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Now that we're a little more than a week into the New Year, it's time for my annual predictions (sure to go wrong) column.
Before that, let's take a look back at some of last year's prognostications.
The good: I correctly said that Miami would take on Oklahoma City in the NBA Finals, and accurately predicted top-3 state track and field finishes for Marmion's Pete Stefanski (2nd in the high jump) and St. Charles East's Jake Mazanke (3rd in the 800).
I also hit the mark when I said Geneva's girls basketball team would win its fourth straight Class 4A regional title and that Aurora Central Catholic would reach the state football playoffs for the first time since 1997 (finished 6-4).
I accurately picked St. Charles East to reach the finals of its own Thanksgiving basketball tournament (the Saints won the title) and predicted Batavia would edge Glenbard North, 28-27, during the opening week of the football season (Batavia won, 42-41).
The bad: I had Green Bay facing New England in 2012 Super Bowl (the Packers lost their first playoff game to the New York Giants) and picked the Los Angeles Angels to face Philadelphia in the World Series (neither team made the playoffs).
On the prep side, I predicted that Geneva's baseball team would capture its first sectional title. While the Vikings earned the No. 1 seed in the sectional complex, they were eliminated by 16th-seeded Bartlett in the first round of the regional tourney, 2-0.
Here are my picks to click in 2013:
• AFC Championship: Denver 31, New England 27.
• NFC Championship: Green Bay 23, Seattle 20, OT. In the extra session, a review of Golden Tate's apparent third-down touchdown catch showed that the football hit the turf and the Seahawks' subsequent 41-yard field goal attempt clanks off the goal post, sending the Packers to the Super Bowl.
• Super Bowl XLVII: Denver 30, Green Bay 24.
• NBA: Oklahoma City defeats Miami in 7 games. Bulls star guard Derrick Rose returns in late February and helps the team reach the Eastern Conference finals.
• NCAA: An all-Big Ten final of Indiana vs. Michigan. My Final Four includes Duke and Creighton.
• MLB: An all-Los Angeles World Series featuring the Angels and Dodgers.
• Northwestern takes on Ohio State in the Big Ten Conference football championship.
• Long-time Chicago Bears standout Brian Urlacher signs a 2-year contract with Baltimore to replace retired middle linebacker Ray Lewis.
• Thanks in part to their new affiliation with the Chicago Cubs, the Kane County Cougars surpass the 500,000 attendance mark for the first time since 2006 and welcome their 10 millionth fan. The Cougars also set a single-game record of 15,000 when Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo makes an appearance during an injury rehabilitation stint with Kane County.
• In February, Marmion's Johnny Jimenez and George Fisher capture Class 3A individual titles at 120 and 132 pounds, respectively, at the state wrestling tournament in Champaign.
• Kaneland and Burlington Central meet for the Class 3A girls basketball regional championship in a rematch of a January game won in overtime by the Knights (56-53).
• Geneva's girls basketball team finishes the regular season with 7 wins over its last 8 games to secure a share of the Upstate Eight Conference River Division title.
• Batavia's girls basketball team knocks off host St. Charles East to capture its first regional championship in 23 years.
• Class 4A Elite Eight (girls basketball): Wheaton Warrenville South vs. Belvidere North; Rolling Meadows vs. Evanston; Marian Catholic vs. Edwardsville; Neuqua Valley vs. Whitney Young.
• 4A state champion: Whitney Young.
• Class 3A Elite Eight: Rockford Lutheran vs. Vernon Hills; Guerin vs. Montini; Joliet Catholic vs. University High; Quincy-Notre Dame vs. Breese Mater Dei.
• 3A state champion: Montini.
• Playing without injured star Kendall Stephens, St. Charles East's boys basketball team edges St. Charles North in overtime on Dom Adduci's buzzer-beating 3-pointer to reach the Class 4A regional finals against UEC River champion Larkin.
• West Aurora hands Neuqua Valley its second loss of the season in the sectional championship at Bolingbrook.
• Class 4A Elite Eight (boys basketball): West Aurora vs. Proviso East; Notre Dame vs. Whitney Young; Homewood-Flossmoor vs. Belleville East; Larkin vs. Stevenson.
• 4A state champion: Whitney Young.
• Class 3A Elite Eight: Wheaton Academy vs. Peoria Manual; Morgan Park vs. Hillcrest; North Chicago vs. Orr; Cahokia vs. Springfield Southeast.
• 3A state champion: Morgan Park.
• Led by Division 1 pitching recruits Andy Honiotes and Jordan Touro, Geneva's baseball team earns the top sectional seed for the second straight season. This time, coach Matt Hahn's Vikings capture the Class 4A regional title and take on St. Charles East in the sectional semifinals.
• For the second consecutive year, St. Charles East and St. Charles North square off in the Class 4A regional softball tournament. Naturally, it's another extra-inning affair after last season's 7-6, 8-inning decision won by the North Stars. The Saints take this one, 5-4, in 11 innings.
• In late-May, Jasper Koenen and Justin Bowman lead St. Charles East to its second straight boys sectional tennis championship.
• West Aurora junior Emma Spagnola earns the 100-meter hurdles title at the Class 3A state meet in Charleston.
• It will be a banner year for our local soccer teams, as St. Charles North captures the Class 3A girls state championship in June while St. Charles East claims the 3A boys state title nearly 5 months later.
• In mid-October, St. Charles North senior Raghav Cherala cracks the top 25 at the Class 3A boys state golf tournament in Bloomington.
• Batavia's top doubles team of Jenny Mizikar and Amelia Cogan repeat as sectional girls tennis champions.
• In early November, Kaneland junior Victoria Clinton wins her second straight Class 2A individual title at the girls state cross country meet held at Peoria's Detweiller Park. The Knights place third in the team standings, while Geneva takes fourth in Class 3A competition.
• Seven local football teams qualify for postseason play -- Aurora Central Catholic, Aurora Christian, Batavia, Geneva, Kaneland, Marmion, and St. Charles East.
• Kaneland extends its regular-season winning streak to 37 with its fourth straight 9-0 finish on the way to the Class 5A state title game.
• Batavia recovers from a Week 1 loss to Glenbard North and Purdue-bound RB Justin Jackson with 8 consecutive regular-season victories on its way to a Class 7A state quarterfinal appearance.
• St. Charles East junior receiver Brannon Barry leads the area with 12 touchdown catches, Kaneland quarterback Drew David throws 25 TD passes, and Batavia tailback Anthony Scaccia rushes for 1,400 yards and 11 TDs.
• In girls volleyball, Geneva and St. Charles North square off in the Class 4A sectional semifinals.
• Proviso East makes a triumphant return to the St. Charles East/Ron Johnson Thanksgiving Basketball Tournament, beating St. Joseph in the title game. Defending champion St. Charles East takes third.
• Geneva, led by junior Nate Navigato, reaches the finals of the East Aurora Holiday Basketball Tournament against Pleasure Ridge Park (Ky.).
Here's hoping some of these picks come true.
You can reach Craig Brueske at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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