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Marian Catholic alum Rick Romeli returns to coach basketball – and other local scores

Marian Catholic

LANSING, Ill. (April 23, 2023) – For the first time in program history, a Marian Catholic alum will lead the Spartans’ boys basketball program.

Rick Romeli, a 2001 grad, was announced Monday as Marian’s new head coach. He replaces Mike Taylor, who stepped down after 20 seasons and more than 360 wins.

Rick Romeli. (Photo provided by Marian Catholic High School)

“As a coach and father, I now realize how much being a product of Marian’s basketball program has shaped my character and values,” Romeli said in a statement. “Returning to campus feels like home. … I am extremely blessed to have the opportunity to lead one of the premier high school programs in the Chicago area.”

Romeli has been associate head coach at Governors State University since 2014 and previously was on the staff at St. Xavier University. As a senior, he led Marian to the East Suburban Catholic Conference title. He went on to play basketball and baseball at St. Xavier, and is in that school’s Hall of Fame.

Marian athletic director Kevin Kelly said in a statement that Romeli “brings a number of essential elements to an already great program. He clearly has the basketball knowledge to keep the program operating at a very high level, and has the charisma and leadership skills to both develop young athletes and make Marian Catholic an attractive destination for prospective student-athletes.”


The Spartans scored seven runs in the third inning and went on to beat Minooka 10-1 on Tuesday.

Katie Pollock pitched a five-hitter with eight strikeouts for Marian (15-4) and also was 2-for-4 with a double and three RBI. Izzy Alvarez went 3-for-4 with an RBI and Gracie Jensen was 2-for-4 with two RBI.

Marian cruised to a 12-1 East Suburban Catholic win over Nazareth on Monday as Pollock threw a two-hitter with no earned runs, one walk and 10 strikeouts. She also was 2-for-4 with two RBI.

Also contributing offensively for the Spartans were Jensen (4-for-4, RBI, 3 steals), Jasmine Venson (3-for-4, double, 4 runs, 2 RBI), and Alvarez (2 RBI).


The Spartans split the first two games of their East Suburban Catholic series with Marist, winning 5-1 on Monday and losing 3-2 on Tuesday.

Mitchel Stanton pitched a three-hitter with two walks, no earned runs and six strikeouts in Monday’s win. Jacob Smevoli doubled twice and drove in a run.

Michael Bailey was the hard-luck loser on Tuesday for Marian (10-9, 3-3 ESCC), allowing three hits, no earned runs and two walks while striking out nine. Jonah Weathers went 2-for-3 with a double and a run, while Matthew Gonzalez doubled and drove in a run.

Boys tennis

The Spartans dropped a 4-1 East Suburban Catholic decision to Benet on Tuesday. Marian’s Nick Kirsch won 7-5, 6-3 at No. 1 singles.

Marian swept the doubles en route to a 4-1 win against Kankakee on Monday. Jon Bolton and Matt Jenkins won 6-3, 6-2 at No. 1 doubles, Aaron Yock and Nick Melbert prevailed 6-0, 7-5 at No. 2, and Julian Brown and Rishi Desai won 6-0, 6-0 at No. 3. RJ Macasaet was a 6-3, 6-4 winner at No. 2 singles.

Boys volleyball

The Spartans (17-5) fell 25-14, 25-21 to East Suburban Catholic rival Carmel on Tuesday. Justin McGary had 11 assists and Seb Jaculbe added seven digs.

Marian beat Homewood-Flossmoor 25-22, 25-18 on Monday. McGary had 14 assists and Jaculbe added seven digs.

TF South

TF South


The Red Wolves lost 17-7 to Lemont Tuesday in South Suburban Blue action. Leading the offense for South (8-10, 5-4 SSC Blue) were Jack Starcevich (2-for-2, walk, run), Jake Stachelski (2-for-2, RBI), Khanon Gresham (2-for-4, 2 runs, 2 steals), and Rakim Ali (2-for-3, double, run, 2 RBI).


