Tim O’Brien’s tennis and swimming notebook

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Lincoln-Way North junior Meg Witt has plenty of postseason success under her belt as a doubles player.

In her sophomore season, Witt and senior partner Sam Pietruszynski won the Lincoln-Way North Sectional to advance to state where the duo won a match before dropping two straight.

This season, Witt has made the jump and is hoping to add some singles hardware to her resume.

Playing at this weekend’s SouthWest Suburban Red conference tournament at Lincoln-Way East, Witt won the No. 1 singles title, defeating East’s Nina Heidkamp 6-3, 6-3.

Lincoln-Way North finished second overall.

“Switching from doubles to singles, you have to change a lot because you volley a lot in doubles,” Witt said. “In singles, you hit more ground strokes. I work on keeping my ground stroke consistent and making sure I get to every ball I can.”

Witt and the Phoenix will compete this Saturday at the 10-team Lincoln-Way East Sectional. The top four finishers in both the singles and doubles side advance to the state tournament.

Witt isn’t looking to do anything crazy. She wants to compete and see what happens.

“I want to keep up with the players who get added in (at the sectional),” Witt said. “Maybe flip the card enough times where I can make a run, give everyone something to worry about.”

Also looking to do some damage on the singles side will be Makenzie Helsel who won the No. 2 singles title at the conference tournament.

“I tried to use short and long shots and get an angle on the ball,” Helsel said. “I felt like I did well. Things are working well for me, and I’m going to try to do the same thing.”

Conference rivalry for Lincoln-Way East programs

For conference bragging rights, Lincoln-Way East coach Chris Olson wants to win the SouthWest Suburban Red title year in and year out.

But conference rivals are one thing. Olson wants the wins too for some in-school rivalries within Lincoln-Way East.

“With conferences, everything is staggered by a week so the golfers start first,” Olson said with a smile. “Last week varsity boys and girls won conference. It was big news around campus. We were up next, just a bit of friendly competition. Next week is cross country, and it goes from there.”

Lincoln-Way East won the SouthWest Suburban Red title for the second straight season, beating Lincoln-Way North 34 points to 27.

Sandburg swimming remembers coach Jane Caliendo

A teacher and a girls swimming and water polo coach at Sandburg since 1992, Jane Caliendo passed away October 4 after a nine-month-plus battle with colon cancer.

For the swimming team, Caliendo’s memory won’t soon be forgotten.

“She is our biggest cheerleader and always will be, always will be on deck with us,” Sandburg junior Clare Lawlor said. “It’s good knowing that she is still here with us and everywhere around us. There’s peace of mind that she is in a better place.”

Sandburg got right back into the pool, defeating district rival Stagg 111-75 in a dual meet.

“It has been rough for all of us, but if anything, it has brought us all closer together as a team,” Sandburg senior diver Anna Girlich said. “We’re all there for each other, and that’s been a big help. It’s been good to get back into the pool. It’s what (Coach Caliendo) would have wanted us to do.”

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