With the calendar about to flip over to 2018, there is no better time to look back on the top Yorkville and Newark sports stories from 2017, to recognize the sensational performances of their athletes and more. Here is a look at some of those top stories:
Foxes record a 4A first
History beckoned, and Katie Nolan and Yorkville answered.
Nolan had 20 points and 13 rebounds, Lauren Daffenberg added 18 points and the Foxes used a huge 18-0 second-half run to rout Naperville Central, 65-48, in a regional final in February.
It was Yorkville’s first regional title in 15 years, and first since the IHSA expanded to four classes – for boys or girls basketball. Yorkville, which finished 26-3, also matched a program win record set by the 1981 sectional champions.
“I wanted to go with a bang,” said Nolan, a senior who graduated as Yorkville’s career scoring and rebounding leader. “This feels amazing.”
Norsemen burn a path
back to Peoria
Colfax Ridgeview came in with the No. 1 ranking, its star Tyler McCormick the reputation.
It was nothing Steve McGrath couldn’t handle.
Newark’s ace defender chased and frustrated the Ridgeview star for four quarters, and Newark sprung a 43-32 supersectional upset to advance to state for the first time since the 2011 team won state.
Newark, led by All-State guard Will Clausel and fellow seniors Cameron Myre and McGrath, and junior starters Dylan Patrick and Beau Brown, ended up fourth in Class 1A.
“I wish our season could have ended like theirs did in 2011,” Clausel said, “but like coach said there’s little kids that are looking up to us now like we looked up to those  guys.”
Foxes win baseball regional
Mark Sommers’ sweet lefty swing, with his hand wrapped in tape to cover blisters from extra hitting work, had plenty of life left in it.
Sommers hit a walkoff homer to send the Foxes into a regional final, where his three-run triple opened the floodgates to Yorkville’s 13-2 win over Oswego East in a Class 4A regional final in May.
Yorkville finished 30-5, shattering the program record for wins. A balanced team led by Brendon Reifsteck, Ty Liaromatis and Stephen Sewruk won the program’s first 4A regional title, the first at any level since 2002.
“It’s very gratifying to win this,” Yorkville coach Scott Luken said. “It’s a testament to these guys buying in and believing what we’re doing.”
Freshman leads Newark
spikers to state
She’s a freshman?
Yeah, she’s a freshman.
Newark freshman outside hitter Madi Malone posted 32 kills in one match this fall, and shattered her program’s single-season kills record.
She was just getting started.
Malone had 18 kills and 16 digs, sophomore Mattie Chapman had seven kills and setter Olivia Nelson as the Norsemen outlasted Lexington in three sets in November to advance to state for the first time in program history.
Newark finished fourth at state, with a program-record 34 wins. Better yet, most of the Norsemen spikers will be back next year.
“I’m not sure what it feels like to go to state,” Newark coach Tonya Grayson said after the supersectional win. “It’s a first for me, and my girls are taking me.”
Yorkville cross country
Alyssa Edwards was part of two cross country state champions at Yorkville. She took second twice, including this fall.
This latest achievement topped them fall.
Edwards and Yorkville took second place at the Nike Cross Nationals Midwest Regionals meet in November. In doing so, the Foxes qualified for Nike Cross Nationals for the first time in program history. Edwards, Emily Eberhart, Helena Kleronomos and the rest of the Foxes placed 18th at nationals in December in Portland.
“We’ve had this in our sights for the last two years,” Edwards said. “State championships are wonderful and a huge accomplishment, but this has been a goal of our program for a while.”