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The Mokena Messenger 021617

4 | February 16, 2017 |

4 | February 16, 2017 | The Mokena Messenger News Park District’s Valentine’s Day mother-son bowl grows in attendance Amanda Del Buono Freelance Reporter Like many mothers, Mokena resident Kathy Hummitsch is excited for any opportunity to spend time with her 11-year-old son, Cameron, before he gets into his teenage years. Taking pictures and joking with one another, the two were able to spend time bowling and bonding Saturday, Feb. 11, at the Mokena Community Park Distrct’s annual mother-son bowl. “It’s just nice for us to do [activities] together,” Kathy Hummitsch said. “He still wants to do this kind of stuff with me, and I take advantage of it while I can. … I joke that I give myself another year of it.” The event took place at the Thunder Bowl. This year’s event increased in size, as 36 bowlers were present, while in years past about 26 bowlers participated, according to Rebecca Phetteplace, recreation supervisor of special events at the park district. While the event has grown in size, it remains much anticipated by those who have come for several years, Phetteplace said. “At the Valentine’s Bowl, 1 ST JOB • MARRIAGE • DIVORCE • FAMILY WHO SAID BUSINESS ISN’T PERSONAL? TRUST to help you with your most personal business: YOUR HOME! Bob Spychalski, A Name You Can Trust 630-728-8490 • Graham Johnson receives his his mom, Andrea, with a hug after she cleaned up a spare during the Mokena Community Park District’s annual mother-son bowl Saturday, Feb. 11, at Thunder Bowl. Photos by Laurie Fanelli/22nd Century Media BOB SPYCHALSKI RETIREMENT • ESTATE • JOB TRANSFER it’s the same families that are coming back,” she said. “For a lot of them, it’s become a tradition. This year, a lot of husbands signed their wives up as a surprise, too.” Linda Jacobson, of Mokena, was one of those who was surprised by her husband and son, Gavin D’Asto, 7. “My husband surprised me with it. He booked it, and [Gavin] made me a card this morning that said we were going bowling today,” Jacobson said. “… I think it’s really sweet that [the park district does] this. It’s a really sweet thing to do.” Along with lunch, dessert and two hours of bowling, attendees received gift bags. Mothers received gift cards for a free 30-minute massage and a free 20-minute acupuncture session, which were donated by Orland Park’s Brannigan Chiropractic Center, while the sons received a gift bag with children’s activities, Phetteplace said. The event attracted mothers and sons from outside of Mokena, as well. Frankfort residents and friends Mandy Grant and Andrea Johnson brought their sons to enjoy time together as a group. “It’s hard to find time to spend together doing something fun,” Grant said. “He’s too embarrassed to dance, so this is right up his alley.” Johnson added that she appreciated the opportunity that the park district provides for mothers and their sons. “It’s such an affordable option for families. It’s really very thoughtful,” she said. “It’s great, as a mom, that we don’t have to put this all together.” “In the future, I’d like to do more mother-son events,” Phetteplace said. “… I’d like to open it up to more people and making the event a little bit bigger.” The park district will host Erin and Gavin Smith, of Mokena, pose for a photo in the park district’s hashtagged cutout during the event. Cameron and Kathy Hummitsch, of Mokena, hug between frames. two events taking place on March 30. From 2-7 p.m. at The Oaks Recreation & Fitness Center, children ages 2 to 15 years old are invited to Spring Break Jump Fest. Additionally, those ages 10 to 18 years old are invited to the Flashlight Egg Hunt at Main Park Picnic Grove from 8:30-9:30 p.m. Registration is required for the egg hunt and must be completed by March 22. News the Mokena Messenger | February 16, 2017 | 5 Senior dazzles with rifle, saber in final home competition Senese, Knights JROTC team take first in SWSC invite Frank Gogola Freelance Reporter Lincoln-Way Central’s Vincent Senese performs his solo with both a rifle and a saber Feb. 6 during the SouthWest Suburban Conference invite at Central. Photos by Adam Jomant/22nd Century Media Lincoln-Way Central senior Vincent Senese wasn’t going to let his final home Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps invite go by without putting on display the skill he had been working on since his junior year. Senese wowed the crowd, fellow competitors and judges when he closed out his armed solo routine by performing with a rifle and a saber simultaneously for the first time ever in competition. “This being my home meet, I had to give it my absolute all because you’re representing your school at your own school,” said