7 months ago


The Tinley Junction 041218

46 | April 12, 2018 |

46 | April 12, 2018 | The tinley junction Sports Schultz sisters play like Titans for Mighty Macs JEFF VORVA, Sports Editor Eric Schultz Sr. loves Tinley Park High School. In 1986, he played football on the Illinois High School Association Class 4A state championship team and a few months later won a state wrestling title at 167 pounds. His wife, Barb, was a cheerleader at the school. His oldest daughter, Hannah, attended TPHS and was a star on the District 228 coop girls water polo team and is a senior at Iona College and is two goals away from breaking the school record of 367, and the team has four more regular-season games to go this weekend. His son, Eric Jr., also played football and wrestled at Tinley Park, He won a state title at 195 pounds in 2016 (finishing the season 44-0) and he is a redshirt freshman at Nebraska and went 2-2 in the NCAA Nationals in March. He has a daughter, Riley, who is a sophomore on the Titans’ softball team. This is a Tinley Park High School family through and through, and some may argue the first family of TPHS athletics. So, how in the world does Mother McAuley High School in Chicago have two of his daughters - Jill and Maddie - on its water polo roster? Jill, a senior, and Maddie, a freshman, are new members of a team that finished fourth in the state two years in a row and have a realistic goal of winning a state championship. Jill spent two years on the District 228 co-op team but said she wasn’t sure what was happening with the team her junior year. “We’re a die-hard public school family,” Jill said. “Everyone in my family went to public school. My dad is all about staying in your district and going to your high school and making the best of it. “But it was super-iffy if we would have a team. There was no coach a month before school started. So we started looking for other options. I decided to transfer because I wanted to play at the highest level that I can in high school. Being to play on a super-strong team with Maddie and having a chance to go after a state title is definitely worth it.” Shirt-ing the issue As for Dad? Well, Eric, Sr. admits he didn’t like the idea at first. But he said when Todd Strein retired as coach of the co-op team and there was a delay in naming a new coach, he accepted it. “It was extremely hard to make this decision because I’m so proud of Tinley Park High School,” Eric, Sr. said. “Todd did an incredible job. But when they weren’t naming a coach, it’s like ‘OK...’ We were concerned they could lose the program in a couple of years. It was probably time in a sport like that for the girls to move on. It kills me to say it, but I’m super proud of them playing there. It’s a great program and I hope they can win a state championship.” There were plenty of yucks earlier this season when Eric donned a McAuley shirt. Photos were taken on phones and spread around to the family. He said he wore it only once but plans on wearing it to future matches. A long year Jill had to sit out the 2017 Senior Jill Schultz scores one of her five goals against Sandburg in a Mother McAuley win earlier in the season. PHOTOS BY JEFF VORVA/22ND CENTURY MEDIA season per IHSA transfer rules. And while she and her sister are full of smiles this season and pouring in goals for the Mighty Macs, who are ranked second in the state behind Stevenson in the recent rankings, life was not fun for Jill when she had to sit out. She sat on the bench or in the stands taking statistics as her future teammates put up big numbers. “It was the hardest year of my life,” Jill said. “I was the new kid. I had no friends. I think I cried coming home from school at least twice a week. When I went to the games, it was so hard. I would come home in such a bad mood. During the games, I would be like ‘man, if I was in...’ But I did a lot of self-improving, I think.” With Maddie joining the team as her “buddy,” Jill is a lot happier this year. But Maddie is not at Freshman Maddie Schultz of Mother McAuley has already participated in national competitions in the Olympic Development Program. McAuley just to be a buddy. She is a red-hot prospect who was one of five players on the McAuley roster who participated in the Olympic Development Program and played in a tournament in San Francisco on March 9-11. Maddie will also participate in a National Team Selection Camp in late May and could be representing the United States in international competition in the near future. Recently, Maddie had six goals and Jill added five in a 17-2 victory over Sandburg in Orland Park. A ‘wimp sport’ The water polo players are wildly successful but they aren’t spared from family needling. The two Erics have gotten a few zingers in, but the girls say they have the last laugh. “Compared to wrestling, they think this is a wimp sport,” Maddie said. “They say nothing is better than wrestling. It’s not a one-onone challenge. But when we get in and play a family water polo game, they are always the first ones who are winded.” “They are