By TR HARLAN
The 2006 calendar year was just another watermark on a long list of stellar
years for local sports in Chesterton.
It included Duneland Athletic Conference titles, Sectional, Regional,
Semistate and State titles. It featured national acclaim for local athletes.
It was all encompassing.
That year started with a splash, or not, on the diving boards as Chesterton
senior Mat Sommers shattered the school-record with a 341.55 6-dive
performance against Hobart. Boys soccer coach James Sensibaugh earned Ball
State Alumnus Coach of the year honors, boding well for the future. The
Chesterton boys basketball team got 32 points from Zack Novak and 31 more
from Curt Bradford as they beat Class 3A No. 1 Andrean 78-61. The No.
5-ranked gymnastics team outlasted No. 6 Michigan City 107.325-107.225 and
the CHS cheerleaders won the varsity division of the Cheerleaders of America
Competition in Chicago.
Chesterton’s Alex Sanchez started February with a Regional title in
wrestling as he and teammate Ben Williams advanced to the Semistate. Sanchez
continued his run through the state tournament the next weekend by finishing
third at the Merrillville Semistate and advancing to the state finals in
Indianapolis. The Trojans’ girls basketball team pulls a major upset after
beating Hobart in the Sectional opener at Valparaiso by returning to win the
Class 4A Sectional title over No. 9 Merrillville 50-43 behind 31 points from
Kelly Peller. The Chesterton girls swim team brings home four state
championships from Indianapolis including, Talor Whitaker in the 100 Free
and Christy Grcevich in the 100 Fly. Whitaker, Grcevich, Taylor Lipniskis
and Sarah Kehe team together to win the 200 and 400 Free Relay state titles
as well. Not to be outdone, the Trojan boys swim team amasses 182 points for
a best-ever third place team finish at the state finals.
The Chesterton boys basketball team got off to a hot start in the Class 4A
Sectional tournament and rode hot-shooting into the finals. In the semi’s
against Crown Point, the Trojans hit a state-best nine 3-pointers in the
third quarter to advance to the finals. Once there, the Valparaiso Vikings
were too much. The Trojan gymnastics team finished third in the Sectional
and second in the Regional to advance to the State Finals where they would
finish sixth. Thirteen CHS athlete’s were named Most Valuable Player’s at
the Winter Awards Program. Just as importantly, 58 were named as
scholar-athlete’s. The Chesterton girl’s track team got indoor season
underway and capped it off by turning in Indiana’s best time ever in the
Distance Medley Relay at the NSR Relays at IU. Ali Bishel, Kelly Peller,
Lena Raffin and Sarah Kehe finished in 12:24.
The Chesterton softball team picked up its second of 30 straight victories
with an 11-1 victory over Hanover Central to start the month. Later in the
month, Emma Lawson would throw a perfect game in a 28-0 victory over Hammond
Morton. To end their month, the Trojans gave head coach LouAnn Hopson her
first ever win at Lake Central with a come-from-behind victory finished off
by a Katie Stahura triple. The baseball team picked up its first win of the
season in April with a 3-1 victory over Lafayette Harrison. Kyle Whitaker,
an 8th grader at the time, was named the 13-14 year old overall state swim
champion at the State Age Group Meet in Indianapolis. He won the 100 Free,
200 Free, 100 Fly, 200 Fly and 200 IM. Jessica Kuehl was selected to compete
on the Indiana All-Star Gymnastics Team, while the girls tennis team and
boys golf team picked up their first wins of the season.
The Chesterton girls tennis team picked up an early May victory over
Valparaiso 3-2 with a third-set win for Christine Lambert at No. 3 singles.
The Trojan softball team set a school-record with its 20th straight victory,
before wrapping up a DAC title and a Sectional title later in the month. The
Chesterton girls track team won its second consecutive DAC title, seventh
straight Sectional and second Regional during May. Russell Wilk won the 800
and Adam Martin the 1,600 in the Boys Track Sectional. Sand Creek Director
of Golf Bryan Haas finished second at the Best Western Southern Open PGA
Tournament, while Kelly Gough was named Women’s Bowler of the Year after a
705 series. Chuck Hurst, Peter DeWitt and Karen Yanson competed at the USMS
Short Course National Meet in Colorado Springs, Col. The Boys golf team
finished second at the DAC Invitational at Sand Creek.
Eight Most Valuable Player honors were awarded to CHS Athletes at the Spring
Sports Award program. Ninety-five more were named as scholar-athletes. Sarah
Kehe for the girls and Adam Martin for the boys were named as the CHS Senior
Athletes of the Year. The girls track team finished a school-best fifth with
29 points at the State Track Finals. Allyson Harvey, Kelly Peller, Ali
Bishel and Sarah Kehe won the 3,200 Relay in a state best time of 9:03.77,
less than five seconds from the national record. Chris Smith was named
American Mideast Conference Pitcher of the Year at Ohio Dominican. CHS
senior John Lambert was drafted by the Texas Rangers in baseball. The Trojan
softball team beat Center Grove 7-6 to advance to the state championship
game where they fell to Martinsville 1-0.
