The IHSA Class 1A girls’ sectional is playing on the Hilltop this week and Illinois Valley Community College couldn’t be happier.
It is the first time IVCC has landed an IHSA event. IVCC athletic director Tommy Canale said being able to “showcase our great facility is beyond words.” He said they will continue to explore bringing future IHSA events to IVCC.
“This is a great event to host, and we are happy we are given the opportunity to do so,” he said. “All of us are excited we were selected and hope to continue to do so in the future and maybe add one in the boys’ side one day soon. I am very proud of what IVCC has to offer everyone in our area, not just in athletics, but also in academics. We are a quality institution. I feel this exposure will help us in our recruiting efforts as others get a first-hand look at our facility.
“Not only are we a great higher educational institution, but the outlook on the hilltop is bright.”
Canale said women’s coach Pat Cinotte was instrumental in helping landing the girls’ sectional, which no doubt can’t hurt his recruiting for the Lady Eagles bringing in some of the area’s top small school talent.
The Hall way: Two former Hall High School teammates have their teams in the Sweet 16, one in 1A and the other in 2A.
Eric Yerly (Hall ‘98) leads his Byron Tigers into battle against St. Bede at Somonauk Thursday. An eighth-grade PE teacher, Yerly is in his second year as head coach and spent the three previous years as the head sophomore coach on staff for Byron’s Elite Eight team.
He played on Hall’s state championship football team as a sophomore and state runner-up team as a junior. He played two years of basketball.
A teammate of Yerly during his senior season of football was Annawan coach Jason Burkiewicz, who was a year behind him in school. In his third year as head coach, Burkiewicz has the Bravettes back in the Sweet 16 for the second straight year. He graduated from Hall in 1999 and was a member of the Red Devils state basketball team in ‘98.
• Looking up at Byron: Looking at the tall timber on the floor in Yerly’s Tiger lineup with 6-3 senior Sophie Reecher, and 6-1 sophomore Keelyn Swanson, one might think there’s something to do with the nuclear plant at Byron. Yerly said his players just have good genes.
• Beebe in the house: Don Beebe, who made his mark in the NFL with six Super Bowl appearances (won one with the Packers), attended Monday’s game in the Aurora Christian section. He is the Eagles’ football coach and also owns Don Beebe’s House of Speed, which recently opened a branch in LaSalle-Peru.