Do you remember when … ?

42 weeks of memorable high school sports moments

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By BRAD SPENCER

It's only been a few weeks since the official end of the 2004-05 school year but we can't help reminiscing about some of the year's most memorable sports moments:

Sept. 2004

Fenwick/OPRF soccer

Even a shoe polishing contest between Fenwick and OPRF would be intensely competitive. So when the two schools kicked off the boys' soccer season with a showdown at Oak Park Stadium, the result was another nail-biting affair. OPRF had gone into the game as the underdog to the fourth-ranked (Class A) Friars. Fenwick's Steve Marifjeren, at the time a simultaneous soccer and football player, quickly proved why his team was favored. He scored with 30:38 still left in the first half.

But the Huskies reeled off two goals in the second half"by Robin Hargadon and Patrick Lynch"to force the Friars into a corner. The hard-fought game ended in dramatic fashion, as Fenwick vs. OPRF games almost always do, when Fenwick's Andre Seckler tied the game at 2-2 with just seconds remaining.

The coaches did what Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig did at the 2003 All-Star game; they declared it a tie. But in contrast to the All-Star game, no one had a problem with the decision.

OPRF football

Let there be light! Rejoice! The Oak Park and River Forest High School football program snapped a seven-game losing streak dating back to the previous year with a 39-25 victory over Morton. The Huskies were led by senior running back Travion Hardman, who rushed for 154 yards"114 in the first half"and two touchdowns on 17 carries.

Oct. 2004

Fenwick golf

Cog Hill had nothing on Fenwick's Anthony Rausch, who shot a 72 at the famous golf course in Lemont to lead his team to second place at the Chicago Catholic League tournament. Lisa Joyce led the girls' team to second place at the tournament in Prairie Bluff. Joyce shot a 78, good for fourth place overall.

OPRF football

For the sixth consecutive year, the OPRF football team failed to make the playoffs. York's 32-21 victory sealed the Huskies' fate. The team closed out the season with an overall record of 2-7.

Nov. 2004

OPRF field hockey

Five-time State champ OPRF fell 2-1 to six-time State champ Lake Forest in the IFHA State championship held at Oak Park Stadium.

OPRF baseball

OPRF baseball standout Rauiri O'Connor announced he would forgo his senior season and graduate early from high school in order to fulfill a lifelong dream to attend and play for Florida State University.

OPRF cross-country

Gusty winds didn't hamper Elaine Zelby, Megan Kiefer, Marianne Kirk, Alison Rack, Laura Bach, and Jenny Donley as the group helped OPRF to third place at the Niles West Sectional and advanced the team for the second straight year to the State tournament, where the Huskies had their best finish (16th place) in 15 years.

Fenwick football

The Fenwick football team closed out its season with a 21-0 loss to Brother Rice in the semifinals of the Prep Bowl playoffs. Under first-year head coach Joe DiCanio, the Friars finished 10-3 overall and won the Catholic League Metro title.

Dec. 2004

OPRF boys' basketball

OPRF star hoopster Evan Hilton suffered a broken ankle during the third game of what was expected to be one of the Huskies' best seasons. The senior guard had averaged 19.3 points the previous season and, along with Robert Strzemp and Jason Simmons, was to help lead OPRF possibly to the State tournament.

Trinity basketball

The Blazers downed two ranked opponents with the help of Alison Sansone's near perfect free throw shooting. Sansone nailed 11 of 12 free throws and notched 20 points to lead her team to a 63-43 victory over Resurrection. She hit two pressurized free throws in the closing seconds of a 46-45 win over Bolingbrook.

Jan. 2005

Fenwick girls' basketball

The young Friars proved why they were ranked No. 1 by winning the Dundee Crown Classic. Brittanny Johnson scored 17 points in a 56-31 thrashing of Resurrection in the title game.

Fenwick/OPRF swimming

Luke Baldwin, Richard Butler, Tom Parolin and John Barrett helped the Friars capture local bragging rights with a win over OPRF. The group placed first in the 200-yard medley relay in 1:45.59. The Huskies had some success of their own, scoring first place finishes in three events, including Scott Dunlavey's 200-yard individual medley win (2:10.81).

