Patriettes Win State Dance Championship
Stevenson won its second Illinois High School Association Class 3A competitive dance state championship in the past four years with a near-perfect performance on Saturday in Bloomington. The Patriettes posted a final-round score of 99.24, the highest in state finals history. The previous best was 98.36, set by Maine South in 2013 — when Stevenson finished second. Head coach Kristin Piekarski-Cook’s squad also earned the highest score in Friday’s preliminaries, 97.36, to advance to the final round.
“It feels amazing to be a state champion,” senior Jorie Knysz told the Daily Herald. “We started the season really rough, and this is just the most amazing thing I can think of.” The Patriettes fielded two squads during their first three competitions, finishing second and third at Andrew, fourth and fifth at Minooka, and fifth and sixth at Waubonsie Valley. As a combined team, however, SHS won its three biggest events: conference, sectionals and state.
You can watch Stevenson‘s record-setting performance in this NFHS Network video, starting at the 1:07.26 mark, with the announcement of winners occurring shortly thereafter. The Patriettes have won a state trophy in each of the eight years that competitive dance has been an official IHSA sport, all under Piekarski-Cook. Stevenson also won the state title in 2017, was second in 2019, 2016 and 2013, placed third in 2018 and 2014, and finished fourth in 2015. Here is the roster for this year’s state champion:
- Seniors: Hallee Bykoff, Alexa Cohen, Ashley Gordon, Alyssa Halazonitis, Jorie Knysz, Amanda Lee, Chloe Lucido, Grace McElhinny, Maya Newmark, Allison Noronha, Elizabeth Noronha, Arielle Reinstein, Maya Shub
- Juniors: Breanna Buan, Elli Freeman, Nicole Graff, Marina Halama, Madison McCarty, Josephina Ronson, Joceyln Silk, Audree Spewak
- Sophomores: Samantha Habib, Jennifer Immell, Madden Larrea, Isabel McCool, Casey Pak, Evelyn Shen
Piekarski-Cook’s assistant coach was Laura Moschel. Her junior varsity coach was Jennifer Harris and freshman coach was Kayla Fleming.
The state champion Patriettes will perform at halftime of the varsity boys basketball home game against Lake Zurich on Tuesday, Feb. 11.
Chess Team Captures Sectional Title, Heading to State Again
Stevenson won its second Illinois High School Association chess sectional championship in the past three years on Saturday, capturing the 21-team Highland Park competition and earning a return trip to the state finals. SHS, a state qualifier for 17 consecutive seasons, will travel to Peoria for the state tournament on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 14-15.
Despite missing their top player due to illness, the Patriots rolled through Antioch, Glenbrook South and New Trier (avenging a North Suburban Chess League loss earlier in the season), before topping Evanston for the title. Junior David Wallach went 4-0 on the day, while older brother and senior Adam Wallach, and freshmen Rohit Guha and Srihas Rao all won three matches. Sophomore Ashley Yan and freshman Jack Chen claimed a pair of victories. Head coach Vincent Springer also received wins from senior Gil Banuelos, juniors Vishnu Sadhu and Ryan Yao, sophomore Fred Yuan, and freshman Stella Pashyan.
Cheerleaders Capture Sectional Title, State Berth
The varsity cheerleaders won the Illinois High School Association Niles West Sectional championship on Saturday, their third consecutive sectional crown. With the victory, Stevenson will make its fifth straight trip to the IHSA competitive cheerleading state finals this weekend in Bloomington. The Patriots posted a score of 92.36 to capture their Large Team division, ahead of Marist (90.20). Stevenson has placed third at state the last two years.
A pep bus will be available for students who want to watch the Patriots perform in the state preliminaries on Friday. Tickets will be sold online through the Stevenson Superstore beginning Tuesday and ending at 3:30 p.m. Thursday. Students must turn in this permission form signed by a parent or guardian.
Other pep bus details:
- The bus will pick up students in lot B at 1 p.m.
- The bus will return to lot B at approximately 10:45 p.m.
- Students must ride to and from the competition on the bus.
- A minimum of 10 students must sign up for the pep bus to run.
- The Athletic Office will excuse pep bus-bound students from periods 6-8 Friday.
- The cost is $20, which covers ticket and transportation but not food.
- Students should bring money to buy food.
- The IHSA has a “clear bag” policy for all spectators.
- No backpacks are allowed.
