Chesterton Tribune

2003 Sports Year in Review

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There was a number of memorable events for Chesterton athletes in 2003. From Leslie West capturing the state title on beam with a career-high score of 9.575 to put the Chesterton girls gymnastics team past Valparaiso for the state runner-up spot to Max Goldak and Adam Martin sweeping the top two spots to help the boys cross country team seal the New Prairie Regional team title.

Nick Oates also turned heads with a second place finish in the 500 free at state, while Chestertonís girls cross country team placed second at state behind the determined running of Cassie Peller, Sarah Kehe, Mary Ballinger and Kelly Peller. All these were extraordinary feats, but the biggest achievement of 2003 was the fantastic finish by the Lady Trojan foursome in the 3,200 relay at the state finals meet at the Michael A. Carroll Track and Soccer Stadium in Indianapolis. Mandi Loving, Ali Bishel, Kelly Peller, and Cassie Peller shattered the state meet record with a blazing 9:11.30 to seal the first ever relay state title in Chesterton history.

That record setting finish led the Lady Trojans track team, who captured the schools first Regional team title a week before the state meet, to a seventh place team finish at state, which was the highest finish by any Northwest Indiana team.

The year of 2003 was also one where Chesterton High School bid farewell to a number of head coaches with the most notable being the retirement of Mike and Maria Bachuchin after 25 years of leading the Lady Trojan gymnastics program. Under the Bachuchinís, the Trogems won three state titles with Maria taking home the coach of the year award in 1985, 1993, 2000, and 2002. Mike joined as Co-recipient of the award in 2002.

Also leaving were girls cross country coach Mike Rouse, girls soccer coach Kip Walton, boys soccer coach Ismail Attalah, and wrestling coach Rich Gross. Rouseís time was short but very sweet. He coached just two seasons, but both years the Lady Trojans finished in the top three at state. Walton left after leading the Lady Trojans to the final four each of the last three seasons. He accumulated an overall record of 117-40-8 over nine seasons. During his 12-year tenure, Attallah racked up an impressive overall record of 115-63-9. He led the Trojans to one sectional championship (1996), and two Duneland Athletic Conference titles (1996, 2000). Gross left after seven seasons.

Kim Kociara, a 1995 Chesterton graduate and assistant under Walton the past five seasons, took over this season and led the Lady Trojans soccer team to the sectional final where they suffered an emotional 2-1 loss to Portage. Chris Joll, a 1982 Chesterton graduate, has taken over the wrestling team where the Trojans currently have a team record of 6-3, including 2-1 in the highly competitive Duneland Athletic Conference. Kathy Wilburn, an assistant under the Bachuchinís since 1991, will lead the Lady Trojans gymnastics team in her first meet on January 10. No replacements have been named for Rouse or Attallah.

Itís tough to put into words the entire year of 2003, but the following is my best efforts.

Biggest Comeback: Trailing by 15 points to start the fourth quarter Chestertonís boys basketball team undefeated road record and nine game-win streak looked to be in major jeopardy against Merrillville. In a desperate move to get back in the game, first year-coach Tom Peller turned the tables on the quicker, more athletic Pirates and went to full-court pressure. The defensive change worked and Chesterton forced Merrillville into 10 late turnovers, along with outscoring the hosts 27-9 in the final quarter to pull of the miraculous comeback and stretch their mid-season win streak to 10. Matt Campbell scored nine of his game-high 20 points in the final stanza, including converting 5-of-6 free throws in crunch time.

Best coaching call: Facing a fourth-and-goal from Michigan Cityís three-yardline, Chesterton football coach John Snyder, whose team trailed12-9 late in the fourth quarter, decided to go for the game-winning touchdown instead of the game-tying field goal in the Class 5A Sectional opener.

The gutsy call paid off as Chesterton quarterback Casey Martin scurried off left tackle and into the endzone to give Chesterton the 16-12 thrilling victory over the upset minded Wolves.

Top Athleteís: Itís always tough to single out just one girl and one boy athlete that made the biggest impact over 2003. What makes the decision even tougher is the quality of athletes to chose from at Chesterton. But after taking numerous considerations into account the final choice has to be Cassie Peller on the girls side and Nick Oates for the boys.