The Friars went on to win the Metro Catholic Aquatics Conference, the sectional (while OPRF finished second), and placed 13th at State.

Feb. 2005

Fenwick/OPRF wrestling

In a change of pace Fenwick, usually the favored team, upset the Huskies at the Oak Park Regional. The Friars won three weight divisions in a row, beginning with the 135-pound weight class. Nick Bertucci, Nick Marino and Eric Gough all had wins. The Huskies sent 11 of 14 wrestlers on to the sectional.

Bertucci went on to win the 135-pound weight division title at State.

OPRF girls' basketball

The Huskies' injury-plagued season ends with a 63-44 loss to Riverside-Brookfield in the regional title game. Senior Brittany Marshall closes out her high school career with 11 points in the game.

March 2005

Fenwick girls' basketball

For the fifth time in six years, the Friars advanced to the Elite Eight of the Class AA State Basketball finals, and they didn't have to dribble a ball to do it. The Friars won the Chicago Supersectional I title when Harlan was forced to forfeit by the IHSA for violating season limitation by-laws. The Friars edged Trinity 69-61 to win the Lyons Township Sectional, but didn't get past Peoria Richwoods in the State quarterfinals, falling 48-43. The future looks bright with Alison Jackson, Devereaux Peters and Samantha Woods back next year as juniors.

Fenwick hockey

The Friars' shot at three-peating as Blackhawk Cup champs was thwarted by a 5-0 shutout at the hands of New Trier at the United Center.

April 2005

OPRF baseball

The Huskies experienced tragedy when an umpire collapsed of a heart-attack during a game at Willowbrook and eventually died. Led by the trusty pitching of Tim Dennehy, who is later drafted by the Cleveland Indians, and Illinois State-bound Ian Berger, the Huskies put the event behind them and rattled off four straight victories.

Fenwick baseball

Jim Murphy won't soon forget what he did one week in April. Murphy rattled off seven consecutive hits, including three straight homers (one a grand slam) in three games. The senior went 10-for-15 and racked up 13 RBIs in two Fenwick wins and one loss.

May 2005

Fenwick boys'/girls' water polo

Both Fenwick teams earned their school two days off by winning the IHSA State Championship for the second straight year. Siblings Luke and Keely Baldwin made all the difference in the victories. Luke scored his third goal of the game with three minutes remaining and the Friars hung on for an 8-7 win over Naperville Central. Keely scored her fourth goal with just a minute remaining to give her team a 10-9 victory over Stevenson.

OPRF girls' track

Coming off their first West Suburban (Silver) Conference title in seven years, the Huskies finished first at the Downers Grove North Sectional. Kathryn Gevitz led the charge by sweeping the jumping events, while Liz Wilkie placed first in the vault and Johanne Verpil first in the shotput. Gevitz went on to finish runner-up at State in the triple-jump with a leap of 38-7 ½.

OPRF volleyball

Ranked No. 1 in the State and anchored with one of the best players in the nation in 6-foot-8-inch Sean O'Malley, the Huskies advanced to State with a walloping of Morton and St. Patrick in the sectionals. O'Malley surpassed the career kills record of 1,376. The UCLA-bound senior finished with 1,457 kills in his career after the Huskies finished third in the State tournament.

Trinity softball

The Blazers won their school's first softball regional title with a 12-0 shutout of Notre Dame. Pitcher Alison Hernandez tossed a one-hit shutout and finished with 13 strikeouts.

June 2005

OPRF girls' soccer

Late season injuries caught up to the Huskies when the squad took on WSC rival Lyons Township in the sectional title game. OPRF fell 3-1 for its third straight loss to the Lions in the playoffs.

OPRF/Fenwick baseball

Fenwick's Pat Brady and his cousin, Oak Park resident Connor Powers, as well as OPRF High School's Ian Berger and Matt McFolling were selected to the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association's 2005 All-State team.

OPRF softball

The Huskies erased the memory of a devastating 8-6 loss to Lockport at the previous year's State title game when they edged Moline 4-1 in 11 innings for the 2004-05 championship. Jessica Rigas, Kealon Waldron, Ann Schraufnagel and freshman Seana Stillson led the team to the school's first State softball title.

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