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New TF South track facility officially dedicated to Rich Dust – and local scores

LANSING, Ill. (May 15, 2024) – This was not just another track meet for TF South.

When the Red Wolves hosted the South Suburban Blue Meet on May 8, the day began with the official dedication of the school’s new facility as Rich Dust Track.

Dust, who died in January after battling cancer, was a part of the TF South track community for decades — first as an athlete, then as a coach. After he retired from teaching and coaching, he stayed close to the sport as an official and he was on the District 215 school board when it oversaw a major upgrade of the facility. Now there is an eight-lane track, new jump runways and the return of the pole-vault area after a decades-long absence.

Members of Dust’s family were on hand for the ceremony, which included remarks from District 215 superintendent John Robinzine, a former TF South track coach who called Dust “a true mentor to me.”

District 215 superintendent John Robinzine spoke at the dedication ceremony. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

It was an emotional day for Barb Dust, Rich’s widow, and Ellie Belli, his daughter who followed in his footsteps as TF South coach.

“I’ve been kind of crying all day,” Barb Dust said. “But he’d be so happy, especially because it’s an eight-lane (track) and we can (now) host a conference meet.”

The Dust family sat with members of the D215 Board of Trustees during the brief ceremony that dedicated the new TF South track to Rich Dust. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

During the track reconstruction process, Barb Dust said, she and Rich would drive by at least once a week to check on the progress of the project.

“He was thrilled when the surface was put down,” she said. “He didn’t see it lined but he knew it was going to be really good.”

Rich Dust’s widow Barb (left) and daughter Jennifer Cottrill were presented with a plaque of a Lansing Journal article about Rich Dust’s legacy. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

Belli, who also spoke during the ceremony, had a lot on her plate.

“Yes, I had a hard time switching from coaching to the dedication and then back to coaching,” she said. “It was a hard day. But a good day too.

“It was kind of surreal being on the track. … It was very emotional.”

Ellie Belli is a daughter of Rich Dust, and a current TFS track coach. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

What would Rich have said if he were there?

“Probably, ‘Red Wolves spirit is alive and well,'” Belli said. “And the thing that got me … he would have loved to start this meet (as an official). He really had a knack for encouraging kids and being patient with them. He would be very pleased with how this turned out.”

TF South Principal Jacob Gourley speaks about Rich Dust at the new track and field facility that bears Dust’s name. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)
Rich Dust
The Lansing Association for Community Events (LACE), as well as other local supporters, were present at the dedication ceremony last week. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

South finished runner-up in the seven-team meet with 121 points with senior Karrel Harvest and junior David Nkwogu leading the way.

Harvest swept the throws with a personal-best 182-9 in the discus and a 58-6.5 in the shot put.

Nkwogu had three PRs: 40.64 for second in the 300-meter hurdles, 46-0.5 for second in the triple jump and 15.75 for third in the 110 hurdles. He also took third in the long jump (19-11.75).

Elsewhere for the Red Wolves, John Carson was runner-up in the 800 (2:04.38), the 1,600 relay team was second in a season-best 3:33.89, Kevin Rincon took third in the shot (42-0) and the 3,200 and 400 relay teams both finished third.

Girls track

The Red Wolves qualified one individual and one relay for this weekend’s IHSA Class 3A state finals in Charleston.

Jordyn Clark was fourth in the long jump (17-11.25) and she joined Taylor Poole, Janiya Lucas, and Nyrobi Moore on the fourth-place 400 relay team (49.25) at last Friday’s Lockport Sectional.

The Red Wolves finished eighth among 14 teams with 34 points.

Baseball

Andrew Danehl pitched a two-hitter with four strikeouts and two walks as the Red Wolves (18-12, 11-5 South Suburban Blue) blanked Bremen 9-0 on Monday.

Moises Mata was 2-for-2 with three RBI and Tyler Earmsmuth scored three times.

South lost 10-5 to Richards on Saturday. Khanon Gresham was 2-for-4 with a double and two runs, Jake Stachelski went 2-for-3 with two RBI, and Mata contributed a double and two RBI.

Danehl was 3-for-3 with three doubles, three runs, and three RBI in a 16-0 shutout of Hammond Morton on Friday. Josh Moss was 2-for-3 with two runs and Mata struck out four in three innings.

South fell 5-1 to Oak Forest on May 7. Mata homered and Benny Gutierrez allowed one run over four innings.

Badminton

South’s two doubles teams — Annika Biegel/Emily Dominiak and Azuri Akbar/Deisy Salto — each went 0-2 at the IHSA state tournament last weekend in DeKalb.

Softball

The Red Wolves (8-18, 6-10 South Suburban Blue) lost 9-8 to Bremen on Monday, 14-3 to Argo on May 9, 11-3 to Tinley Park on May 7 and 16-0 to Oak Forest on May 6, South also blanked TF North 10-0 on May 8.

