7 months ago


The Lake Forest Leader 041218

28 | April 12, 2018 |

28 | April 12, 2018 | The lake forest leader SPORTS Badminton Boys Water Polo Scouts save best game for last Scouts senior, and No. 1 singles player, Emily Gorczynski attempts to return the shuttlecock to her Oak Forest opponent during the Willowbrook Invitational on Saturday, April 7, at Willowbrook High School. Erin Redmond/22nd Century Media Lake Forest fifth at Willowbrook Invite No. 2 doubles second, No. 1 singles takes third Erin Redmond Freelance Reporter The Lake Forest No. 2 doubles team of Anisha Paruchuru and Paige Dillow have only been playing together for a few weeks. But they don’t play like it. The Scouts’ No. 2s had a near flawless day, finishing second at the Willowbrook Invitational Saturday, April 7, at Willowbrook High School. Their efforts helped Lake Forest to a fifth-place finish at the 10-team tournament. The duo dropped the championship match 3-21, 3-21 to defending state champs Stevenson, resulting in one of the few blemishes on their otherwise stellar day. “Those two are juniors. It’s their first year on varsity and they’ve been playing together for maybe a couple of weeks, so they’re still getting to learn each other’s playing style,” Scouts coach Nicole Frye said. “Every match they improve in terms of how they were talking to one another and communicating. I’m looking forward to seeing how they perform later because we play Stevenson again.” No. 1 singles player Emily Gorczynski also had a notable performance, taking third after winning her final match 21-8, 21-11. The senior said she noticed immediately her opponent was playing sluggishly and pounced on the opportunity to take the match early on. Like her teammates, Gorczynski’s sole loss was to Stevenson in the match semifinals. The Scout admitted to also feeling to being “really tired” at this point in the tournament, but will have another crack at Stevenson when the two teams face off in the NSC Championship April 27-28. Overall, the senior was pleased with her play at the invite. “I thought I played pretty well. I think I played the best in my second match because she was tougher and that’s when I split, but I think overall I think I played pretty well. I was satisfied,” she said. “I would say my smashes and my cross-courts [worked well]. That’s [the shots] I normally do because that’s the most similar to tennis.” The Scouts started the day strong sweeping through the first round of the invitational. And while they were hoping to end just as strong, Frye said she was happy with the result given her squad is still gaining experience in the sport. “I think the team overall played really well in terms of working for every point and putting forth a lot of effort. I think we have a young team — because we have a lot of sophomores and a lot of juniors — and I think today was a really great learning experience for them, getting to play some of these really great teams,” the Lake Forest coach said. “I think we were hoping to do a little bit better in the standings but I think the growth in their skills is more important than what the scoreboards says.” Lake Forest will turn their attention to a North Suburban Conference matchup against Warren Township High School on Thursday, April 12 at Warren Township High School. Todd Marver, Freelance Reporter The Scouts may not have won, but they put forth their best play in their last game of the tournament. Lake Forest lost all three games in the four-team round robin tournament Saturday, April 7, but got better with each game. “As this tournament went on today, we got better and better,” Lake Forest coach Cindy Dell said. “That third game was our best game against McHenry. McHenry’s a really well-disciplined, well-coached team. For us to lose 11-8, that was a good victory ... we passed the ball around a lot more and we played a lot more as a team.” Senior Harmon Raft scored the first goal of the game against McHenry to put the Scouts ahead 1-0 with 4 minutes, 39 seconds left in the first quarter. “A lot of times they were playing more inward to the hole set, so that way we can just sneak back and get an easy fast play,” Raft said. “That’s how I got two of my goals just by doing that.” Raft is one of nine seniors on a team that has just 11 players. “We kind of grew up on the team together, so just playing with each other for four years now just helps us get close and understand what everybody’s thinking,” Raft said. Sophomore Greg Damidot scored his first goal of the game with 3:08 left in the first quarter to tie the score at 2-2. Damidot and Raft led the Scouts in scoring in the game. Damidot recorded four goals and Raft had three goals. “Greg’s a really skilled player for being a sophomore,” Dell said. “He’s