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Prep sports in Lake County are second to none

Carmel High School’s Jake Cochrane | SUN-TIMES MEDIA PHOTO

Carmel High School’s Jake Cochrane | SUN-TIMES MEDIA PHOTO

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Updated: February 25, 2013 12:24PM

Antioch High School cheer coach Robin Gwinn was correct when she said recently that the North Suburban Conference was the most competitive league in the state in the sport of cheering.

And that fact will be supported this weekend and next when the IHSA holds its sectional and state tournaments in the sport.

North Suburban Conference teams may not win, but they’ll be all over the leader board.

But what Gwinn’s view on cheering did was start a discussion of the team sports at the high school level in Illinois in which Lake County schools dominate.

This was a list three not-so-great minds came up with:

■ Boys golf. (Our teams always are in the hunt for the team title. In girls golf, we’ve had great individuals but not great teams).

■ Girls field hockey. (Lake Forest rules).

■ Boys basketball (When North Chicago makes it downstate this year, it will be seven straight years that a Lake County team has finished in the Final Four in either Class 3A or 4A).

■ Boys soccer (Five straight years with a Final Four finish at state in the big-school division.

■ Poms/dance.

■ Girls Gymnastics (Carmel’s the three-time defending state champ and Stevenson had a four-year title run earlier in the century).

■ Boys bowling (Vernon Hills has had a great run, though we fear that’s ending and no other school in the county is ready to elevate to the elite level).

Grappling with success

Grant High School grad/Northwestern University redshirt sophomore Lee Munster is having a nice year on the collegiate mat.

Competing at 174 pounds, Munster — a three-time state champion in high school — is 16-4 on the season and currently is ranked No. 8 in the nation in his weight class by Amateur Wrestling News.

The bad news is that five of the six top wrestling teams in the nation are Big Ten Conference schools, and none of the five are Northwestern.

Penn State tops the list.

Grappling with success II

In this corner of the world, we’re big fans of youth sports.

For one, they prepare the top athletes for competition at the high school level and beyond.

More importantly, they give kids a structured activity for after school to chew up what could otherwise be idle time.

The math on this is simple: 8 hours for school, 3 hours for after-school sports, 8 hours for sleep, 1.5 hours for homework, and 2.5 hours to text and tweet on the iphone.

That leaves, by unofficial count, zero time to wonder around getting into trouble.

In any case, one such important youth program is the Zion-based Zee-Bee Stingers wrestling organization.

It’s a not-for-profit group that relies on contributions from the community.

One such key contributor to the Stingers was the Waukegan Consumer Credit Union, and the Stingers wanted the group to be recognized, along with Gayhart Sileola, who worked with the WCCU to help out the Stingers.

Grappling with success III

Carmel High School’s Jake Cochrane remains the No. 1-ranked heavyweight wrestler in the state in Class 2A (smaller schools) by Web site

His only loss all year was 3-1 to Alex Fritz of Marmion. Fritz is ranked No. 6 in the big-school class.

Putting up an error ball

A story in your paper the other day suggested that the current cheer squad at the College of Lake County was the first cheer squad the school has as had.

That, apparently, is not so. Way, way back in the day — like 40-plus years ago ere apparently was a CLC cheer squad.

There will be more on this, hopefully, next week.

Parting shots

■ Next year’s Super Bowl will be played in New Jersey/New York. Imagine if the game is played in a blizzard or in below-0 temperature.

■ The Cubs are spending millions and millions on improving Wrigley Field conditions for players. Which begs the question: When have you ever heard a player say he shunned the Cubs’ higher free-agent offer because the team’s clubhouse was too small?

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