For those from the Lake Zurich area who tuned in to watch the NFL draft on Thursday night, the tension began to escalate about five picks into the first round. It was already several picks past the point where some pundits had local product Anthony Castonzo being selected; many thought that the Buffalo Bills, who had the third pick overall, would select the 6-foot, 311-pound offensive lineman.
But the Bills opted for Alabama junior defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, proving that mock drafts are mostly good for one thing—proving afterwards how inaccurate and unscientific they actually turn out being.
Several tackles were chosen in front of Castonzo, including South Carolina junior Tyron Smith in the nine-spot by Dallas, followed by Colorado senior Nate Solder, the 17th pick by New England. With an ESPN crew on hand, Castonzo, his family and friends watched the draft at Oregano’s in Hawthorn Woods, the Italian eatery that his parents own. The wait to be drafted lasted for well over two hours.
The New York Giants were also rumored to be interested in adding Castonzo to their O-line, but decided to draft the highly-touted Nebraska cornerback Prince Amukamara, who was projected to be picked much earlier but tumbled to the 19th spot.
Finally, at 9:18 p.m., the Indianapolis Colts selected Castonzo with the 22nd pick, and he could be seen doffing a Colts cap and beaming widely. Not only was the long wait over, but the 2006 Lake Zurich High School graduate will be given the awesome task of protecting Peyton Manning, arguably the greatest quarterback of his era, and certainly one of the greatest QBs of all time.
As alluded to last week in this column, Castonzo, who attended Boston College, became the first-ever first round draft choice from Lake County. The earliest selection before this draft was Stevenson graduate Matt O’Dwyer, chosen by the Jets in the second round in 1995.
Congratulations to Castonzo and his entire family, including his father, Bill, his mother Shari, and older siblings Billy, Krystin and Carissa.
Lake Zurich High School was the host of the Special Olympics this past Saturday for Area 13 in northeastern Illinois. Area 13 was founded in 2010 and provides programming for residents of Lake and McHenry counties. LZ District 95 sponsors the Special Needs Athletic Program, an after-school opportunity for students ages eight to 18. The program provides extracurricular activities for special-needs athletes, and is given a great deal of assistance by many area high school students, as well as staff volunteers.
Starting Saturday morning at 8 a.m. with track-and-field events, the games also featured opening ceremonies at 9 a.m. District 95 middle school and high school students volunteered their time to oversee the various events.
The Lake Zurich High School girl’s softball team split a doubleheader with Elk Grove on Saturday. The Bears are now 11-5 on the season after getting shut out 1-0 in the first game before taking the second contest, 5-4.
Kelly Neises went 3-for-3 with a double in the opener, and pitcher Megan Mattera suffered the loss, even though she fanned 12 batters. Mattera yielded just two hits while walking a total of three.
Mattera also started the second game, and this time she was the winner. She struck out another six and gave up just two walks, improving her record to 9-5. She was also her own best friend at the plate, slamming a pair of doubles.
Mattera had a total of three hits on the day, including the game-winner in the bottom of the seventh. Neises, Maria Schroeder, Carlee Parsons and Tab Bohac each had two hits for Lake Zurich. Parsons also chipped in with a double.
The Lake Zurich High School girls lacrosse team split a pair of games last week, defeating Stevenson before falling 11-5 to Lake Forest.
“It was a positive week,” Lake Zurich coach Julie Bryniczka said. “We’re doing well. Our transitioning and our passing and teamwork are getting better. They have really worked as a team to get better and that has made us much better.”
In spite of the Bear’s loss to Lake Forest, Bryniczka liked how her team competed against one of the top programs in the state. “We played very well against Lake Forest. We did everything really well. We didn’t execute,” she said. “We dropped balls and did not make shots. I was extremely proud of them. They didn’t give up against a great team. The girls were not intimidated. They wanted to win. They gave 100 percent effort. We just couldn’t finish.”
Two standout players on Lake Zurich are senior center-A-wing Kristy Peterson—whose parents helped start the Lake Zurich Lacrosse Club—and goalie Alexandra Sopozy. “She’s truly been the star of every game,” said Bryniczka of Sopozy. “She keeps the defense moving. She’s really good. She makes an incredible amount of saves.”
Lake Zurich was 7-3 through the end of last week. Their 3-1 in conference record is second to Lake Forest.