2017-'18 Season Coverage
updated: 5/29/2017 11:29 AM

Hernandez, Burton first ‘Kipp’ honorees

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  • Elena DiVito, with the three medals she won recently in the IESA state championship meet in Peoria. DiVito set a state record with a winning long jump of 17 feet, 2 inches.

    Elena DiVito, with the three medals she won recently in the IESA state championship meet in Peoria. DiVito set a state record with a winning long jump of 17 feet, 2 inches.
    Submitted photo

  • The St. Theresa qualifiers from the recent IESA state championships.

    The St. Theresa qualifiers from the recent IESA state championships.
    Submitted photo


The first recipients of the "Coach Kipp Scholarship of Recognition Award' have been announced.

Maine West seniors Acacia Hernandez and Ashley Burton, who were members of this year's Maine West girls basketball team which advanced to the sectional finals, earned the honor named for Warriors hall of fame girls basketball coach Derril Kipp.

Last Dec. 2, the Maine West spectator gymnasium was filled with fans and alumni of the school's girls basketball program to remember Kipp, who passed away last July from pancreatic cancer.

The many supporters of one of the winningest coaches (788 wins in 35 seasons) in IHSA girls basketball history were on hand for the dedication of a legacy wall and memorial marker outside the gymnasium doors.

"This turnout, this event, it's just unimaginable," said Kipp's wife Marianne to the big crowd at halftime with her family standing nearby. "We are so thankful to everyone, and I know Derril would be, too."

Marianne Kipp is grateful for the funding of the "Coach Kipp Scholarship of Recognition Award'.

"Derril looked for and respected players who have the passion to put their whole heart into what they want to do, and have the dedication to work hard at every opportunity to improve themselves," Marianne said. "He admired their courage to overcome any mistakes, losses, injuries or illnesses to push forward and continue on the path of success not just in the sport but to become the best they can be in life. These two girls (Hernandez and Burton) have demonstrated that heart, dedication and courage."

Kipp entered the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2001. His teams won 26 Central Suburban North championships, 24 regional titles and 10 sectionals, and they appeared in the state tournament seven times from 1983 to 1993, the year his Warriors were state runners-up.

Nearly 80 girls from Maine West's program have earned scholarships since Kipp took over the program in 1981.

Maine West principal Audrey Haugan praised Kipp and what he meant to Maine West

"Coach Kipp's influence spanned decades and across thousands of students, athletes and colleagues. In the classroom and on the court, students learned both academic and life lessons," Haugan said. "The impact of this loss is widespread, and his status both in and out of the sport will be remembered for a lifetime."

The Warriors drew top billing statewide and from the Chicago TV media when they set an IHSA record of 65 consecutive wins from Feb. 28, 1987, to Feb 13, 1989.

Kipp also coached the Warriors to 110 straight conference wins.

He started a summer league at Maine West in the 1980s that attracted nearly 100 teams at one point.

He is the fifth-winningest girls basketball coach in state history and led Maine West's girls basketball program for 35 years and logged 788 wins with the Warriors, third-most by any coach at one school. His 1987-88 team won the Class AA state championship, posting one of the few undefeated seasons (35-0) in IHSA girls basketball history.

Marathon standout

Former Hersey (1996 grad) volleyball and soccer standout Kelly Olson Causero has made her mark on the marathon circuit, joining a prestigious group of runners who have traveled the world.

She has completed the Abbot World Marathon Majors.

Causero began her career in Chicago (3:28:59) in 2011. She then completed the infamous Boston marathon (3:35.45) in 2013. She followed up by running New York City (3:56:58) and Berlin (3:37:44) in 2014, Tokyo (3:55:46) in 2016 and London (3:37:30) this past April.


Illinois-Chicago fifth-year senior Jack Andersen (Fremd) earned the win for the Flames when they clinched the Horizon League with a 4-2 win voter Wright State to advance into the NCAA tourney.

Andersen sat out last year after Tommy John surgery and is currently 5-2. He pitched six innings against Wright State, giving up 2 runs on 5 hits.

It was the Flames' fifth Horizon League tournament championship and marked the 39th win of the season for the Flames, matching the program record previously achieved in both 2002 and 2003.

Ulrich camp

Illinois Basketball Coaches Association hall of famer John Ulrich, now in his 45th year coaching, is once again running his high level skills camps this summer at three locations.

Camps will be at Immanuel Lutheran in Palatine, St. Hubert in Hoffman Estates and St. Alphonsus in Prospect Heights.

Ulrich's teams have won numerous national and state championships. For more information go to johnulrichbasketball.com or call coach Ulrich at (847) 204-5015.

Track and field

The St. Theresa (Palatine) boys and girls track and field teams achieved some amazing accomplishments at the Illinois Elementary School Association state finals in Peoria in mid-May.

Seven athletes qualified from the sectional meet. Elena DiVito was the sole seventh-grade girl; she qualified in the long jump, 100-meters, 200 and the 100 hurdles. DiVito won the IESA 7A long jump and established a state record with a jump of 17 feet, 2 inches -- a feat all the more remarkable because she was on the brink of missing the finals after her first two attempts.

"My goal this entire year was to place first in long jump at state," DiVito said. "I was completely off on my first two tries. There were girls who had already jumped in the high 16s. I knew I had only one more chance to make it.

"All I could think of was our theme from this track season, 'Conquer Thyself' -- then conquer everyone else."

DiVito's winning effort was a personal best by more than 5 inches. She was also runner-up in the 100 and 200 dashes.

Younger sister Alexa DiVito, a fifth grader, qualified in the eighth-grade hurdles.

In the boys meet, Bobby Widlowski and Brendan Oleksak both qualified in three events, one of which was the mile relay. Joined by Lucas Doland and Kris Passero and supported by alternate Matthew Attak, they sprinted their way to the podium, earning the last available medal position in the event, eighth, after being seeded 19th.

"We knew we could do it," said Doland. "We calculated what each of us had to run to make it to the podium, and that's what we did."

• Lewis' Abby Tripp (Conant) earned all-American distinction after finishing twelfth in the 10,000 meter run with a final time of 36:08.95 at the NCAA championships in Bradenton, FL.

Poklop All-America

• North Central College junior Adam Poklop (Palatine) achieved a sixth-place finish in the high jump competition at the SPIRE Institute to earn an All-America award of the NCAA Division III outdoor championships.

A first-time qualifier for the outdoor championship, Poklop cleared 6 feet, 9½ inches to equal his personal best and easily outdo his 13th-place showing from this year's indoor national finals.

"That's about 15 centimeters higher than I jumped indoors at nationals, so that feels pretty good," he said on the school's website. "We just tried to treat it like any other meet. I've been struggling the last few weeks, but I felt really good today."

After making clearances at the opening two heights (6-2¾ and 6-4¾) on the first attempt, Poklop was successful on his second attempts at 6-6¾ and 6-8¼, then secured another second-attempt clearance at 6-9½ to equal the personal best he achieved at the Augustana College Meet of Champions in April.

"I have a bad habit of making bars on the third attempt," Poklop said. "I didn't want to wait (at 6-9½). I felt myself brush it, and when I realized I made it, it was just disbelief."

Poklop earned the 10th All-America certificate in the history of the Cardinals' program and the fifth since 2010. A total of 501 All-America awards have been bestowed to 197 North Central men's track and field athletes.

• Lewis' Abby Tripp (Conant) earned all-American distinction after finishing twelfth in the 10,000 meter run with a final time of 36:08.95 at the NCAA women's championships in Bradenton, Fla.

• Please email items to jleusch@dailyherald.com

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