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VOTE: New Lenox's 2011-12 Athlete of the Year

I took readers' nominations for 2011-12's best local athlete, and now it's up to your vote.

VOTE: New Lenox's 2011-12 Athlete of the Year

The nominations are in, and it's up to your vote now to name the 2011-12 New Lenox Patch athlete of the year.

With three high schools and fantastic youth sports in New Lenox, there's no shortage of athletic talent here. After a week of nominations, we got seven names for you to consider. Read below for a short description of the athletes, with words provided by the people who nominated them, and then vote in the poll.

Want to state your case to other readers? Then talk up your favorite in the comments. Voting ends at 5 p.m. Friday, June 29.

Here's the nominations received from parents, coaches and others in the community, and their words as to why these students should be considered the local Athlete of the Year.

Morgan Flaherty, bowling,

Morgan was a Junior this year, and she had a year that Seniors would hope for. As a Junior She averaged 198. Her are some of the results this year.

Morgan help West win the new Lincoln-Way cup against all the other Lincoln-Way schools. She won the High Game award during the Joliet West Grind Fest. She finished 1st Place durning the Reavis Cup. She finished 2nd place for a bid to the IHSA State tournament. And last but not least, Morgan won the IHSA State Championship. This was the first champion of L-W West History, so this was a big deal.

Outside of High School bowling, Morgan continues to shine with the sport. During her league bowling, and all the USBC tournaments, she won the coveted honor of being Princess of the court for her age group. This is a combination of points from every league game, through every tournament bowled. Morgan ended up with the most points within her age group, through the whole Joliet Bowling Assoication. 

Morgan also qualified first to make it to the Pepsi State Bowling Championship in her zone. While at the Pepsi tournament, she finished 8th in the state.

She continues to push her bowling to the highest limits in and out of school, which shows a great example of what is needed to succeed in this sport. She helps me help the other bowlers all year long, which helps the whole team achieve greatness. I am her High School Bowling Coach and could not be more proud of her accomplishments. Next step is Senior year and to help get her signed to a college team, but after this year, I believe she has a written ticket all ready.

Danijela Jackovich, water polo/swimming, Lincoln-Way Central 

State qualifier in back and fly. Set school records in fly and free. Holds scoring record at LWC for polo. 1st selection all-sectional, 1st team all state and all conference. 3 time team MVP in swimming and water polo.
Southtown's Athlete of the year for Water Polo.

1st in her class of 471. inducted into National Honor Society. Participated in science club, Mathletes ( conference champs, regional champs and state qualifier).

She was captain of the USA Youth National Polo Team that traveled to Hungary go train against the Hungarian national teams last summer. 3 time all-conference,all- sectional and all-state. Academic All-American in swimming and waterpolo. Danijela has been a leader in the pool since her freshman year. She is most proud of the accomplishments of her team this year and the growth that they have achieved.

Eddie Klimara, wrestling, 

Eddie was wrestler of tr for the conference, only the second person to win the Dvorak Wresting all four years, he was a state finalist all four years, winning twice ('09 and '12) he was nominated for the states wrestler of the year. He lead the team in takedowns, wins, pins. He was the Fox news high school wrestler of the week.

He's a mentor to kids wrestling, helping at kids camp. Eddie will be heading to Oklahoma State University in the fall.

Marco Pettinato, football/basketball/track,

Marco captained the Illinois T-Wolves state championship AAU boys basketball team. He also played on the Illinois Speed boys basketball team who finished 4th. in the Nation. Marco played with the Liberty Junior High eighth-grade boys basketball team as a seventh grader, helping them acheive 4th. place at this years Illinois state finals.

Marco played football with the New Lenox Junior Knights where he helped the team to 3-0 start prior to a season ending injury in the fourth game of the season. Marco accounted for 10 touchdowns during the teams three-game undefeated run.

Marco also competed with the seventh-grade Liberty Junior High track and field team as a sixth-grader. Marco won both conference and Sectionals in the boys discus event and placed 3rd. in shot put. Marco ultimately placed 9th in discus and 14th. in shot put at the Illinois state finals, again competing 1 year up.