Bowler Rolls Perfect Game at State Finals
Junior Ryan Grabiner rolled a perfect game during the first day of the Illinois High School Association state finals on Friday. He is only the second Patriot to record a 300, following 2016 state champion (and current volunteer coach) Zach Singer (Class of 2017),who achieved the feat three times. Ryan’s 300 came during the second game of the morning, and was part of a 741 series. He finished 32nd overall in the two-day tournament, with a total 12-game pinfall of 2,529 (a 210.8 per-game average). More information on the team’s performance can be read below.
Patriot Boys Take Top Honors in Great Lakes Fencing
Stevenson earned a slew of awards at Saturday’s Great Lakes High School Championships in the Field House. The Patriot boys finished first in their division, while the SHS girls were second in theirs. The boys won epee, and placed second in foil and saber, while the girls captured saber, and were third in foil and epee. Stevenson had two individual champions: sophomore Stephen Yi won men’s foil and junior Simran Batra won women’s saber. Senior Steve Yoo was second in men’s saber, while classmate Aya Taira was third in women’s foil. Other Patriot place-winners included senior Saicharan Mandadi (fifth, men’s epee), junior Samantha Seelig (sixth, women’s saber), senior Jacob Chan (sixth, men’s saber), freshman Nicole Kim (seventh, women’s saber), and junior Illia Svirinovskyi (seventh, men’s epee). – Official Results
Other Weekend Varsity Results
Stevenson 55, Zion-Benton 49: Sophomore Ava Bardic scored nine of her team-high 16 points in the third quarter as the Patriots (21-7, 7-4) rallied for the road win. SHS trailed 27-19 at halftime, but outscored the Zee-Bees 21-11 in the third quarter to take the lead. Simone Sawyer, also a sophomore, had nine of her 15 points in the second half. Junior Nikki Ware sank four 3-pointers for 12 points and senior Avery King added 10 for Stevenson, which won for the ninth time in its last 10 games. – Daily Herald
Stevenson 61, Zion-Benton 51: The visiting Patriots (17-4, 8-1) overcame a 16-point second-half deficit to keep pace with Mundelein atop the North Suburban Conference standings. Senior Matt Kaznikiov scored 12 of his team-high 16 points in the second half. He also grabbed six rebounds. Junior Evan Ambrose and senior brother Matt Ambrose each added 13 points, with the elder Ambrose scoring all of his points in the fourth quarter. Evan hit a pair of free throws to tie the game at 48-48, then put the Pats ahead for good with a field goal with 2:45 remaining. He sank eight of 10 free throw attempts in the final quarter. Senior RJ Holmes grabbed 15 rebounds and added six points. The Zee-Bees fell to 14-9, 4-4. – Daily Herald
Stevenson at IHSA State Finals: In addition to junior Ryan Grabiner’s 300 game (details above), classmate Ryan Lerman added a career-best 290 game in the morning session. The Patriots finished 17th out of 24 teams on Day 1; the top 12 teams advanced to Day 2. Ryan Grabiner led SHS in its six games with a 1,289 series. Juniors Nicholas Sternes and Joey Gluck followed with 1,183 and 1,152, respectively, and Ryan Lerman had 1,069. Junior Josh Lerner was in the afternoon lineup, rolling a 624 three-game set, while freshman Ender Starr recorded a 582 in the morning. – Official Results
Stevenson at North Suburban Conference Championships: The Patriots placed seventh among seven schools at Bertrand Lanes in Waukegan. Lake Zurich won the league title for the second straight season. – Daily Herald
Stevenson 32, Lake Forest 30: Junior Kei Yamato’s 6-5 victory at 132 pounds in the final match of the night capped a dramatic comeback by the visiting Patriots. Stevenson won the last five bouts to rally from a 30-10 deficit. The run began with technical falls from junior Alex Swidler and freshman Lorenzo Frezza at 106 and 113, respectively. Sophomore Cole Rhemrev pinned his man at 120 and senior Randy Lu posted a 12-5 win at 126 to set the stage for Kei. SHS also received a pin from sophomore Jacob Whiting at 170, and a major decision from junior Arie Guzman at 160. – Official Results
E-Town Showdown Discounted Tickets Available
A limited number of $8 tickets remain for the varsity boys basketball team’s E-Town Showdown game against Loyola Academy at 5 p.m. Saturday at Northwestern University’s Welsh-Ryan Arena. Tickets at the gate will be $10. To order $8 tickets, go to www.tinyurl.com/etownshowdown and enter the school’s promo code, Stevenson333. Only the first 75 who order online will be able to use the promo code.