Peller has a list of accomplishments that could fill a a paper itself. The current CHS senior, who recently signed-on to continue her track and cross country career at Marquette University in Wisconsin, had an unforgettable year that was highlighted by anchoring the 3,200 relay team to a meet record and first place finish at the state meet. She finished second in the 800, while anchoring the 1,600 relay team to a 15th place finish. She also led the Lady Trojanís track team to the sectional and regional crown where she won the individual titles in both the 1,600 and 800 at each meet.

She picked up right where she left of in the fall in cross country. She led the Lady Trojans to runner-up finishes at the Duneland Athletic Conference meet, New Prairie Invite, Culver Academy Invite, Chesterton Sectional, New Prairie Regional, New Prairie Semistate and State. Individually, she finished fourth at the DACís, third at the sectional, first at the regional, second at semistate, and 10th at state. She also helped team Indiana to a first team showing at the Mideast Meet of Champions.

While one might fret over Oates competing in just one sport, there isnít another athlete that dominates the one sport as much as the current Chesterton senior. Oates, who was named a first team all-american as a junior, turned in the top performance last season at state with a second place finish in the 500 free, followed by a fourth place showing in the 200 free. He also swam the final legs on the 200 and 400 free relay teams that placed 6th and 13th respectively

Oates led the Trojans in 2003 to their third straight undefeated season, fifth straight sectional title, seventh consecutive DAC crown and an eighth place team showing at the state meet. He won the 200 and 500 Free at sectionals and he currently holds the school record in the 500 Free and the sectional record in the 500 Free. Oates has helped the No. 4-ranked Trojans to a current overall record of 4-0, including Invite titles at the LaPorte and Highland, along with winning the Munster Relays.

Busting on the scene: No other freshman has a had bigger influence on her team than Christy Grcevich. Swimming in her first varsity meet, Grcevich set the school and pool record in the 100 fly, along with winning the 50 free and joining in on two winning relays in the season-opener with Highland. The slick-swimming Grcevich touched at 57.89 in the fly, almost two seconds faster than Jenni Anderson in 2000 (59.93) for the school record and almost a second quicker than Lauren Hyman of Wheeler in 2002 (58.72) for the pool record.

She also broke the school-record in the 200 IM less than a month ago against Michigan City. She currently has the fastest recorded time in the area in the 50 Free, 100 Fly, 100 Free and the 100 Back. Sheís second in the 200 IM and 100 Breast. Sheís also helped the Lady Trojan swim team to the No. 7 ranking in the state and a current undefeated record of 6-0, which includes the LaPorte Invite team title.

Next Years headlines: The following list is a number of athletes that you can look to fill up the headlines next year: Mary Ballinger (cross country, track), Sarah Kehe (cross country, swimming), Danielle Luther (soccer), Adam Martin (cross country, track), George Grcevich (swimming), Matt Maple (baseball, basketball, football), Clint McGinty (soccer), Laura DeLeon (softball, soccer), Casey Martin (baseball, basketball, football), Sam Chumbley (Golf), Stephanie Boyle (volleyball, basketball), Jayson Jeffries (tennis), Brittany Cooley (tennis) and Andy St. Germain (wrestling).


Andrew Petrovich, a Westchester fifth grader, brought home the silver medal for ramp bowling at the Special Olympics in Indianapolis. Ruth and Bill Bass have record-breaking day at the Holiday Spirit Classic at Miami of Ohio University. Cat Campbell combines for 30 points as CHS girls basketball team tops Portage 49-40 and Lafayette Jeff 48-36 for a weekend sweep. Matt Campbell totals 35 points as CHS boys basketball beats Lake Central 71-65 and Hobart 73-42 for a weekend sweep.

Myles Hiteman (215), Dave Novotney (171) and Phil Miehle (275) each finish with perfect records of 3-0 to win their respective weight classes at the Crown Point Wrestling Invite. Cara Davison wins the 50 free and places second in the 100 breast to lead the CHS girls swim team to a second place finish at the Highland Invite. Lauren West places first on beam, bars and all-around to give Chesterton an easy win over LaPorte in the regular season opener.

