Throughout the school year, the big three male sports often get the most attention. Many overlook the success of female athletes at Evanston Township High School.
Highlights of the Lady Wildkits’ season started with volleyball and the amazing journey that team took last fall. Packed with senior leaders, the team played consistently throughout the year and took their excellent performance all the way downstate.
The Kits went into the regional matchups of the Class 4A playoffs with a great 25-10 record. They played their opening games in Beardsley Gymnasium, first against Von Steuben: Evanston cruised to a 25-21, 25-14 win that took them to face Maine West in the Regional Championship. The Kits lost the first set, but pulled out all the stops on the next two to win Regionals.
In the Highland Park Sectionals, Evanston fought off Glenbrook South in three sets to face off against New Trier in the championship. Both teams fought hard in three sets, but Evanston held off the Trevians – winning the last set 25-23 to make it to the Super-Sectionals against Fremd. Evanston this time took care of business early, beating Fremd in straight sets to give the Kits their first trip downstate in team history.
Once downstate, Evanston faced St. Charles East in the semi-final. Evanston took control in the middle of the game, leading by 21-16, but the Saints came back and defeated the Lady Kits 26-24. The Saints clinched the game by winning the next set 25-20. Evanston had to fight in the third-place game against powerhouse Mother McAuley. Evanston never took control as the Macs took the Kits in straight sets 25-16, 25-19, but Evanston ended with a fourth-place finish, their best ever.
They were led all year by Head Coach Pam McPherson, seniors Chelsea Lawrence, Hannah Folz, Elly Knepper, Meghan Morel, and juniors Linnea Lukatch, Jackie Schultz, Ali Gossen and sophomore Delaney Clesen.
While the volleyball team finished a great season, the girls basketball team struggled throughout the season. Bright spots were two wins against a good Glenbrook South team and giving a good fight in two games against top-ten-ranked New Trier. Evanston finished low in the conference standings and lost in their opening regional match against Maine South, 64-57, finishing their season with a 13-17 record.
As the weather got warmer, it became time for head Coach Marx Succes’s girls soccer team to hit Lazier Field. Evanston started off the brand new season on a great note: They played undefeated in their first ten matches.
Throughout the season, the Kits picked up key wins against conference powerhouses, defeating Glenbrook South 2-1 and Maine South 2-1. Just before regionals started, Evanston fell at home to New Trier 2-0, but the Kits had already picked up the third seed in their own Sectional.
In the opening game in the Sectionals, the Lady Kits dominated Taft, winning 8-0. They went on to face Lane Tech in the Regional Championship. Evanston once again played a solid game in front of their home crowd, winning the crown 4-0. Evanston’s home rally ended, though, against Loyola in the opening sectional matchup. The Kits lost a close game to Loyola, 2-1, to end their season.
In her first season as varsity girls lacrosse head coach, Sarah McKenna found herself in a pretty good situation with some great senior leadership to carry the team. The three captains of the team, Sarah Angell, Caitlin Pike and Elizabeth Murray, stepped up and led the team to some big wins during the season.
In their first game against St. Ignatius, Evanston broke out their offense and crushed St. Ignatius, 22-3, in the girl’s first game in Lazier Field. They got off to a good start in April by beating Highland Park in similar fashion at home, 24-4. The Kits were, however, unpredictable through the season, dominating some games, overmatched in others.
After the big win over the Giants, Evanston fell hard to Hinsdale Central, 3-15, at home. After an 18-8 win over Deerfield, they lost, 5-12, to their arch-rival New Trier at home, and losing at Loyola, 3-15. In the late stretch of the season, Evanston won an impressive three out of four games, but then lost their last three games in a row, finishing their season with a disappointing 8-11 record.
Throughout the past six years, the girls track team has built a mini-dynasty: They have won multiple team state championships along with many other individual state crowns. This season was not their biggest success, but they still captured fourth in the state.
Captains Adrienne Slaughter and Amber Jackson led this impressive group towards another conference title and one more trip downstate. After dominating the regular season, indoors and out, Coach Fenton Gunter looked forward to going to Charleston again after triumphing in the Sectionals at Loyola. Once they arrived there, the girls put on a great showing. The season did not end with an overall state title but many runners received their due, especially senior leader Slaughter, a mainstay of the team since her freshman year. She, along with teammates Jackson, Khadija Quarles and Danyale Griffin, won a gold medal in the 1600-meter relay. She and teammates Griffin, Jackson and Alena Bolden combined to take third place in the 4×100 relay.
Other notable finishes for the girls team was Jackson’s second-place finish in the 400-meter dash, Slaughter’s third place in the 200-meter dash, and a fourth place for Amanda Caines in the triple jump.
These impressive finishes culminated in a fourth-place finish in the team standings for Evanston. The team will be losing many fast seniors, but many juniors and sophomores are returning next year, and Coach Gunter says the Wildkits will have another great year.