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Schwab: Plenty to predict for 2013 on Tri-Cities sports scene

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

Let’s start 2013 right with Prep Zone’s annual predictions for the coming year on the Tri-Cities sports scene.

Some of these prognostications are written with a straight face, others in jest and a few somewhere in between. If you’re having a hard time deciphering which are which, I promise to try harder in 2014. There, an early New Year’s resolution.

January

St. Charles North announces its new football coach is ... former assistant Chip McPheeters, a decision based almost entirely on the coolness of his name.

With Kendall Stephens’ ongoing shoulder woes a setback for the St. Charles East boys basketball team, Larkin nudges ahead of the UEC River pack, though Geneva, St. Charles North and East remain in the hunt to set up another wild conference finish in February.

February

The Mooseheart boys basketball team’s drama-filled season ends with another close loss to Hinckley-Big Rock, this time in regionals, despite 26 points, 16 rebounds and seven blocked shots from Makur Puou. After reviewing game tape, the IHSA demands that Puou has one of those rebounds taken off the books because he appeared to get away with an over-the-back.

Geneva’s girls basketball bolsters a somewhat disappointing season by winning another regional title on the strength of the continued emergence of sophomore Abby Novak and a hot shooting hand from Morgan Seberger.

March

Bob Ward continues to show why he’s one of the best boys basketball coaches in the state as St. Francis takes a regional it has no business winning.

It’s another quiet postseason on the Tri-Cities boys basketball postseason front as difficult postseason draws KO teams early, despite Batavia scoring a big first-round upset.

April

St. Charles North softball player Sabrina Rabin steals six bases in one game as the North Stars softball team enjoys a blistering start, awakening the echoes of 2011.

North’s softball and girls soccer teams go the entire month with one loss combined, as the Poulin/Vostal sibling connection continues to earn those coaching stipends.

May

The Geneva baseball team’s pitching staff sets a single-season program record with its third no-hitter of the season, two by Andy Honiotes and one by Jordan Touro.

Honiotes also flirts with Kaneland graduate Casey Crosby’s unofficial area record of attracting 119 pro scouts to his starts on the season.

June

Kaneland softball caps a dynamite season a game shy of advancing downstate. The Knights’ Paige Kuefler sets a new program record with 63 RBIs.

July

The Cougars reverse the trend line of slipping attendance in emphatic fashion as fans show up in force to check out Cubs prospects in the team’s first year as a Cubs affiliate.

Carlos Marmol makes a rehab assignment for the Cougars and blows a four-run lead against the Lansing Lugnuts.

August

Batavia football coach Dennis Piron finally loses a regular season game, but the Bulldogs don’t lose again until the state semifinals.

Showcasing an improved passing game featuring returning receivers Kyle Brown and Pace Temple, the Geneva football team puts up 48 points on opening night.

September

Back for yet another season, veteran Batavia girls volleyball coach Lori Trippi-Payne still summons the energy to coach every point like the state championship is hanging in the balance.

St. Charles North freshman girls golfer Gianna Furrie continues to do the family name proud by tearing up courses up and down the Fox Valley.

October

St. Charles East boys soccer advances to the Class 3A state semifinals en route to a state title, and Saints coach Paul Jennison fights back tears when gushing about the performance turned in by his “lads.”

The Kaneland football team extends its unbeaten run in the Northern Illinois Big 12 to four season as the combination of Drew David and Jesse Balluff brings opponents to their knees on a weekly basis.

November

St. Charles East’s Brannon Barry – this year’s Zach Strittmatter – helps the area’s surprise football team, St. Charles East, bust some playoff brackets and reach the Class 7A quarterfinals.

Rosary swimming shrugs off its rebuilding year in 2012 and earns another top-five finish at the IHSA State Meet.

December

Geneva junior boys basketball player Nate Navigato, already sifting through Division I offers, helps the best Vikings team in years win the East Aurora Holiday Tournament.

Batavia senior Liza Fruendt closes in on her big brother’s career points total in a Batavia uniform after her fourth 30-point scoring explosion of the season.

Now a junior, St. Charles East junior point guard Cole Gentry still draws derisive cheers from fans for looking like a middle-schooler. He’s too busy breaking defenders’ ankles to pay the taunts much mind.

Happy New Year, readers. Here’s hoping for a healthy, productive and exciting 2013 for our area athletes that exceeds all predictions.

• Jay Schwab is sports editor of the Kane County Chronicle. He can be reached at 630-845-5382 or jschwab@shawmedia.com.

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