CMS eighth grade boys basketball team wins Ben Franklin tourney. CMS seventh grade ďAĒ boys basketball team wins Fegely Tourney. CMS seveth grade ďBĒ boys basketball team wins Thomas Jefferson Tourney. CHS girls swim team wins fourth straight DAC title, Cara Davison named MVP.

CMS eighth grade boys basketball team wins Pierce Invite. Novotney, Hiteman and Miehle each finish second individually at the DAC wrestling meet. Andy St. Germain (105) and John Butz (275) each finish season 15-0, including winning the conference crown. Duneland Swim Masters place fifth out of 19 teams at the Gator Classic in Chicago.

Campbell and Mike Yagelski each score 19 points as CHS beats Andrean 84-73 for their seventh straight win. CHS JV wrestling team edges Hobart, Griffith and Munster to sweep Munster Triple Duals. Campbell hits a clutch three, followed by a pair of free throws to help CHS girls basketball team upset Merrillville. Kate Cartwright returns from injury and nails 5-of-6 three-pointers in the dramatic win over the Lady Pirates.

Brandon Sharrard, a fifth grader at Liberty Intermediate, has success at the National Level of BMX bike racing. CHS boys swim tops Northwest Indiana powerhouse Munster 113-73.


Lauren West totals and all-time all-around high and the Lady Trojans team tallies all-time team high in a huge win over Valparaiso. CHS boys swim team completes third straight undefeated season with win over Highland. CHS swimmer Charlie Lorenz earns Co-MVP honors at DAC swim meet won by the Trojans. Duneland Swim Club wins Hub Winter Invite. Matt Campbell scores 27 points as CHSí boys basketball team erases a 17-point second half deficit to beat Merrillville 63-60.

CHS wrestlers Miehle, Hiteman, Novotney all advance to LaPorte Regional with runner-up finishes at the LaPorte Sectional. CHS girls swim team wins fifth straight Chesterton Sectional. CHS gymnastics team wins Broncho Invite. Mandi Loving scores a season-high 16 points as CHS cruises to a 52-31 sectional opening win. CHS senior Heather Seerup signs on to play soccer at Tampa Bay University.

CHS boys basketball blows chance to win first outright DAC title with 68-63 loss to LaPorte. No. 1 ranked Lady Trojans gymnastics crushes No. 4 ranked Merrillville on Senior Night. Last home meet for Annie Campbell, Julie Detmar, Katelyn Hanson, Jen Janosky, Holly OíConnor, Lauren West, Leslie West and manager Ruthie Carlson. CHS girls basketball team loses 53-29 to eventual sectional champ Valparaiso in sectional semifinal. CHS girls swim team surprises many with a ninth place finish at state. Cara Davison places fourth in the 50 free and Kelti Cunningham 11th in the 200 IM.

CHS wrestlers Miehle, Novotney and Hiteman all lose first round matches at Merrillville Semistate. Duneland Swim Club wins Merrillville Invite. Talor Whitaker breaks three records (200 IM, 50 & 100 free). CHS boys swim team wins fifth consecutive Chesterton Sectional. CHS boys basketball team thumps Calumet 76-55 for a senior night victory. CHS graduate Jenni Anderson helps Auburn University to the SEC swimming title. CHS JV gymnastics win Best-of-the-Rest Invite at Merrillville.


Nick Oates finishes second in the 500 free and fourth in the 200 free as the CHS boys swim team places eighth at state. CHS girls gymnastics team falls to Valparaiso 111.975-111.775 for first loss since 2001 state finals. CHS gymnastics team wins fifth straight sectional. Jen Janosky makes triumphant return after sustaining leg injury that forced her to miss most of her senior season, and Lauren West wins all-around title.

CHS boys basketball stunned 47-46 in final seconds by Merrillville in sectional semifinal. Max Goldak, Dan Keller, Eric Lewis and LJ Pol set meet record in the 6,400 relay at CHS indoor track meet. CHS gymnastics team falls to Valparaiso 111.75-110.45 to finish runners-up at Regionals. Rich Gross resigns after seven seasons as head coach of CHS wrestling team.

