Tuesday, October 29, 2019

History Lesson: Reconfigured Bucs still had enough to win state title

From the mid-1980s to mid-1990s, Verne Pottinger had a powerhouse at Belvidere High School. From 1983 through 1993, Belvidere won fewer than nine games in a season just twice. The 1987, 1988, 1989 and 1992 teams all won more than 10. In 1993, the school finally broke through, storming to a Class 5A title with a perfect 14-0 record.

In 1994, Belvidere made the playoffs, but fell to Class 4A and rolled to another state title. Considering the Bucs were going against smaller schools, it wasn't a surprise. What was a surprise is that there actually was a considerable amount of drama in 1994 because a large number of players that were being counted on didn't play ... for a variety of reasons.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

2019 Boys Cross Country

Team Results
1. Belvidere North 41
2. Rockton Hononegah 87
3. Rockford Auburn 89
4. Rockford Guilford 90
5. Rockford Boylan 117
6. Machesney Park Harlem 137
7. Rockford East 165
8. Belvidere 179
9. Rockford Jefferson 266

Individual Results
1. Max Beutel North 15:26.8
2. Jonah Garcia Auburn 15:39.2
3. Peter Maculan Auburn 15:39.9
4. Nate Halbrader Hononegah 16:11.4
5. Dominick Welte Hononegah 16:18.7
6. Liam Keefe Boylan 16:23.4
7. Miles Lang East 16:24.0
8. Chris Metz Freeport 16:25.7
9. Caden McNulty North 16:29.0
10. Nick Lenzen North 16:29.9

2019 Girls Cross Country

Team Results
1. Belvidere North 25
2. Rockton Hononegah 38
3. Machesney Park Harlem 97
4. Rockford Boylan 113
5. Rockford Auburn 140
6. Belvidere 162
7. Rockford Guilford 169

Individual Results
1. Gianna Sagonna North 18:10.5
2. Madison Diercks North 18:27.5
3. Michelle Gasmund East 18:32.0
4. Sydnie Elder North 18:38.6
5. Hailey Henry Hononegah 18:45.1
6. Lauren Johnston Hononegah 18:48.9
7. Indigo Sterud Hononegah 18:49.1
8. Isabella Roethle Auburn 18:52.0
9. Alex Pecora North 19:07.8
10. Alexis Kuehne Harlem 19:17.5

Sunday, October 13, 2019

2019 Girls Tennis

NIC-10 Standings
1. Rockford Auburn 56.6
2. Rockton Hononegah 46.4
3. Rockford Guilford 44.8
4. Rockford Boylan 43.6
5. Belvidere North 37.2
6. Belvidere 25
7. Freeport 23.4
8. Machesney Park Harlem 19
9. Rockford East 16.8
10. Rockford Jefferson 7.4

Individual Results
No. 1 Belen Nevenhoven (Auburn) def.
Beau DeGennaro (Belvidere)
6-1, 6-0
No. 2 Cristina Gelabert (Guilford) def.
Melanie Martinovic (Auburn)
6-1, 6-4
No. 1 Natalie Muldowney/MiaBella Provenzano (Boyan) def.
Paris Thompson/Amy Park (Auburn)
6-2, 5-7, (10-6)
No. 2 Maddie Harned/Alyssa Trapp (Auburn) def.
Mya Carter/Lizzie Schindler (Hononegah)
2-6, 6-0, (10-7)
No. 3 Phuong Pham/Vicky Wu (Auburn) def.
Tori Lawlor/Alison Stephens (Hononegah)
7-5, 6-2

Monday, October 7, 2019

History Lesson: Freeport QB Harry Kent led unrivaled passing attack in 1959

I discovered Harry Kent - apparently known as "Golden Arm" by the Freeport sportswriters - because I was trying to learn more about Ron Fearn.

Fearn went from Rockford East to playing quarterback for the University of Illinois. I wanted to compile as much info about Fearn as possible so I looked up his junior and senior football seasons - 1958 and 1959.

Right away, I noticed that Freeport had quite a squad in 1959 and that its quarterback, Harry Kent, was throwing a ton of touchdown passes.

The Rockford Morning Star and Register-Republic tended to be hit-and-miss when it came to reporting about Freeport. Some years, the Rockford papers would miss several games. In 1959, though, every Freeport box was reported.

That allowed me to total up Kent's 20 touchdown passes. I still have years left to look up, but I can't imagine anyone having thrown more to that point. A NIC-10 quarterback wouldn't top 20 until 1987.

Still, coaches picked Fearn as the first-team all-conference quarterback. Typically, if your QB is solid and you win the conference, he's picked first team. Thanks to Don Werntz, I was able to find Kent in Montana and talk a little 1950s football.

Click here to read the story.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

History Lesson: Megan Fong's breakthrough title remembered 20 years later

Megan Fong was a trailblazer at Auburn, winning the school's No. 1 girls singles title in 1999. She would repeat in 2000 and then head off to play college tennis at Bradley. Unfortunately, at Bradley she was diagnosed with leukemia and died at the age of 19.

Her coach, Tracy Palmer, remembers Fong 20 years later. You can read it by clicking here.

The NIC-10 History Book chased down Carrie Jeanmaire, now Carrie Jeanmaire Kapala, to talk about Fong. Carrie had just had a baby and didn't get back to us in time to make it into the Register Star story. Here's what Carrie remembers about Megan.

"I only played Megan a few times in high school matches. She was a couple years older than me. When we did play, she was a tough opponent for me then because she was calm, consistent and competitive. I always admired how calm she could stay when competing since that was my biggest weakness.

"Before finding out she was sick, my parents saw her competing at the same tournament I was at. She had been going to Bradley for a couple months by then. I remember them saying 'that is not the same Megan that we saw in high school tennis.' She did not have the same energy.

"When I heard she was sick I felt bad. I never really knew anyone that young to have cancer so it was scary. When she passed away I was sad for her family, for their loss. It made me think about life can be taken away from you at any time and how lucky I was to be healthy.

"When coaching juniors today, I stress about their attitude and staying calm and not showing weakness. That was the type of player Megan was and I really enjoy coaching players that can do this. I also find great joy when I can help players that are struggling with this to overcome it."