really focused on his water polo. He plays yearround with a club team. That helps him and our team tremendously. Harmon did a great job of being in the right place at the right time today in creating opportunities. They both create a lot of opportunities for our team. They’re unselfish players so that is the reason why I think they were successful.” McHenry scored three consecutive goals to pull ahead, 5-2. Senior Charlie Mickey responded with a goal to cut Lake Forest’s deficit to 5-3 with 4:16 left in the first half. McHenry scored two straight goals to take a 7-3 lead. But the Scouts responded with two goals of their own to slice McHenry’s lead to 7-5 with 4:39 left in the third quarter. Damidot and Raft each scored a goal. Damidot and Raft provided a one-two scoring punch for the Scouts in the game. “We would run our drive play and the person going back door would be open most of the time,” Damidot said. “So we would call out to the person at point which was most of the time Harmon. He would give me a nice lob pass and I would just shoot it right away.” McHenry responded with four consecutive goals to extend the lead to 11-5 going into the fourth quarter. The Scouts scored the final three goals of the game; Damidot scored twice and Raft scored once. “At the beginning we weren’t really expecting the counter,” Damidot said. “We underestimated their speed and then towards the end we understood that they were faster than us so we had to be watching the counter.” Lake Forest entered the day with a 7-3 record. After going 0-3 in the tournament, the Scouts’ record fell to 7-6. “Just this experience today, they grew as a team with this tournament today because we played three really good teams,” Dell said. “We played all three teams really close.” SPORTS the lake forest leader | April 12, 2018 | 29 Golf Lake Bluff Golf Club woes puts youth golfers in ‘difficult spot’ Neil Milbert Freelance Reporter The possibility of the financially-strapped Lake Bluff Golf Club closing in 2019 not only is a major concern for Coach Jim Matheson, whose Lake Forest High School boys use it as their home course, but also is troubling to Lake Forest Academy coach Jon Freeman, whose coed team makes its home at Deerpath Golf Club. “We don’t practice there, but we do see some players who come through Lake Bluff (junior programs) and use that course,” Freeman said. “Even with two or three degrees of separation the prospect of closing it is troubling to me. There are lots of high school golf programs and, as we’ve seen a number of courses close, it raises the prospect of fewer courses to accommodate the same number of players. “If the high school team that has been practicing there — and that’s a big team — has to go somewhere else it’s going to put an extra squeeze on other programs in the area. High school golf is not a product that has a lot of flexibility in terms of when and where the golfers are able to play. All programs are vying for space and time at courses at exactly the same time of day and the same time of year.” Lake Forest Academy’s coed team numbers 14 golfers the Lake Forest boys’ team usually has 30 golfers on its roster. Matheson, who has been the boys’ coach since 2003 and guided the Scouts to a statechampionship season in 2011, pointed out that Lake Bluff has been the team’s home course since 1968. His Scouts practice there and play their home matches on the course. “It has been a great place and they’re been great to us,” Matheson said. “It’s a second home for me. One of the big things for the club is it gets a lot of pass-holders (from the team), kids trying to play that course as much as possible (in the off-season). Of our 30 golfers probably 12 have a season pass at Lake Bluff. “I have so many kids who would be in a difficult spot if it wasn’t for that golf course. I’ve been talking to my athletic director, seeing what other places and options we might have to come up with.” The Lake Forest high school girls’ team moved to Deerpath from Lake Bluff four years ago. “We moved in my first year of coaching them,” said Coach Steve Johnson, who has an average of between 15 and 20 players on his roster. Johnson wasn’t positive of what brought the move to Deerpath before he took over the program, but surmises it was a space issue between the boys, youth and public players vying for space on the course. “Speaking just for the girls’ program I don’t know how much of an impact it would have (if Lake Bluff closes next year),” he said. “Deerpath runs a really big program. Starting in mid-September they have tons of kids there working with their professionals and having Assistant boys golf coach weighs in on fate of LB golf club Neil Milbert Freelance Reporter clinics and what not. A lot of our girls have