CHS gymnastics team finishes runner-up to Valparaiso at state (111.425-110.95). Leslie West wins state title on beam, while her twin sister Lauren wins Mental Attitude Award. CHS grad Jenni Anderson helps Auburn University to NCAA girls swim title. Laura Langendorfer throws no-hitter and collects three hits and three RBIs in Lady Trojansí softball season-opening win over Michigan City Marquette.


CHS boys baseball open season with a 14-1 win over East Chicago. CHS girls tennis tops Lake Central 3-2 in the season-opener. Class 3A No. 5 Lady Trojans softball team edges Class 2A No. 4 Hanover Central 2-1. Lakeshore Gymnastics has strong showing at state meet. CHS seniors Tom Radtke and Mike Yagelski help Team East defeat the West 86-74 at the Northwest Indiana All-Star Basketball Classic at East Chicago.

CHS track teams dominate Wheeler in outdoor season openers. Duneland Stingrays girls softball team win Quest Shootout in Crete, Illinois. Stephanie Bernier drives in Lisa Anderson for the game-winning run in a 2-1 win over Portage in 11 innings in CHS softball. CHS boys golf team wins Marquette Invitational. Ryan Rearick earns track MVP and Emily Prather wins field MVP at Chesterton Relays.

Tom Radtke signs letter of intent to play basketball at Army. Lauren and Leslie West head to Las Vegas for the National High School Gymnastics Coaches Association All-American Championships. Valparaiso hands CHS girls track team first regular season loss in three years. CHS girls track team wins West Lafayette Invite. Emily Prather wins shot and discus.

CHS boys track team places third at West Lafayette Invite. CHS boys golf team wins freshman-sophomore LaVille Invite at Sprig-O-Mint Golf Course in Bremen, Indiana. CMS seventh grade Chesterton gold team wins third straight Indiana Basketball Association state championship in Fort Wayne.


Sean Rizer signs on to play baseball at Valparaiso University. Duneland Swim Club makes splash at state championships. Bill Bass leads way with five first place finishes. Lady Trojans tennis team wins Michigan City Invite. Cassie Peller breaks 1,600 meet record at Lime City, CHS finishes seventh as a team.

CHS boys golf team takes out Valparaiso and LaPorte in a DAC triangular meet. Sam Chumbley fires meet low 37. CHS grad and current Central Florida baseball player, David Lambert named player of the week in the Atlantic Sun Conference. Michelle Austin named Chesterton Tribune ďWomenís Bowler of the Year.Ē Jeri Waechter takes high series (740) and Carol Miller earns high game (288).

CHS boys track team finish second at Valparaiso Relays. Indiana Fireballs win Bulldog Invite. CHS softball falls short 3-1 against defending state champ Lake Central. Mike Gregoline shoots a 39 to lead CHS boys golf to a second place finish at LaVille.

CHS girls track team places second to Valparaiso at DAC meet. Cassie Peller earns Co-MVP honor after individually winning the 1,600 and 800. CHS boys track team places third at DAC meet. Ryan Rearick takes first in the 400 and Spencer West wins the shot put.

CHS softball game with DAC-rival Valparaiso called after 21 innings of scoreless action. Lagendorfer pitches all 21 innings. CHS girls tennis team edges Valparaiso 3-2 to remain in DAC title hunt. CHS sophomore Laura DeLeon surprises many with a four hit, eight strikeout shutout win over Highland. Chris Joll named head coach of CHS wrestling team. CHS girls track team wins fourth straight Chesterton Sectional.

CHS girls tennis team earns at least a share of the DAC crown with a 5-0 win over Portage. CHS girls softball team upset by Hobart 3-1, but doesnít lose ground in DAC race as Valparaiso was upset 5-3 by Crown Point. Mike Gregoline totals a 41 to help Chestertonís boys golf team avenge its lone DAC loss to Michigan City. CHS boys track defends Portage Sectional title.

CHS girls softball team wins DAC title outright for the second straight season with an 8-0 win over Crown Point. CHS girls tennis team ousted at sectional by Valparaiso. No. 1 doubles pair of Andrea Wiese and Marian Benitez move on. Nick Johnson commits to play football at Hillsdale College, while teammate Steven Joyce signs on with Valparaiso University.

