Is Glen Ellyn’s Ethan Cepuran the future of Illinois speed skating?

By Chris Kwiecinski
Medill Reports

Ethan Cepuran was simply trying to make it through the 2018 Junior World Championships with at least one top-20 finish.

After two days of skating against some of the world’s best up-and-coming speed skaters, the Glen Ellyn native hadn’t finished better than 25th. He even described his performance as poor.

Then, came the mass-start event.

Cepuran, who originally didn’t have spot in the mass start – an event where all competing skaters race at the same time – won silver in the race to secure that elusive top-20 finish.

“I was skating, and then I was on the podium,” he said. “It was all kind of a blur.”

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Wrigleyville memorabilia shop brings history to life

By Sarah Foster
Medill Reports

Tom Boyle can’t help but poke through his shelves. He’s in search of a movie poster that only he can visualize. It’s somewhere among the newspaper clippings, the vinyl records, the buttons and the books.

“Let me see,” he says, furrowing his brows and shuffling through his inventory.

After searching for a few minutes himself, he sends his colleague over to the other corner of the store, hoping he can help find it. Poking and prodding through the posters, the pair finally pull it out of the pile: “A Stratton Story.” Their eyes glance over the picture depicting the 1949 film about an injured baseball player. They notice the faded red-and-white hues and the way James Stewart embraces June Allyson.

“This is it,” Boyle says with a smile.

But they weren’t searching through their inventory for fun. They were hoping to retrieve the poster for a customer, who has the same last name as Stewart’s character.

“It’s like finding a home for abandoned children,” Boyle said. “When we can find a good home for these items, it makes us happy.”

Intimate customer service and an ability to provide rare items from the past are exactly how Boyle’s store, a memorabilia shop called Yesterday, has managed to stay open for 42 years.

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Coach Niraj Patel readying his team to take on the upcoming season

By Annanya
Medill Reports

The Naperville Baseball Academy, always a home for one of America’s favorite sports, has a growing second life as a cricket center for Chicago United, one of the major  area clubs.

Coach Niraj Patel is readying his team to take on the upcoming season if games against other clubs in the region.

Patel, who represented Rajasthan Royals when they won the inaugural Indian Premier League in 2008, now permanently lives in Chicago.

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Your Senator Filled Out An NCAA Bracket – You’ll Never Guess Who They Picked

By Brian Baker
Medill Reports

Shortly before the NCAA Tournament tipped off last Thursday, Virginia U.S. Senator Mark Warner sent a tweet that included a picture of his bracket. “Just filled out my #MarchMadness bracket. @UVA’s going all the way,” it read. The University of Virginia did not go all the way.

Millions of Americans participated in the annual ritual of filling out a bracket for the NCAA Tournament last week. By the weekend, many were ripping them up.

On ESPN’s website alone, 17.3 million brackets were submitted. The reasoning behind selections can vary from school mascots to favorite team colors. For politicians, who are increasingly joining in on the bracket fun, the rationale seems clear: pick the school from your home state.

Senator John McCain, from Arizona, picked the University of Arizona. Former President George H.W. Bush, who lives in Texas, picked Texas A&M. Indiana Senator Todd Young picked Purdue University. Nevada Senator Catherine Cortez Masto picked Nevada.

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Cricket in Chicago kicks off league games in April

By Annnaya
Medill Reports

Cricket is all the rage in Southeast Asia where India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka  revere this pastime as more than  a major league sport  and something closer to a religion.

Actual shrines in India are dedicated to Sachin Tendulkar, one of the game’s greatest players.

Immigrants who move here miss the sport. So cricket lovers in and around Chicago who are from the Asian subcontinent got together and decided to start a cricket league. The American Cricket Conference was born in 2001. Continue reading

No longer a local afterthought, Loyola soaks in support as it readies for the Sweet 16

By Patrick Engel
Medill Reports

Two white charter buses turned east on Loyola Avenue off Sheridan Road, with the blue lights of police cars leading the way, and pulled into a driveway in back of Gentile Arena.

About 500 fans and students had congregated on an adjacent turf field in the previous hour, waiting for this very convoy. Around 4:15 p.m. on a mild but windy Sunday in Rogers Park, as “All I Do Is Win” fittingly blasted over temporary speakers, a momentary lull came over the crowd. Heads turned. Arms waved. Phones became cameras. Everyone cheered and clapped.

The carriages carrying one of this year’s best Cinderella stories had arrived.

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Loyola earns another shot at a high-major team after tricky scheduling only gave it one

By Patrick Engel
Medill Reports

Aundre Jackson will finally play in his hometown on Thursday in Dallas in the NCAA tournament. If Loyola head coach Porter Moser had his way, though, Jackson’s homecoming would have been much sooner.

“We tried hard to get a game there, but we just couldn’t,” Moser said Sunday.

Loyola’s only the latest team to face this bind. It’s the life of mid-majors once they prove they can play with high-major teams.

Successful mid-majors are a lose-lose opponent for those power-conference teams – too much risk of a road loss, and not enough reward for a home win. The former can damage a résumé, and the latter isn’t enough of a résumé builder. This was N.C. State’s feeling when it bought out a scheduled road game at Loyola this season.

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Wildcats showed strong start in Big Ten encounters, despite Coach Swan’s leave of absence

Athena Liu

Medill Reports

Northwestern University’s Men’s Tennis team achieved a good 1-1 start in Big Ten play, after falling to No. 6 Illinois 0-4 on Friday night and knocking off Indiana University 4-2 on Sunday morning.

The Wildcats fought with high spirits after a tough week when head coach Arvid Swan took a immediate leave of absence due to  a personal health issue.

“We wish Arvid and his family the best and, in this situation, the team and everyone in Northwestern definitely looks forward to seeing him back at the sideline in the near future,” said Assistant Coach Chris Klingeman, named interim head coach as the team headed into the Big Ten weekend.

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Loyola women’s basketball ends season with loss to Valpo in conference tournament

By Patrick Engel
Medill Reports

MOLINE – Loyola players and coaches hung around the TaxSlayer Center after their game to watch the Missouri Valley’s award ceremony. They gazed from across the court and offered periodic golf claps as the league’s individual award winners climbed onto a makeshift stage to accept a plaque, certificate or trophy as recognition.

A team made of mostly underclassmen looked on as veteran-laden Drake collected the loot from its merciless run to a second straight 18-0 conference season. Drake players took home seven honors, including the MVC’s player of the year. Barring an upset, the Bulldogs will collect another trophy – a conference tournament championship – and a spot in the NCAA tournament at the conclusion of the weekend.

“That’s a team we want to be in three to four years,” said Loyola freshman Abby O’Connor, an MVC All-Freshman team selection. Continue reading

A family affair: Four brothers launch Chicago’s newest gaming lounge

By Jourdan Kerl
Medill Reports

Carlos, Ricardo, Francisco and Ozzie Flores raced home after school as children to compete against one another in their favorite video games.

Now adults, their love for gaming transformed into bigger dreams for the brothers from Puerto Rico.

Four brothers. Three veterans. One vision: To establish a premier destination where any video gamer in Chicago, young or old, could enjoy social interaction with others.

This dream manifested into the family-owned Raid Gaming Lounge that opened in late 2017 at 3044 N. Central Ave. on Chicago’s Northwest Side.  Their initial inspiration came from their mother.

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