Glenbrook South runners put in mileage for success

(Glenview Announcements) Two Glenbrook South cross country runners will be guiding with their legs instead of their voices this season.

Seniors Brad Berg and Sam Stanek aren’t the most vocal leaders, but head coach Kurt Hasenstein believes the two will set the pace.

“We’re expecting big things from them,” said Hasenstein of his expected captains. “They had a really good summer mileage-wise and they’re both healthy coming into the season.”

Berg, who finished ninth at regionals and was named to the all-conference team last season, kept busy running the 3,200 meters for the track team.

Stanek, who placed 17th at regionals, followed the same game plan and nearly broke the school record in the 800-meter run.

“He’s really starting to gain a lot of confidence to be one of the better runners in the league for sure, if not the area,” Hasenstein said.

For the upcoming campaign, Hasenstein hopes his squad will push for the No. 2 spot in the CSL behind New Trier, but set a goal to place in the top half.

Last season, GBS ended in fifth at the CSL Meet and took sixth at the Lake Forest Regional.

Hasenstein believes some of his younger runners can eventually contribute to the varsity squad, but for now will play the waiting game.

“It’s just going to take a few weeks for them to get seasoned a little bit with varsity competition and just the pace that it goes out the first mile is totally different than the frosh/soph level,” said Hasenstein. “I think they can race with them, but it’s just a little bit of a shock to their system when they go out and it’s a 5-minute mile instead of a 5:20 or 5:30 at a frosh/soph level.”

Hasenstein thinks people will see a completely different lineup by the squad’s Oct. 1 trip to Peoria.

One sophomore has already drawn his coach’s attention. David O’Gara, who finished seventh at the freshman CSL Meet last season, is looking to climb the ranks with the varsity.

“I would actually expect (O’Gara) to be our third runner if I could put them on paper right now based on what he’s done over the summer and what his times were last year during the track season,” Hasenstein said.

Hasenstein believes he will be able to rely on O’Gara after he trained in the offseason with Stanek. The Titans also will be counting on returning senior Luke Brown and juniors Peter Westerfield and Dan Weathers.

Brown wrapped up his 2010 season with a 32nd-place finish at the CSL Meet in 17:41. At the sophomore CSL Meet, Westerfield and Weathers finished 10th (17:17) and 17th (17:38), respectively. They joined the varsity for regionals.

“We’re bringing them along slowly because we do have some younger guys and some of them had knick-knack injuries over the summer,” said Hasenstein. “We just have to be careful with them because our depth isn’t that great. But if they get hurt, then we really put ourselves behind the 8-ball in our league with New Trier and Maine South, which is extremely strong.”

GBS opens up the 2011 season with a dual meet at home against Glenbrook North on Aug. 29.


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Glenbrook South’s playoff push begins up front

(Glenview Announcements) If Glenbrook South is make a seventh straight trip to the playoffs, it will most likely be due to how the Titans battle in the trenches.

The Titans return four offensive and five defensive starting linemen this season.

“It’s pretty good experience when you think about it,” said head coach Mike Noll. “Experience has got to be one of our strengths.”

On offense, GBS will have seniors Jreis Sweilem, Max Leonard, Scott Spalek and three-year starter Mike Demos back for one more season.

With quarterback Matt Jenkins and all-State running back John Strickland done with high school, the four offensive returnees will face added pressure to hold the line, but that’s where Noll’s strategy begins.

“Our game plan always kind of starts with trying to control the line of scrimmage,” Noll said. “We hope that our offensive linemen can do that and open some holes for our guys.”

The four seniors know exactly what goes into providing protection for an entire season and Noll is satisfied with their techniques.

“All four of those kids played every snap last year so we expect good things from them,” said Noll.

In mid-July, the Titans sent seven of their strongest to the Central Suburban League Lineman Challenge. The competition consisted of nine events, including the truck pull, truck push, tire throw, tire flip, seven-man sled drive, medicine ball toss, obstacle course, bench press and a weighted relay race.