Mike Cho leads way with a 76 to help CHS boys golf team win the DAC Invite. Marian Benitez and Andrea Wiese advance to regional final. Cassie Peller wins 800 and 1,600, while anchoring the 3,200 relay ream as Chesterton girls track team wins first-ever Regional title. CHS softball team crushes Kankakee Valley 12-3 in Merrillville Sectional opener.

Mandi Loving and Erik Babcock named Most Valuable Chesterton High School Seniors. CHS boys track team finishes runners-up to Valparaiso at Regional. Adam Martin wins 1,600. Andrea Wiese and Marina Benitez win regional title with a 6-3, 6-2 win over New Prairie. Most successful season (22-5) in CHS softball history comes to an end with a 3-2 loss to Hobart in Merrillville Sectional Semifinal.


Steve Schrenk Jr. named Menís Bowler of the Year. Garry Johnston earns high three-game series (837) and Joe Ello takes high average (228). CMS seventh grade boys track team wins conference championship. CHS-graduate Dave Lambert, a freshman baseball player at Central Florida, named to Atlantic Sun Conference All-Freshman team. CHS baseball season comes to an end with an 8-7 loss to Crown Point at the Merrillville Sectional.

CHS boys golf team captures DAC crown. Nicole Fetla signs to play softball at St. Josephís College. CMSís Katie Cahillane and Adam Hutnick receive Larry James Memorial Scholarship Athlete Awards. Andrea Wiese and Marian Benitez fall to Plymouth 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 in Regional Championship Doubles. CHS boys golf team finishes runner-up at Valparaiso Sectional.

CHS girls track team places seventh at state. The fantastic foursome of Cassie Peller, Kelly Peller, Ali Bishel and Mandi Loving break state-record in 3,200 relay. Emily Prather finishes fourth in the shot put. CHS boys track team places 41st at state. The 3,200 relay team of Eric Lewis, Dan Keller, Geoff Lambert and Ed Lawson set school-record.

CHS boys golf team places fifth at LaPorte Regional. Kathy Wilburn takes over as head coach of the CHS gymnastics team. Kim Kociara takes over as head coach of CHS girls soccer team.


Steve Kearney named Ball State University Alumnus 2003 High School Girls Track Coach of the Year. State Park 10-year-olds capture District One Championship for the first time in its 50-year history with a 10-4 victory over Lake of the Four Seasons. Duneland Swim Club wins Northwest Indiana Conference Championship.


Duneland Swim Club places sixth at state for the highest finish in club history. Duneland Stingrays win 14-and-under AAA Nationals in Orlando, Florida. Sue Morris, a 1981 CHS graduate, named to Butler University Sports Hall of Fame.

Lauren and Leslie West named co-recipients of the Myra Bachuchin-Spadafore Memorial Scholarship. Sarah Cohn and Wendy Jo Svetanoff named 2003 Victor Award winners. Cassie Peller breaks record at South Bend Stampede. Mortgage Inn wins 2003 Menís Westchester Horseshoe League title. CHS volleyball team beats Portage 3-0 to finish a perfect 3-for-3 for the week.


Cassie Peller wins individual race, but No. 2-ranked CHS girls cross country team falls short 27-30 versus No. 1-ranked Valparaiso at Sunset Hill. Matt Osborn runs personal best as CHS boys cross country team beats Valparaiso 26-31. CHS football team scores 20 fourth quarter points to beat visiting Griffith 32-20. Cassie Peller places seventh overall to lead CHS girls cross country team to a second place finish at the Midwest Meet of Champions in Ohio.

7-of-11 CHS boys cross country runners run personal best as Trojans place 12th at Midwest Meet of Champions in Ohio. Jayson Jeffries earns decisive point as CHS boys tennis team upsets Merrillville 3-2. CHS volleyball team places second at Chesterton Invite. CHS football team rallies for 21 fourth quarter points in a 42-23 win over LaPorte.

Brett Norris and Andrew Biggs win No. 3 doubles title at Highland Invite. CHS girl soccer teams wins 2-1 sudden death thriller over DAC newcomer Lake Central. CHS girls golf finishes second at Valparaiso Sectional. CHS girls cross country teams places third, while boys place 10th at New Prairie Invite. CHS girls soccer edged 1-0 in overtime at Portage.

