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A reason to feel good about high school sports … – Lake County News

October 14, 2013 6:50PM

Carmel High grad Jordan Koss is the short-yardage and goal-line running back for Winona State University. | WINONADAILYNEWS.COM PHOTO


Updated: October 15, 2013 2:40AM

News you can use … or maybe not.

On graduation day at Lake Forest High School in June of 2015, Jacques Zureikat literally will be at the back of the line, as the school acknowledges its grads and passes out diplomas in alphabetical order.

But in terms of being a good sport and an upright student-athlete at Lake Forest, Jacques moved to the very front of the line for something he did last week at the IHSA Class 3A regional golf tournament hosted by Zion-Benton.

The junior battled the difficult Shepherd’s Crook Golf Course all day, and the course won, as the teen shot an 86 — great by weekend-duffer standards but not up to par for him.

At the course, a big scoreboard was set up to follow the team competition, as high school teams tried to win the regional championship plaque and/or finish in the top three to qualify for the sectional.

When Zureikat’s score was posted on the official board, he was listed as having shot an 81.

Before all the scores were posted and the team results finalized, Zureikat notified Zion-Benton athletic director Lonnie Bible that his score was posted incorrectly.

When asked if he thought his score should have been better, Zureikat replied, “No, I think I shot worse.”

It turned out that Zion-Benton officials posting the results misread one of the numbers on Zureikat’s scorecard.

In the end, Lake Forest finished second in the team scoring and qualified for the sectional, even with Zureikat’s 86. And while the Scouts still would have finished second, one shot behind the winner if Jacques hadn’t spoken up, the point is, he DID.

On Tuesday, his actual score of 86 didn’t matter in terms of Lake Forest’s team success. What he did for sports and sportsmanship mattered a lot.

There are six area high school grads currently on the football roster at Winona State University in Minnesota, and two of the six are contributing on game day.

Warren High grad and Winona redshirt senior James Poliquin is a two-year starter at right tackle on offense. Carmel High grad Jordan Kos is a redshirt freshman short-yardage running back who would be a Fantasy Football player’s dream come true if there was such a thing for NCAA Division 2 football.

Koss is the team’s short-yardage running back, so even though he gets very few carries per game, he has already scored seven touchdowns in five games for the 3-2 team.

The other four local players at Winona are likely to be redshirted so they will have five years to get in four years of football game action. They are running back Direll Clark, linebacker Justin Bergeron and defensive back Andrew Spencer from Lakes, and running back Devonte Willcox-Ransom from Warren.

If you’re wondering why Winona has so many Lake County players, there’s a good reason for it. Almost no colleges in this part of the country play NCAA Division 2 football, which is scholarship football with a playoff at the end of the season.

All the small schools in Illinois (think Augustana, North Park, Millikin, etc.) play NCAA Division 3 ball (no athletic scholarships). The mid-size schools in Illinois play what used to be called NCAA Division 1-AA (SIU, EIU, WIU, ISU, etc.).

Across the border, all the Wisconsin-hyphen schools ­— Wis.-Stevens Point, Wis.-Stout, etc. — play NCAA Division 3.

As a result, Winona State has become the “home” team for NCAA Division 2-caliber players.

By the way, if you’re looking for the next local player who wants to play at Winona State and play immediately, look at your high school’s kicker.

If he can kick, Winona needs him. Their current guy is 1-for-4 on field goals this season, having made from 25 yards and missed from sure-make distances of 33, 34, and 37 yards.

For the record, you’re reading words written by someone who lives just off Delany Road on the Gurnee/Waukegan border — significant here only in that Delany Road has been torn up for so long, nobody in the neighborhood can remember what it was like when it WASN’T torn up for what allegedly is a road-improvement construction project.

With that as the backdrop, here’s a heart-felt sympathy hug to people living in the Round Lake(s) area, who have two major choices for traveling east/west through the community — Washington Street and Rollins Road — and have to deal with major construction projects on both of them.

Three times a week, the car in the county with the most miles on it has to navigate east/west through that area, and it can be brutal.

What must be really challenging is being a school-bus driver there and have to get the kids to/from Magee Middle School and Round Lake High School.

This is probably just the imagination run amok, but …

Based on the kids in the neighborhood, it sure seems like there is one early-dismissal school day and one late-start school day for every one regular-hours school day.

College of Lake County’s men’s basketball team will start its season this coming Saturday in Grayslake against the College of DuPage.

It’s technically called a scrimmage so it won’t count in the won-loss record.

CLC’s 16-player roster is good to go and features local grads from Zion-Benton (Owen Worthington, Curtis Cook, Dorsey Cadette and Gabe Ramirez), Waukegan (Demetrius Bankhead), North Chicago (Kevante Curry and Kelley Brown), Warren (Chadd Bailey), Antioch (Muhammed Abdellatif and Anthony Formella), Grant (Jerry Gaylor), Libertyville (Dan Ryan), and Round Lake (Zack Pick).

Aaron Simpson, the career basketball scoring leader at North Chicago High School, still has another year to play at Lincoln Junior College in the central part of Illinois.

After that … well, he recently made an official recruiting visit to Southern Illinois University so don’t be shocked if the high-scoring guard winds up playing for SIU in another year and against Illinois State University (same Missouri Valley Conference).

When Simpson was a senior at North Chicago, he signed a letter of intent to play at ISU, but for reasons that had nothing to do with basketball ability, he wound up at the juco in Lincoln.

He averaged 20 points per game last year for Lincoln.

The biggest problem with Aaron going to SIU would seem to be this: He is at his best when playing fast, and SIU plays slow.

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