Lincoln-Way North looks to extended conference reign

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Lincoln-Way North swimming coach Kendra Will remembers well the program’s first year.

In 2008, Will had five swimmers compete on varsity and five on JV.

Ever since, North hasn’t known anything other than being conference champion. The Phoenix have won five straight SouthWest Suburban Red titles.

“We expect a lot out of ourselves, and winning conference is a great goal to have,” Will said. “We hope to continue the streak.”

The Phoenix will host the SouthWest Suburban Red meet Oct. 31 and Nov. 1.

“We don’t rest or taper for conference, so it’s a team goal,” Will said. “Just get up and swim (and) hope the momentum of the championship season takes it.”

North will compete in the Homewood-Flossmoor Sectional, seeking its second sectional title and first since 2012.

Leading the way for the Phoenix are seniors Elyse Pratl and Alex Woehlert and junior Cassidy DeGraff.

“The girls are doing really well filling in spots. We’ve had some great races,” Will said. “The sectional is a big meet, and we want to get as many girls as possible to state. We also say, ‘Whatever your last meet is, we want to drop time.’ ”

Sectionals fast approaching

Also competing in the Homewood-Flossmoor Sectional are Marian Catholic, Crete-Monee, Lincoln-Way East, Lincoln-Way North, T.F. co-op, Bremen, Thornwood and Tinley Park.

The Sandburg Sectional will feature the host Eagles, Eisenhower, Marist, Morgan Park, Joliet Catholic, Lockport, Lincoln-Way Central, Lincoln-Way West, Providence, Oak Forest, Shepard and Andrew.

Mother McAuley, Evergreen Park, Oak Lawn, Richards, Stagg and Argo will compete in the Downers Grove South Sectional.

Girls Tennis

Sectional shuffle

The IHSA didn’t make wholesale changes to its sectional assignments from a year ago, but some of the tweaking it did will have an impact on Southland teams.

Sectionals begin Oct. 17. Homewood-Flossmoor is favored to win its 30th straight sectional title, although a few changes could make the singles portion of the tournament interesting, with Tinley Park and Andrew moving into the sectional hosted by Marian Catholic.

Tinley Park’s Haley Wilcox, who has won two straight sectional titles (at Lincoln-Way East and Lincoln-Way North), could have her hands full in this field, which includes two-time state qualifier Bryttish Burts, of Rich Central.

The other area shakeup involves Providence and Lockport, which finished first and third, respectively, at the Plainfield North Sectional a year ago. Those two teams moved to the Lincoln-Way East Sectional, which features the host Griffins, who have won 10 sectional crowns in the past 12 years.

With Lockport and Providence out of the way, that gives Joliet Catholic a little breathing room at the Plainfield East Sectional. Last year, the Hilltoppers, who are seeking their first sectional crown since 2009, took second at Plainfield North.

Conference clashes

Conference tournaments open Friday across the Southland.

The SouthWest Suburban Red tourney will be held at Lincoln-Way East, while SouthWest Suburban Blue teams will gather at Lockport.

The South Suburban Tournament will be at Tinley Park, the East Suburban Catholic Conference tourney will be hosted by Bishop McNamara, the GCAC Red by Loyola and the Southland Tournament by Kankakee.

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