The Chesterton High School girls athletic teams won the Duneland Athletic
Conference All-Sports Trophy despite being the smallest school in the
league. Seniors Ali Bishel, Jessica Pesut and Adam Martin compete for Team
Indiana at the Midwest Track and Field Meet of Champions. The Liberty Belles
U10 All-Star softball team won the District One title with two victories
over Angola. From State Park, the 9-10 baseball all stars and the Sr. girls
softball teams also won District One titles. The Duneland Swim Club won its
19th straight conference crown. Chesterton swim coach Kevin Kinel and former
swimmer Jenni Anderson were voted into the Indiana Swimming Hall of Fame.
The Duneland Swim Club finished 8th at the Long Course Age Group
State Championships. Kyle Whitaker picked up individual victories in the 100
Free, 200 Free, 100 Fly, 200 Fly and the 200 IM all in meet record and
age-group record times. The Chesterton girls golf team won its first
Invitational victory ever by firing a 360 to best Crown Point (377) at the
Michigan City Marquette Invitational. Later in the month, Kristin Kalita
would fire a school-record 36 at Sand Creek. The CHS boys soccer team beat
Griffith 3-1 in its home opener and then came right back to beat No. 9
Valparaiso 2-1. Westchester Lanes reopened under new owner’s Tony and Evelyn
Ello and Joe and Nicole Ello.
The Chesterton football team picked up its first win of the season
49-14 over Michigan City. They would also get a 33-21 victory over
Valparaiso later in the month. The Trojan volleyball team picked up its
first-ever victory over Michigan City and later went on to win it’s own
Chesterton Invitational. The boys tennis team beat Valparaiso 3-2 as Zack
Stemer picked up a three-set victory at number two singles. The boys soccer
team remained undefeated with a 2-1 victory at No. 7 Portage. Kristin Kalita
fired a 79 at Beechwood in the LaPorte Regional to qualify for the state
finals in girls golf. The Chesterton Middle School cross country teams won
all four titles at their own CMS Invite.
The Chesterton football team turned in its most impressive performance of
the season in a 63-36 victory over Lake Central. Quarterback Alex
Beierwalter threw for a school-record 509 yards, while also setting
school-record’s in completions (25) and touchdown’s (5). The volleyball team
set a school-record for wins in a season with 28 before falling in the
Sectional finals to Portage. The freshman volleyball team won the Valparaiso
Invitational. The boys cross country team picked up Sectional and Regional
crowns. They also finished second at Semistate which gave them a berth in
the state finals where they finished ninth. The boys soccer team won the
Valparaiso Regional with a 2-0 victory over Michigan City Marquette and a
5-0 win over Lowell. The CMS 8th grade cross country teams also won
Eleven MVP’s were named at the Chesterton High School Fall Sports
Awards program and another 119 scholar-athlete’s were recognized. Fall
athletes also garnered All-State and All-District honors. In football, Alex
Beierwalter, Grant Cartwright and Adam Hutnick were honorable mention
All-State. Hutnick, Chris Hoenke, Nick Kokinakos and Travis Anderson were
also recognized by the Bloomington Herald-Times. Beierwalter, Sam Jaegar and
Mark VanDenburgh were junior honorable mention. In soccer, Jordan Lewis was
named 2nd team All-State. All-District honors went to Lewis, Mark Babcock,
Alex Mannen and Ricky Garvey. Chester Vanek was a 3rd team All-State
selection in boys cross country. The girls basketball team picked up its
first win of the season in overtime against LaPorte, while the boys got
their first win behind 36 points from Zack Novak at Mishawaka. The No. 11
ranked girls swim team beat No. 19 Crown Point.
The Chesterton boys swim team won 10-of-15 events and finished second at the
Hall of Fame Invitational on the month’s first weekend. The girls team
picked up two event victories at the same meet with Talor Whitaker winning
the 200 Free and the Whitaker teaming with Taylor Lipniskis, Brittany Fozkos
and Shauna Foor to win the 200 Free Relay. The wrestling team beat Portage
for the first time in 20 years 38-29. The CMS wrestlers picked up four
individual Lake-Porter conference titles with victories by Chris Thompson
(70), Anthony Quiroz (130), Tony Sanchez (150) and Alex Boatright (240).
Last-second baskets by Amanda Gough and Dana Christensen led the girls
basketball team to victories over Portage and Valparaiso.