Glenbrook South took first place and edged out three-time defending state champion Maine South, thanks to performances by Sweilem, Spalek, Demos, defensive lineman Steven Minkus, wide receiver Charlie Tisch, linebacker Nick Greco and defensive end Matt Powers.

Despite the victory, which included a win by Sweilem in the truck pull, Noll doesn’t invest too much stock in the championship.

“Those competitions are just indicative of the fact that we’ve got some talent with our returning starters,” Noll said. “It doesn’t have too much to do with real football.”

The defensive line has an even better setup with five returning starters challenging for four spots.

The Titans defense will return two-way lineman Demos, Powers, Minkus and seniors J.J. Bamaung and Gus Shipp.

“We expect all of those kids who are returning starters to be really solid,” said Noll.


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Pro Lacrosse Player Brooks Takes Over GBS Program

( Steven Brooks has accomplished more in lacrosse than most players dream of, but he isn’t done.

After leading Syracuse to a national championship in 2008 as a senior, when he was a First-Team All-American and recipient of the Lt. Donald C. MacLaughlin, Jr. Award as the nation’s top midfielder, Brooks played Major League Lacrosse.

However, following two seasons with the Chicago Machine, he was traded to the Chesapeake Bayhawks last month. Before he begins his first season as a Bayhawk, he will embark on his first season as head coach of the Glenbrook South boys lacrosse team – something he has targeted since graduating from college.

“From the get go, my main goal was to come back to the state of Illinois and try and become a head coach to build a program teaching kids my philosophy and hopefully give them the opportunity I had when I was in high school,” said Brooks,  who served as an assistant coach at Libertyville, his alma mater, last season. “Libertyville was a great experience for me, but I wanted to be able to run my own program, so when GBS knocked on my door about the opportunity, I couldn’t pass it up.”

While Brooks figures to have a long playing career ahead of him, he also is focused on making Glenbrook South a powerhouse. The Titans won the state title while Brooks was in high school and he’s hoping to return the squad back to prominence, but not before he can hopefully attract future Titans to the sport.

“I would like to build a feeder program that builds into the high school like the New Trier and Loyola do,” Brooks said. “I truly believe that great lacrosse programs are built with the youth. So right now I’m trying to get my foot in the door with the park district trying to figure something out where I could start a junior Titans league. Therefore I can help out the youth, guiding them into the right direction and eventually build a system where they can get back like when they won state in 2000.”

Conference foe New Trier has had a stranglehold on the state championship, winning the last six years, but Brooks isn’t intimidated. High level Division I college lacrosse rosters are dominated by student-athletes from the East coast, and as a rare Midwest transplant, Brooks made sure he proved himself.

“I’ve always liked being the underdog,” said Brooks, who finished with 101 career points at Syracuse and 86 ground balls. “I grew up being the underdog in lacrosse and had an opportunity to go to Syracuse and did whatever I could to make sure I excelled at the highest level. I’ll preach on these kids the same thing. I want to get them prepared. The New Trier and Loyola guys play lacrosse just like we play lacrosse. It just boils down to confidence and being able to believe in each other. It’s the simplicity of ground balls win championships.”

Much of Brooks’ blueprint for team success was inspired by a couple former coaches, one with New Trier ties, so it’s not a surprise he has drawn upon his Central Suburban League counterpart’s state championship string.

“(Libertyville)Coach Schoney is a good friend of mine who helped teach me in lacrosse,” Brooks said. “John Combs is one of my bosses and he used to coach at New Trier as well. They’ve helped me out making sure I go down the right path and do the right things. They’ve been a tremendous help for me and I just want to be able to follow in those footsteps of building a program like New Trier.”

Less than a month into his first regular season as a head coach, Brooks is finding out how different running a team can be, but he feels good about the start.

