30 | July 5, 2019 | The highland park landmark sports hplandmark.com Volpentesta working hard at North Dakota State Nick Frazier, Sports Editor When he was a freshman at Highland Park High School, Giancarlo Volpentesta’s brother, Cristian, was in the midst of being recruited by Division I schools. Cristian would visit several schools on official visits, and sometimes Giancarlo got to tag along. Those early trips to different campuses helped Giancarlo figure out what he wanted to do after high school. “Seeing the atmosphere, the high intensity, the fast pace, and then seeing how the coaches are and all of the facilites and everything,” Volpentesta said. “Once seeing that at a younger age, I kind of realized that that’s what I wanted to do. My brother was a big influence on that.” That’s why Volpentesta, all six feet, 175 pounds of him, is currently at North Dakota State University as a preferred walk-on. The wide receiver arrived on campus on June 8 and has been working hard lifting and running. “I’m loving it so far, it’s been a great experience,” Volpentesta said. “I’ve only been here two and a half weeks but I can already tell that I’ll have a lot of fun.” Volpentesta comes from a football family. His dad, Anthony, played football at Highland Park and in junior college. Cristian was an All-Central Suburban League first team member as a junior and senior with the Giants. On top of that, Giancarlo has a little brother, Giovanni, and an uncle, Danny, that will be juniors with the Highland Park football team this fall. Needless to say, Giancarlo was always active growing up with his family. “Definitely as little kids, we had a football in our hands since we were little,” Volpentesta said. “That tradition got passed on.” As a wide receiver with the Giants in his senior year, Volpentesta totaled 32 catches for 448 yards and four touchdowns. He earned Central Suburban League All-Conference honors and made 22nd Century Media’s Football Team 22 Second Team. Before the season even ended, however, Volpentesta looked to make his commitment. Some schools weren’t great at communicating and being transparent with him, but North Dakota State was always the exception. NDSU sent recrutiers to Highland Park to meet with Volpentesta, which he enjoyed. “North Dakota State was that one school who was always straight up with me, they always told the truth and they were very good at communicating about where I am in the process,” Volpentesta said. “I already had some prior knowledge of North Dakota State because of my brother, he was getting recruited by North Dakota State in high school. That kind of gave me a little more background on them also.” Volpentesta ended up visiting NDSU’s campus four different times, a sure sign that him and the Bison were a match. “The campus is amazing,” Volpentesta said. “For football life everything is nice and close, the dining center is nice and close, it’s very convenient. The facilites are top of the line, amazing facilites. The coaching staff is very welcoming, they’re very cool people. Everyone’s very nice with you and everything, you go to a restaurant or something and everyone is super nice.” Add in the fact that North Dakota State has won seven NCAA FCS national championships this decade, and it became an easy choice. “Obviously, North Dakota State is a very winning program, you can see all the national championships they’ve won, that was a very big selling point,” Volpentesta said. “Just everything combined, it was a no-brainer decision.” Volpentesta originally was going to walk on as a safety — he had seven interceptions at Highland Park last season — but has since switched to a receiver. Not that Volpentesta minds; he’s just happy to be playing the game he loves in college. Without guidance from David Lindquist, Volpentesta’s high school coach who played at the University of Illinois, Urbana- Champaign, Volpentesta might not have made it to North Dakota. “He knew what the next level should be like and how to train me to get to that level,” Volpentesta said. “He was really good at getting me practice and putting us through the necessary amount of work to get to this level. I knew that college football was a goal of mine, and he Highland Park alumnus Giancarlo Volpentesta celebrates after scoring a touchdown in 2018. 22nd Century Media File Photo Volpentesta poses in his North Dakota State jersey during one of his visits. Photo submitted was going to push me to the limits and push me to where I need to be. “With recruiting he was pretty good at communicating with me, if a coach wanted to talk or a coach was coming in, he would always tell me what he said. He was a pretty good person that helped me get to the next level.”
hplandmark.com sports the highland park landmark | July 5, 2019 | 31 Youth Soccer Local U10 team wins tournament Nick Frazier, Sports Editor 22nd Century Media File Photo 1st-and-3 Stars of the Week 1. Jeremy Frankel & Alex Zlotnik (Above, left). The two Giants were given All-Central Suburban League sportsmanship honors in their respective sports. 2. Giancarlo Volpentesta. The star football player from Highland Park will walk on at North Dakota State University as a wide receiver. 3. Highland Park AYSO U10 team. Despite having only one practice together, the team won the AYSO Section Games in Libertyville in dramatic fashion, winning the championship in overtime. A Highland Park boys U10 team won the AYSO Section Games tournament in Libertyville on June 15. Despite never having played together before and having only one practice before the tournament, the Highland Park team went 3-0-1, winning two of its pool play games 3-0 and settling for a draw in its third. Highland Park then defeated Chicago Lakefront 5-3 in overtime. “The kids did great,” co-coach Eric Gordon said. “They’re nine and ten, for a team that had not played together before they played very unselfishly and all kind of accepted and knew their roles and positions on the field, that helps a lot.” The biggest challenge in the four-team, 7-on-7 tournament came in that final game, where Highland Park lost a 3-1 lead that resulted in overtime. The rain started to come down before the start of the extra period, but that didn’t hinder the team. “We told the kids ‘If you get a chance, shoot, because you never know what could happen,’” Gordon said. “Our first goal in overtime, we shot it from pretty far out, the goalie had some trouble handling it giving the slickness of The U10 AYSO team poses with their medals after winning the Section Games tournament in Libertyville on June 15. Photo Submitted the ball. You can’t score if you don’t shoot.” Highland Park scored twice in the overtime period to win the tournament. Six different kids scored goals in the Section Games, highlighting the team’s chemistry. “You don’t expect your defenders to score all that much, but six kids scored, which I think speaks to the balance across the team,” Gordon said. “We had great goalplay, it was fun.” Roster • Leo Albiani • Oliver Gordon • Mason Hirschfeld • Cooper Kenmuir • Reece Luczkowiak • Wil Nguyen • Jack Silber • Asher Weil • Dylan Weitz • Coaches Eric Gordon and Michael Weitz Listen Up “I’m loving it so far, it’s been a great experience.” Giancarlo Volpentesta — Highland Park football alumnus on his time at North Dakota State so far Tuning In What to Watch this Week •Golf: The weather is finally better, so put your clubs to good use while you have the chance. Visit your local golf course and hit the links. Index 27 - Athlete of the Month 27 - Athlete of the Week Fastbreak is compiled by Sports Editor Nick Frazier. Send any questions or comments to email@example.com.