always huffing and saying ‘I have to take a break,’” added Jill. “They are almost drowning.” There is one more Schultz on the distant horizon. Ava is a fourth-grader who has also spent time in the pool. “She’s leaning toward water polo and following in her sisters’ footsteps,” Eric, Sr. said. “We’ll see where she goes athletically. She needs to find herself.” Sports the tinley junction | April 12, 2018 | 47 fastbreak THURSDAY MORNING QUARTERBACK Plenty of great sporting events are close by JEFF VORVA/22nd century media 1st and 3 SOME NOTES ON ANDREW’S BOYS WATER POLO TEAM (ABOVE) 1. Getting better The Thunderbolts opened the season with a 10-4 record. Jeff Hofer was named coach in 2016 and the team went 15-15 and followed it up with a 19-11 mark last year. 2. Magic number: 15 Hofer said the T-Bolts have 15 players who played club water polo during the offseason. He also said the team played 15 offseason games in the summer. 3. The goal The Thunderbolts are shooting for the first sectional title in team history. Jeff Vorva So, this is a hyper-local paper and 99 percent of the time, we will be writing about Tinley Park (in the Junction) and Orland Park (in the Prairie) athletes and events in this section. But as long as people in our communities have cars and we have a few special arenas within driving distance, I will use this space on occasion to write about some happenings at Chicagoland Speedway, Route 66 Raceway and Route 66 Stadium in Joliet, Standard Bank Park in Crestwood and Toyota Park in Bridgeview. Will we devote 10 pages to the big NASCAR race on July 1 at the speedway? Heck no. We may not even devote 10 words to it. But if there is something cool going on at the track, we will try to let you know about it, especially if there is a local angle. We want to tell the stories of some local racers and drag racers Officials at Standard Bank Stadium, which hosted an Andrew/Sandburg baseball game in March, plan on having events every day at the park, whether it’s high school, college or travel league games. JEFF VORVA/22ND CENTURY MEDIA who will participate in the smaller race circuits. Oh, and the president of both tracks, Scott Paddock, is an Orland Park resident. Insiders say that Standard Bank Stadium will host events every day this spring and summer - weather permitting of course - including high school and college baseball games, travel league tournaments and its main attraction, the Windy City Thunderbolts. Orland Park native and Frontier League All-Star Kyle Wood is expected to return for his third season with the Bolts. Keep an eye out for him. Keep your ears open for the Bolts’ announcer. He is Jon Zaghloul and he goes to Andrew High School. He doesn’t have his diploma yet but he is good enough to beat out experienced adults for the gig. The team had a handful of players head to affiliated organizations in 2017, so the quality of baseball is usually decent although there are moments... Plus, on Thursdays when the Thunderbolts play, they host wrestling shows after the game with a special guest. One of the special guests this year is the Iron Sheik. Decades ago, I interviewed Mr. Sheik and learned that the guy who made his money getting booed while singing the Iranian National Anthem and spitting on the American flag actually helped coach United States Olympic wresting hopefuls. That ranks up there as one of my favorite columns. Although Standard Bank is probably too busy to do this now, it was cool that in March it was able to host several high school games. When Andrew and Sandburg needed a park on March 28 for its rivalry game, the two District 230 teams were able to use the turf field in Crestwood. Back in Joliet, Silver Cross Field is now known as Route 66 Stadium and before I get to chatty about what is happening there, we have to see when the field will actually be ready for play. Field Turf was supposed to replace the grass field and as of early April, the weather was not cooperating and the field was not draining properly. No turf was laid down. The May 15 Slammers home opener could be in jeopardy. Let’s hope that these setbacks don’t interfere with the Illinois High School Association Class 3A and 4A baseball state championships. Toyota Park is the home of the Chicago Fire. Yes, the Cubs, White Sox, Bears, Bulls, Blackhawks and now Sister Jean’s Loyola Ramblers have a higher profile in the Chicago area than the Fire but Bastian Schweinsteiger is an international star and Nemanja Nikolic is an amazing goal scorer. So, we will keep an eye on some of these places in the coming months. It should be a fun spring and summer ahead. Listen Up “I’m around these guys all the time. I know some of them better than I know my family - these guys are family.” Ian Russel - Andrew water polo player on how close his team is WHAT 2 WATCH Baseball - 4:30 p.m. April 18 • Tinley Park visits Sandburg on an afternoon that the Eagles will honor former coach Doug Sutor in a retirement ceremony. Index 45 - High School Highlights 43 - Athlete of the Week Compiled by Sports Editor Jeff Vorva,