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Druley: Marmion's Kasper stays true to his pool

Published: Friday, March 28, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT

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Marmion junior Andrew Kasper presides over the school’s environmentally conscious Green Club and takes part in its Art Appreciation Club among his non-athletic extracurricular acitivities.

“Other than that, I really kind of dedicate my life to swimming because you can’t really do two sports when one of them is swimming,” Kasper said.

Kasper re-learned that lesson once more earlier this week, arriving at his family’s Batavia home in the wee hours of Monday after some airline delays. He and other members of the Aurora-based Academy Bullets team were returning from the National Club Swimming Association championships in Orlando, Fla.

Air travel won’t stray far from Kasper’s radar in the next few months. He’s set to compete with a contingent of Bullets athletes at a grand prix event in Arizona next month, and is training to qualify for the NCSA long-form nationals in Indianapolis in August.

By then, Kasper also hopes to be progressing in the recruiting process. Ideally, he’d like to swim at a small school in southern California.

“Those big environments don’t really seem like the atmosphere I would want to be in for four years,” he said.

Kasper helped Marmion to an 11th-place finish at the IHSA state meet in Evanston earlier this month, earning medals as part of the 400-yard freestyle relay that took fourth and the 200 medley relay that was ninth.

Raised in Naperville, Kasper relocated to the Chicago area in October 2012 after his mother, a sales executive at The Hartford, was promoted from her position in Connecticut.

Swimming has offered a constant through it all, and even helps Kasper make a few bucks. He lifeguards at his subdivision pool in Batavia’s Tanglewood Hills during the summer.

Experienced LaPorte eyes WVU: It’s been slightly more than a year since Geneva senior Kelly LaPorte visited West Virginia as a prospective women’s soccer recruit. She wasted little time in committing to the Mountaineers because she had finally found a school that met her criteria.

“I looked around, but I was really picky with colleges,” said LaPorte, a midfielder. “I wanted it to be pretty, I didn’t want it close to home, I wanted a good women’s soccer program. And West Virginia offered me all of that.”

LaPorte, whose sister, Jessica, plays at Division III Loras College in Iowa, has starred for Strikers Fox Valley for several years. She has not competed for the Vikings, but remains close with several college-bound Strikers playing high school ball this spring.

She certainly doesn’t shy away from a challenge. LaPorte is the only girl to play and start for the Strikers’ boys team in her age group.

“It helped me a lot,” she said. “Mentally, physically. It was a great experience.”

Glad to be here: Seniors Jack Bujko and Nick Cook helped steer the St. Charles North boys volleyball team to a season-opening victory against Leyden on Wednesday.

Coach Todd Weimer’s most experienced returners from last season’s senior-laden third-place team almost weren’t a duo.

Cook, a libero and setter, guided Bujko, a middle and right-side hitter, into the sport on the eve of their freshmen tryouts.

“We’ve known each other since middle school. We’ve been friends,” Bujko said. “I never really played volleyball until freshman year. ... He was like, ‘Hey, come out for the team.’ I was a little skeptical, but then I just went out for it, you know.”

Kevin Druley is a sportswriter for the Kane County Chronicle. He can be reached at 630-845-5347 or kdruley@shawmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter at @kevindruley.

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