personal records and showed tremendous growth throughout the season,” said Coach Sliwinski. 

Junior Hannah McCarthy leading the race at Regionals at Katherine Legge Park.
(Photo by Anthony Gonzalez.)

Girls Cross Country As a team, they finished 2nd in the Conference meet and were named Regional Champions. The team also finished in 16th place at State. Along with the team’s overall success, many found individual success: Senior Colette Kinsella was a Conference Medalist, Regional Champion, Sectional Medalist, and State Medalist; Junior Jane McNamara was a Regional Medalist and a Conference Medalist; Sophomore Sarah Owen and Juniors Sam Rozmus and Hannah McCarthy were also Conference Medalists. 

Dance The team had a great season. They began with a bang by finishing in 1st place at their first competition at Victor Andrew High School. Under the leadership of their team captains, Seniors Tatum Barbier, Olga Kondraros, and Kayla Lopez, the team continued to find success and place highly at competitions throughout the season. Their season culminated in a fantastic way, which had them qualifying for the State Finals. The team plans to continue this trend and find even more success next year.

Photo courtesy of Nazareth Marketing

Football After a rough start to the season, the team pulled out a win against Leo Catholic High School and then went on an eight-game winning streak which culminated in a thrilling 45-44 win over Peoria to win the State Title game. Senior Zach Hayes brought home the State Title game MVP award. The team was led by their All Conference players, Seniors Justin Taylor, Brady Gorman, Zach Hayes, and Will Beargie, Junior Brendan Flanagan, and Sophomores Gabe Kaminski and James Penley. It was truly a magical season for the football team.

Boys Golf  The boys golf team completed the season with a 7-2 dual meet record, including wins over conference rivals Marian Catholic and Joliet Catholic. Senior James Mercurio finished in 4th place at the Glenbard North Invite. Freshman Sam Wilda was named All-Conference and scored a 79 at the ESCC Conference Tournament. The frosh-soph team had a 7-4 record and finished second in the ESCC Conference Tournament. “Everyone talks about their awesome experience on the team and how much they loved the program,” said Senior Jack Francis. 

(Left to Right) Sophomore Maryssa Zielinski, Juniors Kacey Hughes and Gigi Montoro all received All-Conference Honors. (Photo by Nicole Jeray.)

Girls Golf The team climbed to new heights this year aided by the leadership of Seniors Caroline Kelly, Megan Kornafel, and Emma Francis. Additionally, Juniors Kacey Hughes and Gigi Montoro and Sophomore Maryssa Zielinski were named All Conference. The team finished strong by placing 4th at the Conference Tournament, finished 2nd place at Regionals, 3rd place in Sectionals, and the team made it to the State Tournament for only the second time ever, where they found tons of success. Hughes and Zielinski even made it to the final round at state. 

Girls Lacrosse The team started the season off with a bang going 9-3, securing the record for the winningest start in program history. Sophomore Olivia Mowrer was a big contributor to the offensive production by leading the team in both goals and assists. Junior Emma Mariano also has displayed brilliance by breaking the program save record. A tough 11-10 overtime win over St. Laurence has been the highlight of the season so far. The team continues to show lots of resilience and growth, and as the season comes to an end, they are sure to be proud of their successes.

Sophomore Ari Hernandez lining up a free kick. (Photo by Dan Carlino.)

Boys Soccer The team finished the season with a record of 9-12-2. Senior Niko DiFoggio led the team’s offensive production by scoring a team high 11 goals and a team high 5 assists. Senior Nick Czochara finished the season with the 3rd most saves in the Conference. The team fought their way to wins under the leadership of their four captains, Seniors Czochara, DiFoggio, Danny Stratis, and Dominic DiBrizzi. Although the team found some success this year, they ultimately fell to a talented Marmion team in the regional championship game in a tightly fought 3-2 loss. 

