Tinley Park swimmers ‘stepping up’

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For four years, Tinley Park swimming coach Lucy Witkowski knew she could pencil in Hannah Schultz’s name every meet.

So for Witkowski and the Titans, it has been a bit of an adjustment without their star swimmer who graduated last year, but an adjustment that hopefully will pay dividends quickly with the postseason fast approaching.

“It’s been tough, and we’ve really had to make our other girls step up and really work,” Witkowski said. “They really have had to push themselves this year, but the girls are in a good place. They know it isn’t going to be easy from here.”

Tinley Park will compete at the South Suburban Blue meet, with the diving portion taking place Oct. 28 at Oak Forest. Tinley Park will host the swimming events Oct. 29.

Witkowski credited Melissa Joyce, Leah Wood and Jillian Schultz for their strong performances through the first two months of the season.

Schultz, a freshman, is Hannah’s younger sister. Hannah is a freshman at Iona College on the water polo team.

Jillian is looking to leave her legacy at the school.

“There’s some pressure, but it’s been fun this season,” she said. “Mostly people want me to have fun and not feel like I have to be Hannah Schultz — for me to be me.”

The Titans will compete at the Homewood-Flossmoor Sectional.

Oak Forest assistant makes jump

An assistant coach on the Oak Forest swim team last season, Leisl Behrens made the jump this season to the head coaching spot.

First reactions? So far, so good as Behrens is familiar with both the school and the program. Behrens was a four-year varsity swimmer at Oak Forest and graduated in 2007.

“It’s been a big transition, but it has gone really well,” Behrens said. “I started building relationships with the girls as an assistant so the girls knew where I was coming from since day one.”

Behrens also is an assistant coach on the district water polo team.

Oak Forest will swim at the Sandburg Sectional.

Behrens said Gretchen Behrens, Elizabeth Minnich and Ashley Siedschlag are among those having solid seasons for the Bengals.

“Those three girls really put the work in during the offseason and it is really starting to show,” Behrens said. “We had a good showing at the Shepard Invite and I’m feeling good about the team.”

Girls tennis

H-F keeps streak alive

Homewood-Flossmoor coach Don Baron doesn’t shy away from the numbers. And he encourages his Vikings to embrace a pretty impressive and pretty daunting number.

That number? Thirty.

Homewood-Flossmoor won its 30th straight sectional title Saturday, claiming the Marian Catholic Sectional crown by defeating Illiana Christian 25-19.

“The girls know about the streak and understand it,” Baron said. “That’s part of the program and the strong tradition, locally and on a state basis. They don’t want to be the team that lets it slip away. The kids play with some urgency. We’ve had some great players

before, and they want to be the ones to pass the mantle along.”

Sophia Osabuohien and Timara Maxwell won the doubles title, improving to 22-0 this season.

Kaela Mack finished third in singles, while Lauren Mansfield and Julia Wenckus finished second at doubles.

The top four singles players and doubles teams advanced to the three-day state tournament that starts Thursday.

“Our doubles team, Sophia and Timara, have been our strongest asset on the team,” Baron said. “We look forward to seeing what we can do at state.”

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