Whether her latest clientele sports swim caps or not, Tracy Ribeiro knows this much about her weekend handiwork:
"You're not going to be able to miss it," she said. "Not when it's bleached."
Working alongside ME Salon owner Mary Ericcson on Saturday, Ribeiro, a stylist at the St. Charles shop, aided the St. Charles East boys swim team in the first stage of its ritual makeover for next month's IHSA postseason.
Equal parts solidarity and serendipity – bleached blonde hair bears the closest resemblance to gold medals, after all – the bleaching measure is one shared by several teams. Still, there can be some novelty attached, at least until the Saints shave their heads in a few weeks.
"It's just funny to see a bunch of boys coming to get their hair done," Ribeiro said.
Ribeiro, whose son, Gehrig, is a former East swimmer and water polo player, said about 40 Saints visited the salon.
The initial plan called for waves of 10 athletes at a time. Instead, the pack largely walked in at once.
Stylists deal in volume all the time, so the surprise wasn't much of one, all things considered. Neither was the process.
"For bleaching, you mix the bleach, put it on their hair, let it sit for 20 minutes, let them have the hair get past orange and go to blonde," Ribeiro said. "Sometimes they have to go under the blowdryer with a cap on to help the color get lighter quicker. Other than that, there's not much to it."
Listen up: Traditional head shavers – not bleachers – St. Charles North swimmers prefer having discerning ears instead of hair.
"Feels like a Metallica kind of day," North Stars coach Rob Rooney grinned before a recent practice. Moments later, he started playing the heavy metal group's music over the pool sound system as athletes began warming up.
"We listen to a lot of Kid Cudi, Dr. Dre. We always have the Pandora on. Anything that will get us going," North senior David Chokran said. "You can't listen to slow stuff during a hard set."
"It just depends, really, on their mood," Rooney added. "A little bit of rap, a little bit of [Metallica]."
Scoliere part of NCAA FCS champs: North Dakota State repeated as NCAA Football Championship Subdivision national champions Saturday, defeating Sam Houston State, 39-13, in suburban Dallas.
That might sound pretty distant from Chronicle Country, but the game had a Tri-Cities tie in Bison linebacker Nick Scoliere, a Marmion alumnus from St. Charles.
A redshirt freshman, Scoliere played a bit role for the Bison, making five tackles – one for a loss – in four games.
NDSU's postseason path included an earlier victory against South Dakota State, which featured Scoliere's longtime friend, T.J. Lally, at linebacker. Another St. Charles resident and former Marmion standout, Lally registered 11 tackles in a 28-3 loss to the Bison, putting NDSU in a national quarterfinal.
Promising prospects: The Cougars-Cubs partnership seized regional baseball fans' passions and imaginations from the time it was announced in September.
On Monday, Baseball America provided another cause for the group to salivate, releasing its top 10 prospects for each major league club.
While it's too soon to tell players' April landing spots, a number of Cubs farmhands on the list played with short-season Boise last season, making Low-A Kane County the next organizational progression.
No. 2 prospect Albert Almora, an outfielder, and power-hitting first baseman Dan Vogelbach are among those who fit the bill.
Opening Day at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark is set for April 4, when the Cougars host Quad Cities at 6:30 p.m.
• Kevin Druley is a sports writer for the Kane County Chronicle. He can be reached at 630-845-5347 or firstname.lastname@example.org.