Returning as a 7th. grader in 2012 Marco broke his own school discus record with a toss of 142.3' as well as the current shot put record now at 43.7'. Both set the previous year. He won conference and sectionals in both discus and shot put. He completed the 2012 season as Illinois State Champion in the discus event and placed third in shot put.

Marco was inducted into the 2012 class of Junior National Honor Society. He also maintained a cumulative GPA of 5.0084. Marco has assisted with concession duties at Liberty Junior High sporting events as well as community service on serveral occasions at Our Lady of Good Council Church and plans to continue to do so over the summer.

Marco is a great example of what a student athlete should represent. He is recognized by his peer athletes and coaches as a great teammate as well as an extarordinary athlete. Faculty members at Liberty Junior High attest to Marco's commitment in the classroom and excellent leadership qualities as well as his being a positive role model for his fellow students both in and out of the classroom.

Rachel Post, basketball/soccer, Lincoln-Way Central

In her second sport Basketball, she was team captain, team MVP for the second year, All-Conference for the second year and 2nd team All-Area for the second year. LWCHS were the Thanksgiving Tournament Champions and she was All-Tournament. She averaged 7 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals a game.

In soccer, she was a 4 year starter and captain of her team. She led them to a 16-9 record and was named team Shining Knight. They conference co-champions, regional champions (3rd in her 4 years). She was All-Conference for the third year, named Joliet Herald and Chicago Fire/Southtown All-Area for the second straight year and was on the All-State team. She was also 1st team Chicago Fire All-State All-Academic. She scored 22 goals and had 11 assists. Invited to the 2011 People to People Soccer Ambassador Program.

4.975 GPA, four-year Mathlete, four-time Mathlete All-Conference, four Mathlete Conference Championships and three Mathlete Regional Championships, qualified for the State Mathlete contest all four years. National Honors Society, Mu Alpha Theta (Math Honors Society), two-year Link Crew Leader, Student Council, seven-year Vacation Bible School Teacher, 2012 Abby Foundation Athlete of the year and 2012 IHSA All-State Academic Team Nominee.

Rachel is a soft spoken leader on and off the field or court. She has unique character, heart, and ability. Her understanding of the game, her positioning, her capability of seeing the field and the intangibles of her unselfishness make her an ideal team player. She is an impact player just as comfortable being a playmaker as she is finishing.

Tommy Schuman, baseball/golf, Lincoln-Way Central

 Tom was the captain of this year's LWC boys' varsity golf team. He was All-Conference for the second consecutive season and finished second in the SWSC Conference tournament, shooting a 3-over par 75 at the Sanctuary Golf Course. 

Tom also led his team to their first-ever Providence Catholic Invite, also played at Sanctuary, shooting a 4-over par 76 and finishing in the top 10 among 120 golfers. 

Tom shot a 75 at the Plainfield Central Invite, played at Mistwood Golf Course, finishing third out of 100 golfers. In other tournaments, Tom shot 76 at the Will County Invite, finishing in the top 10, and a 76 at the La Salle Peru Invite, leading his team to its second consecutive championship. 

The LWC boys varsity golf team went undefeated in dual meets in the fall of 2011. Tom led the Knights with a streak of 19 consecutive dual victories with a 9-hole average of 38.7. 

Tom was a four-year honor roll student at Lincoln-Way Central, earning high honors his senior year. In February, he was accepted into the University of Minnesota. He was active in Peace Community Church. He was an adaptive PE leader, spending time with students with special needs. 

This award would be a posthumous award, since Tom passed away on March 31, 2012. The outpouring of students and community and church members at Tom's funeral was a testament to the love of the Lincoln-Way communiy for a wonderful 18-year-old student. 

Allie Strick, softball, Providence Catholic

Led her team to best finish in school history: 3rd place in 3A State Finals. Broke single season school record for strikeouts with 178. She was an ESCC all conference selection. Finished the year with a pitching record of 17-4, 178 K, 1.77 ERA. She was named Joliet Herald player of the week once, and the Southtown Star player of the week once in two separate weeks. She was also our team Co-MVP and was a team captain.

She participated in Habitat for Humanity and was a member of AYM (Augustinian Youth Ministry). 

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