memberships there. Others go to Lake Bluff, Highland Park and Deerfield. Obviously, it’s nice to have more courses to play.” Among the Lake Bluff Golf Club’s feeder programs is an after-school program for golfers ages 4-11 that began on April 11. The 70-minute sessions are held on either Tuesday or Thursday and will continue for four weeks. The 160-acre club comes under the Lake Bluff Park District umbrella. A Park District audit shows financial losses of more than $3 million for Based on his life experiences, Graham O’Connor- Brooks is convinced that closing the Lake Bluff Golf Club “would be an absolute shame.” O’Connor-Brooks’ felt strongly enough about the subject to share his opinions at the March 19 meeting of the Lake Bluff Park District during which members of the community addressed the possibility that the district will close the golf course next year. “I played golf at Lake Forest High School, I graduated in 2006 and now I work there as a teacher and assistant coach of the boys’ golf team,” he said. He prefaced his comments on the impact closing Lake Bluff Golf Club would have had on him as a boy and a young adult and the impact it has on the young men currently on the high school team. “Being a pass-holder there for a long time and playing on the high school team under Coach (Jim) Matheson meant the world to me,” he said. “It shaped me into the person I have become. It’s where I met some of my best friends, people I still stay in contact with. “Having the opportunity to come back and coach, I see what some of these kids get out of the everyday use of Lake Bluff Golf Club. It isn’t just in season; it’s the entire year. Once the snow is off the ground and the temperature is above 35 the golf course in 2016 and 2017, continuing a trend that has been in evidence for the last decade. Park District outlays for the golf course over the next 12 years are projected at $5.4 million-$2.7 million in operating losses and $2.7 million in capital needs. Clubhouse repairs totaling $1 million have to be made in 2019 to bring it in compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act, and the clubhouse will have to be closed while the repairs are made. Billy Casper Golf Management has been managing the course since 2016 under a contract that runs through this year. Under degrees the kids are out there playing and practicing with each other and learning how to be really good young people.” In O’Connor-Brooks’ opinion: “Keeping it open and making it available to any high school player is vitally important to their success as athletes and people going forward. Without the opportunity to have Lake Bluff Golf Club as an outlet for our student athletes to learn these lessons would be an absolute shame.” Prior to the comments from the audience, Park Board members were told that an audit showed that chronic golf course shortfalls were negatively affecting the district fund balance that includes all of its facilities and all of its programs, resulting in the contract the Park District maintains the course and facilities. Confronted with these multiple problems the Village and Park District may find that the only financially viable alternative is to close the club. However, Lake Bluff Park District President Rob Douglas has gone on record as saying “Our No. 1 objective is to keep that golf course open.” Matheson understands the inherent problems. In the coach’s opinion, improving the clubhouse and its amenities is the key to the course’s long-term survival. “What it comes down to is: golf courses survive a downgrading of its credit rating. As a consequence, the board is confronted with the question: should it continue to operate the club? Several members of the newly-formed Lake Bluff Community Golf Association, which is committed to keeping the club open, also spoke at the meeting. The association is seeking grants and private funding and wants to create a business plan, working with the Park District to determine what can be done immediately to help the club become solvent. Members implored the board to delay the decision on whether or not to close the club for at least 12 months and keep it open throughout 2019. on golf outings,” he said. “I became aware of that when I was a golf pro for a while – you see where the money comes from. The money comes from golf outings, alcohol sales and things like that. It doesn’t come from pass-holders. It’s bringing in the public to eat dinner and hang out. “If they can put in a new clubhouse they will attract outside people and have banquets and weddings and other outings. But that will take a lot of money. “I hope they can figure it out. I’d like to see it go to a referendum and let the community decide if this is something that is worth it for them to retain.”