Senese, the lone solo or duet competitor to use a saber. “You have to bring your best. That’s what I intended on doing.” His performance was one of two event victories for Central, which earned its initial first-place finish of the season at the four-team SouthWest Suburban Conference invite on Feb. 6 in New Lenox. Central led all teams with 6,342 points, Lincoln- Way East was right behind at 6,322, and Lockport placed third with 5,893 points. This was the final tune-up before the SWSC championship meet in a season that has been a learning process for both the instructors and the teams. There were originally eight SWSC teams, but that number went from six last year to four this season. The teams now have only two regular-season conference invites instead of four. The championship meet used to take into consideration points earned during the conference season, but this year’s champion will be decided by who is the best at the one-day event. The SWSC championship meet will be on Feb. 25 at Bolingbrook. “It’s a totally different ballgame,” said Maj. Steve Brown, Lockport’s JROTC instructor. “You used to come to each school, accumulate points to make a difference. Now, it’s getting your teams experience and comfortable with routines to be razor sharp for that one day.” “We treat these meets as competitive practices for the conference championship,” said retired Col. George Ramey, Central’s JROTC instructor. “Through all of these events, the JROTC drills to develop unity, teamwork and discipline.” The varsity teams compete in nine events: unarmed infantry drill regulation, armed IDR, unarmed exhibition, armed exhibition, color guard, inspection, unarmed duet, armed solo and armed duet. In armed events, competitors use approved performance weapons, mainly rifles. In IDR events, competitors all perform the same specific routine, while teams in exhibitions get to create their own routines. The SWSC decided not to do armed inspection and unarmed color guard this year. It did add unarmed duet after Joliet Central and Joliet West left the conference, since the four remaining teams are all Air Force JROTC programs. “We’re doing that because since we’re all Air Force and want to get to [AFJROTC] Nationals, we don’t want to have a separate set of SWSC rules and sequences,” Ramey said. Having all AFJROTC teams streamlines the scoring, as each service branch drills, marches and executes commands differently. “It’s all about teamwork, precision and concentration,” said Sgt. Dale Steen, East’s JROTC instructor. Senese highlighted Central’s first-place finish by winning the armed solo event. His 727 points were 21 more than runner-up Kenny Smith (706) from East. Senese closed his routine by switching a rifle and saber between hands while simultaneously spinning the mixed weapons around his body near chest level. “The real trick is the weight difference,” Senese said. “One of the main benefits I have is I’m ambidextrous, so I have separate control over each arm. Being able to use that to determine which hand The Lincoln Way Central color guard performs its routine. The Knights went on to take first place in the event. has the lighter object and also the different balance points. The saber balance point is closer to the handle. The rifle is in the exact middle. You have to determine how you’re going to throw it before you even get it into your hand.” “Whenever I think I’ve finally seen it all with him, he steps it up another level,” Ramey said. Central’s team, which is made up of students from both Lincoln-Way Central and Lincoln-Way West, also won the color guard event, then placed second in armed infantry drill regulation, unarmed exhibition, unarmed IDR and inspection. They took third place in armed exhibition. Chris Kuczero and Matt Butler were third in armed duet with 599 points, finishing 82 points behind second-place Lockport (681) and 27 points ahead of fourth-place Bolingbrook (572). The unarmed duet of senior Maddy Willson and Jade Espinoza was fourth in the event with 547 points, just 36 points behind third-place East (583). East senior cadet colonels Tim Lutz and Kenny Smith highlighted the Griffins’ three first-place finishes, the most by any team at the invite. Lutz and Smith overcame a pair of rifle drops to win the armed duet by five points over Lockport seniors Noah Frandsen and Antonio Lange. They went directly after Senese put his rifle and saber performance on display. “Watching that, and trying to go up against that, it’s difficult to keep nerves down because everybody’s expecting you to be that good,” Smith said. “It definitely wasn’t our best performance,” Lutz added. The duo agreed it was the most difficult routine of the four they’ve performed this season. Even with the drops, Please see JROTC, 9