TF United

Girls soccer

United shut out Richards 7-0 on Saturday in the Class 3A Joliet West Regional quarterfinals.

Karen Zepeda had three goals and an assist for United in its first postseason win since 2011. Teniola Odutusin added two goals and an assist, Anaiyelli Martinez contributed a goal and an assist, Janaliz Meraz scored one goal, Lucia Terrazas had two assists, and Azul Garcia chipped in with one assist.

United lost 4-0 to Lemont on May 8. Goalkeeper Angela Mendez had six saves.

Boys volleyball

United beat Bremen 25-20, 25-23 on May 7.

TF North

Baseball

The Meteors (4-23) lost 15-0 and 12-0 to Lemont on May 6 and fell 11-0 to Shepard on May 8.

Softball

The Meteors (5-19) lost 10-0 to Evergreen Park on May 7 and was swept 17-0 and 16-0 by Lemont on May 6.

MaKyla Taylor was 1-for-2 against Evergreen Park. Christiana Spears was 1-for-1 and Jimena Jimenez went 1-for-2 in Game 1 vs. Lemont and Alayna Cain-Brown was 1-for-2 in the nightcap.

Illiana Christian

Softball

The Vikings (17-3, 10-0 Greater South Shore) completed an unbeaten run to a conference title by knocking off Bishop Noll 14-4 on Friday.

Avery Martin was 3-for-4 with a homer and three RBI, Alyssa Mulder went 3-for-4 with two doubles and two RBI, Lydia VanderWoude finished 3-for-4 and Cayden Petersen went 2-for-2. Mikayla Derks and Petersen combined on a seven-hitter with seven strikeouts.

Illiana also beat Noll 8-0 on May 6. Derks pitched a three-hitter and fanned 10, reaching 500 strikeouts for her career. VanderWoude was 2-for-3, Libby Kreykes went 2-for-4 with a triple and two RBI, Adeline Mulder tripled and drove in two runs, and Alyssa Mulder had a double and an RBI.

Baseball

The Vikings (12-8, 8-1 Greater South Shore) blanked Bishop Noll 10-0 on May 6 and lost 7-1 to South Bend St. Joseph on Friday.

Gavin Meyer had a bases-loaded triple and Isaac VanderWoude slugged a two-run triple vs. Noll. VanderWoude, Spencer Bandstra, Jake Scott, and Aaron Gouwens had two hits each.

Girls tennis

Illiana edged Munster 3-2 on May 7.

Picking up wins for the Vikings were Avery Olthof at No. 2 singles, Sienna Eenigenburg at No. 3 singles and Morgan Smith and Aubrey VanBeek at No. 2 doubles. Smith and VanBeek rallied after dropping the first set 6-1, winning the last two 6-1 and 6-2.

Marian Catholic

Girls track

The Spartans qualified four individuals and two relays for state from the Class 2A Hillcrest Sectional on May 8.

Moving on for Marian are sophomore Brooklyn Holmes (third. PR of 12.27) and junior Autumn Price (fifth, 12.52) in the 100, sophomore Ava Holman (fifth, PR of 16.27) in the 100 hurdles, sophomore Nkechi Okanu (PR of 33-1.75) in the shot put, the 400 relay team of junior Syvonna Perry, Price, sophomore McKenzie Mixson, and Holmes in the 400 relay (third, 49.00), and the 800 relay team of Price, Mixson, sophomore Tyisha Jackson, and Holmes (second, 1:45.61).

Marian finished fifth among 14 teams with 67 points.

Boys volleyball

The Spartans went 1-4 at last weekend’s Evanston Tournament to move to 25-9.

Marian beat Grayslake North 25-20, 25-17 and lost 25-18, 16-25, 17-15 to Palatine on Friday. The Spartans then fell 25-21, 25-21 to Loyola; 35-33, 12-25, 15-11 to Jones; and 25-13, 25-18 to St. Charles North on Saturday.

The Spartans beat Joliet Catholic 25-14, 30-28 on May 9 and defeated St. Patrick 27-25, 25-27, 27-25 on May 7.

Leading the way against St. Patrick were Justin McGary (10 kills, 26 assists, 6 digs), Phoenix McGruder (12 kills, 7 digs), James Bullock Jr. (13 kills), and Patrick Sullivan (12 digs).

South Suburban College

Baseball

The Bulldogs finished the season 30-29 after losing 5-2 to McHenry and 2-1 to Triton in the NJCAA Division I Region IV playoffs on Friday.

Shane Jones was 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI against McHenry. Keagan Bobbitt had a no-decision against Triton, pitching three-hit, one-run ball over seven innings with 10 strikeouts and three walks.

South Suburban opened the playoffs with a 3-2 win against Triton on May 8. Nathaniel MacNamara was 1-for-4 with a double and two RBI, while Luka Zakman got the win, allowing one run and two hits over 7 1/3 innings. He struck out six and walked four.

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Mike Clark
Mike Clarkhttps://muckrack.com/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.

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