“You take a different role when you become a head coach,” Brooks said. “You deal with parents, the kids and all the hard work most people don’t see behind the scenes. (GBS Athletic Director) Steve Rockrohr is a great guy and has helped me out tremendously. The big thing for us is that he’s a big frontrunner for lacrosse becoming a state sport. All his support means a lot to us because he sticks his neck out for us when most people don’t care about lacrosse.

“Coming into a new program, it’s very tough because you’ve got to get to know the kids faces, who they are, what their personality is and what they can do on the field. My main thing right now is making sure these kids grow from boys to adults and helping them become good student-athletes.”

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Kwasniewski sprints to front of CSL South speedsters

Kyle Kwasniewski finally gets a chance to show the rest of the CSL South what he can do.

After years of running behind teammate and two-time 100-meter state champion Colin Hepburn (Stanford), the Glenbrook South senior advances to the front row this season.

Titans coach Kurt Hasenstein’s confident Kwasniewski can carry the torch.

“He was in Colin’s shadow, but Kyle’s a really fast kid,” the coach said. “I am curious to see how he does this weekend because (the league is) still loaded with speed.”

Glenbrook South on Friday heads to Evanston for the CSL South indoor meet, where the Titans hope to unseat the Wildkits as league kingpins.

“Kyle will get challenged this week,” Hasenstein predicted.

Niles West returns four runners who combined to capture two relay championships at the outdoor State Meet last spring. Back for the Wolves are Santiago Ochoa, Brandon Matlow, Levelle Jordan and Seve Loubriel.

Ochoa also finished sixth in the 100 meters.

Evanston will have some new legs in the lineup after graduating Tremaine Gordon, the Class 3A 200-meter state champion, but the Wildkits don’t seem to have trouble locating fast sprinters.

The Titans also will look to John Strickland to score points. The senior came close to eclipsing the Glenbrook South record in the long jump last week and also might compete in the triple jump and run sprints.

“It’s no coincidence that our top athletes are football players,” said the 10th-year coach, who called last season’s team the best he’s had at the school. “Coach Mike Noll and I both feel track is important for football players to do. It’s about working on speed and staying in shape.”

One athlete Hasenstein can’t wait to see throughout the season is Widly Soiresie. A back injury limited his appearance on the track a year ago, but he will join Kwasniewski in the sprints and Strickland in the jumps.

Other athletes to keep an eye on at Evanston include Maine South distance runner Dave Eckhart and New Trier distance runners Leland Later and Nick Rekenthaler.

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Titans aim high again despite heavy grad losses

(Glenview Announcements) Over the course of his first four seasons, Seong Ha can match his success against any program in the state.

The Glenbrook South head coach has guided the team to 85 wins, four regional titles, three sectional crowns, two conference championships and a fourth-place finish in the state last season.

That run, not coincidenlty, also concurred with Janelle Flaws’ four seasons with the Titans. Flaws, who scored 43 goals a year ago and now plays at the University of Illinois, was one of four senior captains who helped carry the Titans to new heights.

Ha is eager to see if he can attain the same success in a new era.

“I’ve been blessed with a lot of talent,” said the fifth-year coach, whose team last year ended up 24-6-4 overall and 3-2 in the CSL South. “The girls did a great job in creating some type of tradition here. It’s sad to see them go, but we are going to build a new identity. This is a great opportunity for other girls to step up. It’s all about continuing the lineage. They want to do something for the program now.”

Along with Flaws, captains Jessica Blair, Kelly Brait and Melissa Schakowsky all graduated last year and left behind an enviable legacy. But the Titans didn’t graduate all their talent. In fact, Ha believes this group can be as good as the one that earned the program its first state trophy.

“These girls really believe they can get back, or at least close to that goal,” he said. “Once you get a taste, you want another taste.”

Standouts on this season’s club include goalies Jessica Campobasso and Kelsey Byers, as well as defender and forward Nina Kodros. An all-conference player as a junior, Kodros will play at DePaul next season.

