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The Top 5 Sports Stories in Kane County for 2022

Here are the top five sports stories in the Kane County Chronicle coverage area this year, in no particular order, chosen by Jacob Bartelson.

Brian Hill/bhill@dailyherald.com
St. Charles East's head coach Jennifer Kull talks to her team during a time out during the IHSA Class 4A third-place game between Barrington and St. Charles East Saturday November 12, 2022 at Redbird Arena in Normal.

Brian Hill/bhill@dailyherald.com
St. Charles East’s head coach Jennifer Kull talks to her team during a time out during the IHSA Class 4A third-place game between Barrington and St. Charles East Saturday November 12, 2022 at Redbird Arena in Normal. (Brian Hill/)

Jennie Kull, Saints earn fourth in her final year as coach

It’s only fair Jennie Kull’s legendary coaching career had its final chapter written in Redbird Arena. After more than 700 career wins, two state championships, nine sectional championships and 18 regional titles, Kull and her Saints danced their way to a 33-9 mark and a fourth-place finish in the state tournament. It was a season full of dazzling performances from Kane County Chronicle Player of the Year Lia Schneider, Kate Goudreau and Co. We wish Kull the best of luck in retirement.

Members of the St. Charles North softball team celebrate winning the Class 4A state championship after defeating Chicago Marist 3-2 on Saturday, June 11, 2022 at the Louisville Slugger Complex in Peoria.

Members of the St. Charles North softball team celebrate winning the Class 4A state championship after defeating Chicago Marist 3-2 on Saturday, June 11, 2022 at the Louisville Slugger Complex in Peoria. (Scott Anderson/)

St. Charles North softball team wins Class 4A state title

The North Stars seemingly had the perfect storm of talent, clutch performances and a smidge of luck en route to capturing the program’s first state title. Kane County Chronicle Player of the Year Ava Goettel was magnificent all season. Goettel went 15-2 with a 2.24 ERA and 106 strikeouts in 110 innings. Sparks from Leigh VandeHei, Julia Larson, Paige Murray, Maddie Hernandez and more contributed to the magical run.

Loyola-Chicago junior Grace Hinchman. Photo courtesy of Steve Woltmann/Loyola Athletics.

Loyola-Chicago junior Grace Hinchman. Photo courtesy of Steve Woltmann/Loyola Athletics.

Grace Hinchman returns for Loyola after health scare

Grace Hinchman, a former Geneva star libero, is a junior at Loyola. Over the summer, Hinchman learned she is living with a seizure condition so rare that Northwestern Medicine said one in a million children are affected. The condition is FIRES (Febrile Infection-related Epilepsy Syndrome). In a 10-day period in June, Hinchman had 35 to 40 seizures. Hinchman returned to the volleyball court in time for the college season.

Kaneland High School student Leah Hayes recently competed in the 19th FINA World Championships in Budapest. Hayes is the 2022 Kane County Chronicle Female Athlete of the Year.

Kaneland High School student Leah Hayes recently competed in the 19th FINA World Championships in Budapest. Hayes is the 2022 Kane County Chronicle Female Athlete of the Year. (Photo provided by Mike Lewis/USA Swimming/)

Kaneland’s Leah Hayes stars at FINA World Championships

Leah Hayes, one of the nation’s top teenage swimmers, won two IHSA state titles. At the 19th FINA World Championships hosted in Budapest, Hungary, Hayes placed third in the 200 IM for a bronze medal. Hayes’ 2:08.81 time bested Chinese swimmer Yu Yiting’s mark of 2:09.57 that Yiting set at the Olympics last year. Hayes earned the Kane County Chronicle’s Female Athlete of the Year award.

Joe Lewnard/jlewnard@dailyherald.com
Batavia quarterback Ryan Boe (21) and his Bullldogs teammates congratulate Mount Carmel players for their 44-20 victory during the Class 7A football state title game at Memorial Stadium in Champaign on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022.

Joe Lewnard/jlewnard@dailyherald.com
Batavia quarterback Ryan Boe (21) and his Bullldogs teammates congratulate Mount Carmel players for their 44-20 victory during the Class 7A football state title game at Memorial Stadium in Champaign on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. (Joe Lewnard/)

Batavia football vs. Mount Carmel 2.0

No, the season did not end the way Batavia wanted it to with a state title. But the Bulldogs rebounded from a second-round postseason loss to Mount Carmel in controversial fashion last season and found enough juice to make a run to the Class 7A state title game. Their losses this season came against DuKane Conference champion St. Charles North; Wheaton North; Lincoln-Way East, which fell in the Class 8A state title game to Loyola Academy; and, of course, Mt. Carmel in the Class 7A state title game. Linebacker Tyler Jansey earned Kane County Chronicle Football Player of the Year honors after he led the team with 128 tackles, 17 for loss, and averaged nine tackles a game. Jansey had four sacks. Offensively, Jansey had 675 rushing yards on 89 carries and eight rushing touchdowns.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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