News brief: Sports and Athletics

Boy’s Soccer Preview: Alex Dolcos

Coach: Phil Anders

Last year: 18-3 overall; 4th place IHSA 1a state

Top returners: Omeed Miraftab-Salo, Sr ; Rahi Miraftab-Salo, Sr ; Noah Blue, Sr ; Paul D’Angelo, Sr ; Jan Ondrejek, Sr ; Dale Robbenolt, Sr ; Jake Robbenolt, Sr ; Alex Higgs, Jr ; Albert Lee, Jr ;

Key newcomers: Lucas Wood, Fr; Nabeel Bashir, Fr; Eric Roth, Fr; Brandon Van Der Donk, So.

Noteworthy:  The Miraftab-Salo twins and Co. have geared up for another memorable season with the Illineks. The twins, along with fellow senior captain Noah Blue, will once again be the driving force for the Illineks, who finished 4th in the 2016 1a IHSA state tournament. So far, the team has been off to a hot start, winning their first 2 games, and having success at the Urbana Boys Soccer Shootout tournament.

“During the practices leading up to the season, we got a lot more serious and regimented,” said Isandro Malik, who has been part of the varsity team for 4 years. This could allow for a competitive edge over teams early in the season. Despite this strong start, the biggest question this season for the Illineks is where the defense comes from and how to replace many key defenders who graduated last year. The team’s offense, plus the exceptional defensive anchor from Blue, an All-Conference goalkeeper, should adequately fill this void. The boys seem to have a bright future for the season, and will try to advance as far as possible in the state series. “Because we have a great deal of talent and athleticism, I think that our main goal is to have a successful season and qualify (if not win) for the state championship tournament,” said Malik.



Archery Club: Ahmad Bobat

Last year, Uni High implemented archery into its P.E. curriculum along with an Archery Club. Recently, the club leaders discussed the possibility of implementing an archery team at Uni. “It’s a little bit complicated right now because when we spoke to the U of I, they said we can have an archery team, it just can’t be Uni High affiliated,” said Irina Cheng, one of the leaders of Archery Club. Cheng made it clear there will, in fact, be a team that will compete in all the events throughout the season, but they just won’t have the Uni name. Cheng also mentioned that the team was open to anyone that attends Archery Club, regardless of experience. To learn more about this opportunity, you should attend Archery Club on Wednesdays at lunch in room 208.


Volleyball Preview: Paul D’Angelo

Both the Varsity and JV lost their opening matches to Cornerstone Christian Academy Thursday, but members of both squads remain hopeful for a good season. Captain Kathryn Dullerud says team goals include, “working together and developing cohesiveness.” She says their practices have been very focused, and it’s nice to have the same coach for once in her career here. For her first two years, the varsity coach changed, and now for her last two, they’ve been the same. This, she says, allows for the coach to fully implement her system over a full season. Kathryn says their team is shallow for now, but sees signs of improvement all over. Although they barely lost their first match of the year to Cornerstone Christian, 26-28 22-25, Kathryn believes in a strong year, and remains confident.

In terms of Junior Varsity, Freshman Mayahuel Malik is excited for the season. She has never played before on a school Volleyball team, but has always wanted to. She commented on how much chemistry the varsity has, while saying the JV has to hit that level of team play. She thinks the JV team has lots of talent, and should soon be making lots of improvement. But for her, “win or lose, it’s going to be fun either way.” The Junior Varsity lost their first match 25-15 25-18 to Cornerstone.


Summitt headed to Australia: Michelle Kim

Arielle Summitt has done it again, finishing fourth in the 2017 Sprint National Championship. Despite feeling exhausted and experiencing knots in her calves after the race, Arielle admits that “knowing [she] qualified while finishing the event was a really cool feeling, and trying on team USA suits, during the award ceremony, made [her advancement into the world championships] feel real.” She competed on August 13th in the Female 15-19 age group in Omaha, Nebraska, and by ranking highly, qualified for the 2018 Sprint Triathlon World Championships where she will represent America in Australia next year. In the meantime, the excitement will continue through Arielle and the new cross country season.


Swimming Preview: Raymond Jones

Here at Uni High, girls may choose from three fall sports to participate in, cross country, volleyball, and swimming. A large portion of girls chose to do swimming this year. The team is heavy in freshmen and sophomores, however, has a decent number of juniors and seniors.. When asked if the team knew each other well, freshmen Alice Gao replied, “Not really. The returning swimmers seem to know each other, but the newcomers don’t.” However, she later says that all the returning swimmers seem nice and believes the team will be closely connected when they get to know each other.

Practices for the team have been in progress for about two weeks now. Although a normal practice consists of a workout, occasionally, they may do something fun, as they did on Friday, August 18th with team building exercises. Their first meet happened on Thursday, August 31, at Olympia High School. Meets will continue at about 1-2 per week until the IHSA state finals meet on November 18th. (Schedules can be found at Uni High’s athletics website: Go Uni!


Subbie Cross Country Preview: Reed Phillips

Subfreshmen boys’ and girls’ cross-country practices have begun. Under the leadership of coach Doug Mynatt, the team practices from 4:15 to 6:15 PM by running from Kenney Gym around campus. Subfreshman Rowen Trilling-Hansen adds the practices are “going well.” Another subfreshman, Nadir Muzaffar, thinks that the team will “improve more and more.”

The team’s first meet was August 26.


Uniforms/Cross Country Preview: Shreya Gargya

This year the cross country team got new Nike uniforms. This year’s uniforms, like last year’s, have orange tops and bottoms. But the new tops also have a slight checkered pattern with dark and light orange squares. Additionally, the girls uniforms now include spandex instead of regular running shorts. Runners on the team seem to like the new uniforms, for the most part. Arielle Summitt commented that they “feel more comfortable. But, we’ll still look like traffic cones.”

The cross country team also added a new coach, Kevin Ma, who is a student at the U of I. He has been coaching track and field at Uni for the last three years, but this is his first year with the cross country team. Many of the runners are excited to have him as a coach, especially those who know him from the track team. The team’s first meet is next Tuesday, August 29th and their first home meet is on September 12th.