“The thing Nina provides us with is a ton of flexibility,” Ha said. “She’s all power, grit and determination.”

Once again, Ha will platoon his goalies and trust keeper coach Jordan Kellgren, who played college soccer at Florida. He’s even adding one more to the mix in Kelly McConnell, who missed last season with an ACL injury.

“It’s a good dilemma,” said Ha, a keeper back in his playing days. “The girls know the situation, and it’s not the most ideal. When the time comes, I will choose one. But they all have strengths and subtle weaknesses.”

Also back on defense are senior Rori McPhilliamy and junior Keeley Nolan, an all-league player last season.

“Rori will lead our defense,” Ha said. “She’s all about the team, and it’s going to be neat for her to grow into that role.”

A varsity player since a freshman, Nolan is the enforcer.

“She’s tough as nails,” the coach said. “She will look to get into the attack when she can. She defends so well and has speed. So much speed. Rori brings the calmness and the finesse.”

Glenbrook South kicks off the 2011 season against Barrington on Monday.


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Hamilton leads GBS to season-opening win

( The Glenbrook South boys gymnastics team won its season opener, topping Prospect 128.2-111.2 Thursday in Glenview.

The Titans’ Kevin Hamilton won the all-around competition (49.1) after winning floor exercise (9.3), pommel horse (8.6), still rings (7.7) vault (8.9) and high bar (7.6) and finishing in second on parallel bars (7.0).

Austin Zimmer finished second in the all-around (41.5) for GBS, winning bars (7.8), finishing second on floor (8.6), pommel horse (6.8) and high bar (5.0), fifth on rings (5.3) and sixth on vault (8.0).

The Titans’ Ryan Sachs took third in the all-around (32.4) with his best finishes being fifths on bars (5.2) and high bars (4.4).

Tom Burke took second on rings (7.2), fourth on floor (8.4) and tied with Sachs for seventh on vault (7.9).
Brandon Kutsch finished third on floor (8.5) and high bar (4.7), fifth on vault (8.2) and sixth on bars (4.7).
Richie Narziev took seventh on high bar (4.0) and eighth on rings (4.7), while Cameron Sunkel finished eighth on horse (3.1).

As a team, the Titans won five out of six events, including floor (26.4), horse (19.2), rings (20.2), bars (20) and high bar (17.3). Prospect earned its only win on vault (25.9).


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GBS Welcomes New Varsity Lacrosse Head Coach Steve Brooks

Through the diligent effort of Glenbrook South High School, Athletic Director, Steve Rockrohr, and the GBS Parent Lacrosse board we are happy to welcome Steven Brooks as our new Varsity Boys Head Coach. As you may know Coach Brooks grew up in Libertyville, Illinois and played his high school lacrosse at Libertyville High School followed by a post- graduate year of lacrosse at the Bridgton Academy prep school. He then went on to a prolific career at national powerhouse, Syracuse University, where he became an All America and a member of two National Championship teams.

He brings with him an outstanding fund of lacrosse knowledge and experience, but most of all a great level of enthusiasm that we know he will impart on all of our returning and new lacrosse players of Glenbrook South. After speaking with Coach Brooks, he is extremely excited about this opportunity as we enter a new chapter in GBS Boys Lacrosse and he wants to get a running start into the program. He promises full dedication to the program and believes in hard work and maximal conditioning. As Coach Brooks stated, “GBS will never lose a game because we’re tired.”

I would like to take this time to, again, thank Mr. Rockrohr for his effort in procuring such a qualified and enthusiastic individual. I also want to thank Mr. Ron Brandwein for his undying loyalty to GBS lacrosse and his assistance in our search for a new coach so that GBS will remain among the elite in this great sport. Please join us in welcoming Coach Brooks to our great GBS and Glenview Community. Coach Brooks will be joined by Justin Porter, Jon Novotny, and Matt Jones to round out the GBS Boys Lacrosse coaching staff.