Girls Soccer Juniors Olivia Austin and Layden Almer have led the team through their explosive offensive production. As of the end of April, Austin led the team in goals with 12. According to Assistant Coach Dan Carlino, “Austin’s superb offensive production stems from her ability to beat defenders with speed, power and skill with Senior Ella O’Neill’s touch and vision setting her up for success.” Notably, Junior Samantha Rozmus and Senior Trea Notz command the midfield while Junior Layden Almer dominates the right side and Senior Sophie Hynes keeps the goal. 

Softball Although the season started off with a 6-8 record, a lot of players have stepped up in big ways: Sophomore Kennedy Joe has earned her way to a starting spot in center field aided by her offensive production. She is leading the team in both home runs and in stolen bases. The team is guided by the leadership of Seniors Ava Calderon, Liz Selover, and Amaris Teran. “They set the standard of attitude, commitment, and effort on a daily basis,” said Coach Vicky Sobol. Under the leadership of these seniors and the fantastic play of rising stars like Joe, the team should continue to find wins as the season wraps up.

Boys Tennis Despite a rough 2-4 start to the season, the boys tennis team has gotten on their feet and started to find more success as the season goes on. That success is seen especially through Freshman Matthew Johanns’ and Junior Ryan Nelson’s dominant play, and strong chemistry between the doubles teams. The team has a strong chance to succeed at Sectionals and then State, if their level of play continues to grow and improve. With only a couple of seniors on the team and a decent amount of underclassmen, the team is suited for continued success next year.

Girls Tennis The team finished second in both regular season play and the conference final. Also for the first time ever, Nazareth’s girls tennis team took first place in the State Sectionals and sent 5 players to the State Tournament. The electric doubles team of Senior Kenzie Hyland and Junior Audrey Moster won their first round match in the State Tournament and were named Doubles Players of the Year in the ESCC Conference. Overall, a great season and with a good number of the team returning next year, the future is bright for the program.

Boys Track and Field This has been a season of tremendous growth. Returning members of the team have shown great leadership this season, but the breakout performances from the newcomers are what really have contributed to the success this season so far. Freshman Daniel Lewis and Sophomore Michael Kanzer along with Senior Patrick Titzer and Junior Aiden Ryan, broke the 4×400 relay school record. Additionally, the triple jump school record was broken by Freshman Trenton Walker and the discus school record was broken by Sophomore Nolan Daly.

Girls Track and Field The power dynamic of coupling newcomers with veterans is proving to be a dangerous combination with the team placing 3rd at the Fenton Invitational and their many fantastic performances in 4x400m and 4x800m relays. A season highlight is Senior Colette Kinsella breaking the program’s 1600m record. Coach Lewis foresees a strong finish in the distance and relay events as the season comes to a close. He said, “The girls team embodies a ‘Don’t Stop, Don’t Quit’ energy and will finish the season strong.”

Boys Volleyball “Despite facing tough opponents and setbacks, the team has remained committed to improving and working together to achieve their goals,” said Coach Josh Bielanski. The team has a strong group of seniors that will certainly be missed next year: Frank Schlehofer and Ryan Clifford have displayed tremendous growth from last year and have become a vital part of the starting rotation. With a strong passion to win and a positive attitude, the team should find more success as the season comes to a close.

Photo courtesy of Nazareth Marketing

Girls Volleyball  During the season, the team’s record of 21-16 led them into post-season play in sectionals, super sectionals, and semifinals and the final where they took second place. Senior Kitty Sandt reached 1,000 assists in her high school career, Junior Olivia Austin had a total of 69 blocks and Junior Lauren Salata led kills at 4.4 per set. Freshmen Jane Manecke had 46 kills in only her second season of volleyball, and Beth Surowiec with 72 total received, did not disappoint on the Varsity team during State Finals.

Wrestling The team had a great season all around. Juniors Scott Creviston, Alex Dvorak and Andrew Fowler; Sophomores Nolan Daly and Gabe Kaminski; and Freshmen Charlie Dvorak and Ben Lukes all qualified for Sectionals. Dvorak, Fowler and Kaminski qualified for State. The team had success at the Walther Christian Tournament, finishing in 3rd. Also, Kaminski finished in 2nd place in the State for the second year in a row.