Andrew’s Caily Friel eager to return to state form

SHARE Andrew’s Caily Friel eager to return to state form
SHARE Andrew’s Caily Friel eager to return to state form

As a freshman, Andrew swimmer Caily Friel burst onto the scene at the IHSA’s biggest stage.

Friel finished 12th in the state in the 100-yard breaststroke, becoming Andrew’s first girls swimming medalist since Olympian Christine Magnuson in 2003.

Friel’s sophomore season? It brought disappointment as Friel didn’t advance out of the state prelims.

So what is there to expect in her junior year?

“Caily has that experience under her belt,” Andrew coach Frank Muchna said. “She is pretty focused in on finishing in the top six (in an event), to really get something done. Caily is working hard toward that goal.”

Muchna, a longtime boys swim coach at Andrew, is in his first year on the girls side. He’s taken over a talented squad that’s aiming at the SouthWest Suburban Red title — and maybe more.

Another key cog for Andrew is diver Emma Ruchala, who gained valuable experience at state a year ago, finishing sixth. The Thunderbolts also count on Alexys Knight, Beth Kosen, Santeh Cox, Ciara Murphy and Halle Swieringa.

“The girls are all working hard. We can make a strong presence felt at conference,” Muchna said. “We think we can qualify two, three, four girls to state and with a relay, too. We’ll see what we can do.”

Reavis’ sights set

Among team goals, Reavis is aiming at a conference title, which would be the program’s first since 1972.

There’s also more than that.

“The girls won the (South Suburban) sportsmanship in 2012, and they want to win it again,” coach Jennifer Keller said. “It’s that positive attitude. Seeing your girls wish the girl in the lane next to them ‘good luck’ and shaking officials’ hands on their own, it warms your heart as a coach.”

For the Rams, senior Susu Almousa and junior Alex Malmborg have stepped up as leaders. Reavis will try to navigate a topsy-turvy South Suburban Red. Reavis lost in a dual to Lemont but has beaten Tinley Park, Shepard, Argo and T.F. Co-op.

“Susu and Alex are two strong leaders,” Keller said. “They’re doing a great job working with the girls and getting them to work harder on a daily basis, devoting every single day. And yeah, (conference) is on their minds.”

Girls Tennis

Flag bearer

Tinley Park’s Haley Wilcox continues to show up in unique places when it comes to professional tennis tournaments.

For three summers, she was a ball girl at a pro tournament in Cincinnati and was up close and personal watching the best tennis players in the world at their craft.

Earlier this month, the Titans senior was at the opening ceremonies of the Davis Cup at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates as a flag bearer. Wilcox and about 49 other young tennis players from the Chicago area each carried flags from other countries before the United States’ match against Slovakia.

Wilcox carried the flag of the Bahamas during the ceremony.

“I originally had the Philippines flag,” she said. “But one of the girls asked if we could trade because she was half Filipino. So I said ‘sure’ and took the Bahamas flag. It was a cool ceremony. They played our national anthem and the Slovakian national anthem. We got to stay and watch the Bryan brothers (Bob and Mike) play and that was a lot of fun.’’

Wilcox also is having fun on the court. She headed into this season with a 72-9 record and is looking to become the first Titan to win three sectional titles and qualify for state all four years. After her first three weeks of play, her only loss has been to Glenbard East freshman Kolie Allen.

Coming up

Stagg visits Sandburg in a key Southwest Suburban Blue battle on Tuesday, while Lockport visits Homewood-Flossmoor.

On Saturday, Lemont will host a tournament that will include Lincoln-Way Central and Oak Lawn. Lincoln-Way North hosts a tournament featuring Andrew, Lincoln-Way East, Marian Catholic, Mother McAuley, Oak Forest, Providence and Sandburg.

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