Chasing Nojel

Nojel Eastern free throw

By Julia Cardi When the final afternoon bell rang in Evanston Township High School at 3:35, a rush of teenagers and their cacophony of end-of-day chatter flooded the hallways. The open space adjacent to the school’s various athletic facilities clogged with kids heading to practices; in the locker rooms, they traded Timberland boots and jeans […]

Chicago says goodbye to NFL Draft until (insert best guess here)

By Julia Cardi Lisa Nelson loves Chicago, and she loves football. So when the NFL Draft came to the city starting in 2015, the La Grange resident and lifelong Green Bay Packers fan was thrilled. Nelson and her family have enjoyed attending Draft Town with her family to meet former and current players, spend time […]

NFL stars signing autographs draw crowds at Day 2 of Draft Town

By Julia Cardi The much-hyped first round of the NFL draft may have ended the night before, but football fans still gathered in droves at Draft Town in Grant Park on Friday for their fill of mock combine drills, player autographs, and Chicago cuisine. Surprisingly, the Windsor Ice Cream Shoppe saw plenty of business despite […]

Cloudy Skies Don’t Dampen Opening Day of NFL Draft Town

By Julia Cardi Temperatures hovered in the 40s and a gray blanket of clouds hid the sun. But the less-than ideal April weather didn’t deter football fans from congregating in Grant Park on Thursday to kick off the first day of the NFL Draft at Draft Town. The open-air festival, dubbed “NFL Disneyland,”attracted fans representing […]

As NFL Draft host, Chicago seems lame duck, but is not dead one

By Julia Cardi “Chi-Town is on the clock,” reads the cobalt-blue-and-white signs bearing the NFL’s shield. They are affixed to light poles throughout downtown Chicago advertising the return of the league’s draft Thursday, when 32 teams are normally the ones fighting time — and each other. For the second year in a row, the event […]

Notre Dame ends Evanston’s bid for state basketball title

National anthem

By Julia Cardi Trying not to cry, Nojel Eastern contorted his face after he missed his second-to-last free throw. With the top-seeded Evanston Wildkits trailing the fourth-seeded Notre Dame Dons by nine points late in the final quarter, the junior point guard knew his team wouldn’t go to the state championship. The Wildkits fell in […]

Evanston shortens road to championship with win over Glenbrook South

Micquel Roseman jump shot

By Julia Cardi Three-nineteen-sixteen. The Evanston boys basketball team used the three numbers as its battle cry through strenuous conditioning sessions this past offseason, and the Wildkits put 3-19-16 in group text messages and chanted the sequence after practices and games. March 19, 2016 is the date of this year’s state championship. “We have that […]

Evanston coach keeps his eyes on the real prize

Coach Ellis

Q&A: Wildkits basketball coach Mike Ellis By Julia Cardi Twice in the past decade, Mike Ellis coached teams at Richwoods High School in Peoria to within three points of winning state championships. Now he’s four games away from the title with the Evanston Wildkits. But he’s not asking his players to bring home the trophy for his sake. […]

Young and hungry: Wildkits freshmen fight to find their way on varsity

Ryan Bost at practice

By Julia Cardi After a signal from coach Mike Ellis, Jaheim Holden hopped from the bench with a grin, shed his warmup T-shirt, and knelt on the sideline, poised to run onto the court. His teammates Lance Jones and Ryan Bost joined him, and for four minutes and 21 seconds of play, the three freshmen […]

Wildkits honor fallen teammate on Senior Night

Dajae Coleman warm-up t-shirts

by Julia Cardi Tiffany Rice cherishes the smallest details about her son, Dajae Coleman. She remembers how his impressions of Stewie Griffin from “Family Guy” would bring her to laughter no matter her mood. “That’s what made him Dae,” said Rice, laughing again at the memory. “He had this good sense of humor that he […]