Ruffino resigns as Fenwick wrestling coach

After two years as the head coach of the Fenwick wrestling team, Chris Ruffino has stepped down from the position. He informed athletic director Scott Thies of his decision on Feb. 28.

“Chris informed me that he just didn’t have the time to commit to the program,” Thies said. “I give him a lot of credit because I know it was a tough decision for him. Chris loves Fenwick and the wrestling program. He did a very good job of heading the wrestling program in the right direction.”

The Fenwick wrestlers were informed of the decision by Ruffino personally in a team meeting held last week. Ruffino succeeded his father, Jerry, who built the program over 20 years (17 as the head coach) to a high level of success.

Fenwick will make the availability of the head coaching position public this week.

“We have internal interest from some lower coaches and assistant coaches,” said Thies, “but we’ll open up the process and collect resumes, cover letters and references and evaluate candidates. Our goal is to find the best person possible to lead our wrestling program and someone who understands the mission and values of Fenwick. We’re also looking for a person who will run a program and not just coach a team. The new coach will need to communicate well, have some coaching experience and know how a wrestling program is run during the preseason, regular season and playoffs.

Fenwick joins newly formed Chicago Catholic Rugby Conference

Fenwick, along with high school rugby clubs from Brother Rice, St. Ignatius, St. Rita and Mount Carmel, have partnered to create the Chicago Catholic High School Rugby Conference. The CCRC is the first permanent conference established for high school rugby in Illinois. The conference will compete in the spring of 2014 as part of the Illinois Youth Rugby Association’s Division I, the most competitive division in high school rugby in Illinois. For further details on the Chicago Catholic Rugby Conference, please contact Bill Mahon, CCRC Commissioner, at or 708-209-9140, or visit our Facebook page (

Blankemeier makes mark with Academy Bullets Swim Club

OPRF freshman Hanna Blankemeier recently swam the anchor leg for the Academy Bullets Swim Club team, which clocked a time of 1:36.96 in the girls (ages 13-14) 200-yard freestyle relay. Maddie Haschemeyer, Emily Ryan and Kristen Czarnecki comprise the rest of the team. Blankemeier’s team is the second fastest in her age group in the country, trailing only the Palo Alto Stanford Aquatics squad (1:36.40) by 0.54 seconds.

Blankemeier, a burgeoning star on the OPRF H.S. swim team, is on the same club swim team as Fenwick swimmers Mimi Schneider, Paulina Kaminski and Maggie Sheehan. Schneider and Kaminski, who will swim at Texas and Yale next season, powered the Friars to a third-place state finish at the IHSA finals in the fall. Schneider also won a pair of individual state titles at state and Kaminski notched an individual event state championship.

Blankemeier assumed a key role in leading the OPRF girls swim team to a runner-up finish at the Fenwick Sectional behind the host Friars during the fall. She qualified for state in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 53.41, in the 200 free (1:53.94) and also as a member of the Huskies’ 200 and 400 free relay teams which both qualified for the state meet at New Trier. During the regular season, the Huskies’ 400 free relay team (with Hanna swimming the opening leg) broke the 24-year-old school record for best time in that event.

Blankemeier’s twin sister, Mary, notched a fifth-place finish at the IHSA Class 3A state cross-country meet in Peoria, also during the fall of 2013. She clocked a time of 17:07, setting the pace for the Huskies’ 13th place showing overall in the state race.

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