By Anthony Jones
The first ever “summer” sports season in Illinois high school sports history wrapped up recently and Triad’s athletic teams certainly made the most of the stretch. Across all sports competing during the season, the Knights recorded 22 State Final qualifications.
Leading the way by qualifying for the IHSA State Finals in 7 different events, Triad’s boys track and field team had a big summer. Their 4×100 meter relay team of Cory Warren, CJ Edison,Ethan Maxwell, and Juliano Cigliana was among the qualifiers as well as the 4×200 meter team of Warren, Edison, Cigliana, and Tristan Darby.
Edison, a senior, also qualified in the 100 meter and 200 dashes. Also a slew of events was Cigliana who competed in the long jump. Caleb Rutz also represented Triad at the state meet in the pole vault.The 1600 meter run also saw a Knight in the form of Drake Bleier.
On the girls side, Triad’s track team also had a slew of qualifiers at five. In the 4×800 meter relay, Trid was represented by Sydney Hartoin, Alyssa Kowalski, Haley Jackson, and Mattie Noyes. Hartoin and Kowalski would later team up with Kayla Edwards and Makenna Frierdich in the 4×400 relay. The Lady Knights also competed in the 4×200 race with the quartet of Morgan Noyes, Maddy Schmidt, Rachel Yates, and Riley Cissell.
Several Triad runners also qualified as individuals. In the 400 meter dash, Hartoin represented Triad and Edwards ran the 300 hurdles race. Morgan Noyes also made it to the state’s culminating meet in the pole vault.
Competing in the Illinois Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association state tournament, several Triad grapplers also qualified for state finals. Five Knights made it to the meet of the year. Those state qualifiers were Seth Brooks, Collin North, Aiden Postma, Chance Seip, and Chase Hall.
Triad also made their name known on the tennis courts this summer. Qualifying as an individual, senior Jaden Henderson led the charge for the Knights at the IHSA State Finals. The doubles team of Jake Stewart and Kyle Langenstein also made their way to state, as did fellow pairing Marc Froicoeur and Dillon Henderson.
The lone team to make their way to the State Finals as a whole for Triad during the season was the Lady Knights Soccer team. Undefeated throughout their season, the team battled Joliet Catholic in the state championship game.
After punching their tickets to the state finals, plenty of Knights made good on their opportunities. King of which was the Lady Knights soccer team, who brought home a state championship with a 1-0 victory. Their IHSA crown was the eighth in Triad history and the program’s third.
Another top finish came from the girls track 4×800 relay of Hartoin, Kowalski, Jackson, and Noyes. Their unit took third overall at the State Finals. Hartoin also finished third in the 400 meter dash. Other members of the team to earn All-State spots at the meet were Edwards in the 300 hurdles and the 4×400 relay of Kowalski, Hartoin, Frierdich, and Edwards who both finished ninth overall.
Chase Hall also brought home a medal for Triad, his from the state wrestling meet. He finished fifth overall at the IWCOA State Finals.
With a seventh place finish in the pole vault, Rutz was yet another Knight to earn an All-State spot. Running the 100 meter dash, Edison also raced to an eleventh place finish at the same meet.
The tennis Knights racked up their best overall performance at State in their program history. Jaden Henderson battled his way to a top thirteen spot, the best in school history. Also earning an All-State spot was the doubles team of Stewart and Langenstein.
On the baseball diamond, Drew Watts also earned an All-State spot. The pitcher and third baseman was voted to the squad by the Illinois Baseball Coaches Association.
Triad racked up several postseason achievements before the State Finals rounds as well. For the first team in school history, the Lady Knights track team won their Sectional. The win was thanks to a comeback by passing East St.Louis in overall points in the final race of the day.
Just one day later after the girl’s track team won their Sectional title, the boys tennis team brought another one home. Their sectional title was their fourth consecutive, the longest active streak at Triad.
The next week, the Knights had three shots at IHSA Sectional titles over the course of two days. On June 10, the boys track squad travelled to Springfield and won Triad’s second Sectional title of the season. The win was their third consecutive, after previously not having won one.
One day later, Triad had two sectional championship bouts. The baseball Knights played first and went to extra innings with the Charleston Trojans, but ultimately lost 8-7. On the soccer pitch, Triad had better luck later in the day as the Lady Knights soccer team won their sectional match 1-0 over the Waterloo Bulldogs.
Mississippi Valley Conference play was another high point for Triad. Of the 7 sports seasons, the Knights won an impressive 4 conference titles. In two of the three sports they did not win, they competed against eventual state championship teams.
In a familiar sight, the Triad wrestling team was among Triad’s MVC champions during the summer. The win was their fourteenth consecutive in conference, coming with a 5-0 record at the meet.
Also a familiar name atop the conference, Triad’s girls soccer team won a conference crown. The team finished the regular season with a 10-0 record against MVC foes. During the postseason, they eliminated three conference opponents as well.
Another dominant season in conference play came from the Knights tennis squad. The team swept away their competition at the conference tournament to win yet another MVC crown for the school.
With a 9-1 record in conference play, the baseball Knights also finished atop the league. They dropped one match with the Highland Bulldogs during the season, but their rivals could not keep pace as they dropped games against two other MVC units.
Another highlight of the “summer” season was Triad’s success in defending their home field. Their teams went a combined 39-4 at home, giving them a winning percentage over ninety. This was a sizable improvement over their overall winning percentage of seventy five.