Dunes Golf Classic winners include Jeff Gilbertson (championship flight), Dominic Martin (first flight), Harold Walker (2nd flight), Dale Pflughaupt (third flight), Julie Leonard (womenís division), Ed Klodzen (senior division) and Terri Colosino (womenís division). CMS cross country teams take 3-of-4 from Viking Invite. CHS girls golf team places sixth at Regional. Liz Fox finishes stellar four-year career with a 98. Casey Martinís game-tying two-point conversion pass falls short and Chesterton loses to No. 6-ranked Portage 21-19.


CHS boys tennis team records win No. 10 for the first time under Coach Brian Norris with a 5-0 victory over Andrean. CHS boys tennis team beat North Judson 5-0 to advance to the Sectional Final versus Valparaiso. CHS boys cross country team wins DAC meet, girls finish runners-up to Valparaiso. Mary Ballinger and Adam Martin each finish second individually.

CHS junior varsity volleyball team seals a school-high 20 wins. CHS boys soccer team crushes Kankakee Valley 6-2 in the Sectional opener. Mary Ballinger and Adam Martin win individual Sectional titles, but both the girls and boys cross country teams finish second to Valpo. CHS girls soccer team blanks Michigan Marquette 7-0 to setup a rematch with Portage. Lady Trojans soccer dealt a tough 2-1 loss to Portage in the Sectional Championship. CHS boys cross country team wins New Prairie Regional, girls finish second to Valparaiso. Cassie Peller, Mary Ballinger, Max Goldak and Adam Martin sweep top two spots respectively.

CHS boys soccer team dropped 4-0 by Valparaiso in Sectional Final. Ismail Attallah resigns after 12 seasons as head coach of CHSís boys soccer team. CHS girls cross country team finish runners-up at New Prairie Semistate, while boys earn fifth and final state qualifying spot. Max Goldak and Adam Martin place 16th and 17th respectively, while Sarah Kehe finishes with a career-best time and ninth place overall finish.

CHS volleyball team falls to Valparaiso 21-18, 21-12, 21-18 in Sectional Championship game. CMS eighth grade boys cross country team finishes undefeated for the second straight year, along with winning back-to-back conference titles.


CHS football season comes to an end with a dissapointing 21-14 loss to Merrillville. CHS girls cross country team finishes second at state, while the boys place 12th. Cassie Peller, Mary Ballinger, Sarah Kehe and Max Goldak each earn all-state honors. CHS graduate Nicole Hartford helps Ball State Universityís cross country team to schoolís first-ever MAC title.

Chestertonís Debbie Jaeger is the first women finisher at the annual Gourd Race. Cassie Peller decides to continue track and cross country career at Marquette University. Mike Rouse steps down as head coach of the CHS girls cross country team after just two seasons.

Kelly Peller scores career-high 13 points as CHS girls basketball team opens season with a 58-24 win over Munster. Cassie Peller helps Team Indiana to top spot at Mideast XC Meet in Kettering, Ohio. CHS freshman Christy Grcevich breaks school and pool record in 100 fly in first varsity meet. CHS wrestling team posts 3-2 record at season-opening Chesterton Invite. Myles Hiteman finishes day 5-0 for the top spot in the 275-division.

Matt Campbell scores 19 to lead Chesterton to a 67-51 win over Morton in the season-opener.


CHS girls basketball coach Jack Campbell seals win No. 200 with a 42-33 victory over Wheeler. CHS graduate David Novotney named top freshman on Navy football team. CHS girls swim team wins LaPorte Invite. CHS boys swim team takes top honor at Munster Relays. CHS diver Mat Sommers sets personal high score of 224.8 to win diving competition against Michigan City.

Christy Grcevich sets school-record in 200 IM. CHS wrestling team erases 24-point deficit to beat Lake Central for first conference win of the season. Duneland Swim Club wins Fall Invite. Myles Hiteman (275) settles for second place at the Merrillville Invite after double overtime loss, Trojans place ninth as a team. CHS boys swim team wins Invite titles at Highland and LaPorte.


Posted 1/2/2004