South (11-7) beat Washington 12-1 last Friday as Emily Dominiak went the distance and drove in two runs. Izzy Sprehe was 2-for-3 and scored twice, while Rebekah Whitfield and Abby Kleidon each went 2-for-3 and scored a run.

TF United (TF South/TF North co-op)

Girls soccer

United kept rolling in the South Suburban Blue on Monday, beating Bremen 5-1 to improve to 9-4 overall and 7-1 in the conference.

Karen Zepeda had four goals, while her sister Berenice added a goal and two assists. Alanis Gonzalez, Katie Jaurez, and Jazmine Herrera each had one assist.

Boys volleyball

United knocked off Bremen 25-22, 22-25, 25-21 on Tuesday.

Boys tennis

United lost 5-0 to Bremen Tuesday in a match that was closer than the score indicated. Angel Urquzo at No. 1 singles and the No. 3 doubles team of Angel Ruiz and Sijuade Bello each took their opponents to three sets before falling.

Illiana Christian


Kevin Corcoran Jr. pitched one-run ball over five innings, striking out nine, as the Vikings beat Griffith 7-2 Tuesday to sweep a Greater South Shore series.

Tyler Balkema, Tanner Post, Isaac VanderWoude and Josh Vis had two hits each for Illiana (10-4, 7-0 GSSC).

VanderWoude hit a two-run homer as Illiana beat Griffith 10-2 on Monday. Spencer Bandstra got the win, allowing two runs and two hits over five innings while striking out six. Corcoran went 3-for-5.

The Vikings split with Lowell on Saturday, losing 3-2 and winning 9-7.

VanderWoude’s bases-loaded triple in the top of the seventh of the nightcap erased a 7-6 deficit. VanderWoude had two hits and three of Illiana’s 10 steals, while Matt Bultema also had two hits.

Balkema went 3-for-3 in the opener.


Mikayla Derks’ five-inning perfect game in an 11-0 win on Monday highlighted Illiana’s two-game sweep of Griffith in Greater South Shore action. She struck out eight and also was 3-for-3 with a double and four RBI.

Maya Wondaal went 2-for-3 with a double.

Freshman Cayden Peterson struck out seven over four innings and Mia VanProoyen worked the fifth to complete a one-hitter as the Vikings beat Griffith 16-0 on Tuesday.

Cheyenne DeJong was 3-for-3 with three RBI for Illiana (9-2, 7-0 GSSC), while Derks went 2-for-2 with a triple and four RBI. Lauren Sherwood and Lydia VanderWoude each finished 2-for-3.

Boys golf

The Vikings won a Greater South Shore triangular at Palmira’s back nine on Tuesday, shooting a 185 in cold, windy conditions to defeat Griffith (231) and Calumet (276).

Illiana’s Donny Woo, Zach Davids and Van Corcoran all shot 9-over 46 to share medalist honors. Isaac Sherwood had a 47 to round out the scoring.

Boys volleyball

Illiana beat Kankakee Valley 25-18, 18-25, 25-14, 25-19 on Monday.

The Vikings also finished third in Saturday’s Miller Invitational in Noblesville by beating Guerin Catholic 20-25, 25-15-1, 17-15, Earlier, they beat Ben Davis 25-10, 25-15, defeated Homestead 25-11, 25-18 and lost 25-23, 25-18 to Perry Meridian.

South Suburban CollegeSouth Suburban College

Men’s basketball

Sophomore guard Nakyel Shelton, who recently was named an NJCAA Division II First-Team All-American, will continue his career at Eastern Illinois.

Shelton averaged a double-double (23.6 points, 10.7 rebounds) for the Bulldogs as a sophomore, and also contributed 3.4 assists and 2.1 steals per game.

“I am excited about Nakyel’s signing and the opportunity he has to play at the Division I level,” SSC coach John Pigatti said in a statement. “He came to South Suburban in quest of getting to the Division I level, and his dream came true.”


Mike Clark
Mike Clark
Mike Clark is a veteran journalist who has been covering sports in the Chicago area and beyond, from preps to pros, for more than four decades.