Rich Berkowitz and The GBS Parent Lacrosse Board

For additional Lacrosse information, visit the Lacrosse page here:

Ryan has no small plans for final year


An injury cost him 12 games last season, and Jack Ryan plans to make up for the lost time in his final go-round.

The Glenbrook South senior still sounds bitter about the stress fracture that forced him to the bench in the second half of last season, but the four-year varsity player won’t dwell on it once this season gets going.

“I felt sort of robbed last year,” said the 6-foot-6 Ryan, who did return for the playoffs. “I am coming into this season with a chip on my shoulder. Last year was my first year to prove myself for a whole season, and I didn’t get that chance. I am really looking forward to doing that.”

Ryan, who’s unsure where he wants to play in college, added a three-point shot to his game in the offseason, enabling him to truly be a threat from anywhere on the floor.

“He struggled with that last year,” said Glenbrook South coach Scott Nemecek, whose team went 6-22 last season. “Now, he can extend out to 21 feet and hit that shot. He also became a better one-on-one defender, so I will give him some good assignments this season.”

Some of the colleges Ryan is considering are in the Ivy and Patriot Leagues. Nemecek said Ryan, whose older brother Jeff plays at Northwestern, could walk on at several major Division I-A schools, if that’s the route he wants to takes. Division III teams are another possibility.

“He’s not going to settle for the sake of it,” the coach said. “He’s very thoughtful that way.”

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Glenbrook South’s Smoliga thrives on state meet’s adrenaline rush

(Chicago Tribune, By Phil English)

Glenbrook South’s Olivia Smoliga could have been forgiven for being a scared freshman at last year’s state swim meet. Instead, she thrived.

“When you step into the pool, it’s so crowded, so many people are there yelling and screaming, cheering you on,” Smoliga said. “And then when you get on the blocks and the official asks for quiet, the place goes from so loud to so quiet one second before you start. It’s just insane, the coolest experience. It got me so pumped.”

She was pumped enough to finish second in the 100-yard backstroke and help the 200 medley relay and 400 freestyle relay teams to top-eight finishes as the Spartans placed sixth behind runaway champion Rosary. Glenbrook South, with nine swimmers, hopes for a top-five finish this weekend. Smoliga, who has the state’s best sectional times in the 100 back and 50 free, looks to thrive again on the state’s biggest stage.

“I take no credit for her. You can’t really coach what’s just innate in her,” Glenbrook South coach Kelly Timson said. “She rises to the opportunity and thrives on the competition. It brings out the best in her.”

Preliminary diving events kick off the state meet at 9 a.m. Friday, and swimming events begin at 3:30 p.m. at Evanston. Finals start at 1 p.m. Saturday.

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PALATINE 42, GBS 14 – Second half lifts Palatine over GBS


// Palatine’s last scoring play Saturday is called “midget.” The trick play was designed specially for 5-foot-6, 154-pound running back Terry Halloran.

“I’m the smallest guy on the team,” said Halloran, who did not seem to mind the lack of political correctness behind the play’s name.

But for Halloran, the trick play resembling a fumblerooski turned into an unlikely trip to the end zone. It also placed the final dagger into a Glenbrook South defense, which gave up 28 second-half points in a 42-14 loss Saturday in the second round of the Class 8A playoffs in Glenview. The matchup featured the state playoffs’ only game between four-loss teams.

On fourth-and-1 at the GBS 31, 14th-seeded Palatine packed all of its lineman at the line of scrimmage. Halloran took a handoff to his left and pulled out of the grasp of linebacker John Heles to rumble 31 yards for a touchdown on just his second carry of the game.

Glenbrook South (6-5), a No. 11 seed, scored twice in the second quarter to tie the game at 14 at halftime, but Palatine quarterback Cody Bobbit (28 carries, 199 yards) scored two of his three rushing touchdowns in the third quarter to lead the Pirates (7-4). Bobbit suffered a leg cramp on the first play of the fourth quarter and did not return.

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