Sports & Media Correspondent Terry Poulos reports the latest news on Greek Americans in sports.
GREEK HOOPS SEASON
Four annual Chicago-area tournaments open to Greeks and/or Pan-Orthodox players begin early March. The George Demos Pan-Orthodox Men’s Tournament is March 4-6 in Melrose Park, IL….The AHEPA Marrow Pan-Orthodox Tournament runs March 9-13 in Chicago….The National Hellenic Invitational Basketball Tournament runs March 31-April 3. WCG will bring you an 85-year retrospective on the tournament next week. Stay tuned.
PAPPAS MIGHT REP GREECE AT 2016 RIO OLYMPICS
Former Dartmouth and Oregon standout runner Alexi Pappas, one of the top US runners in the 5000 and 10,000 meters, can hang with the best of them, although runners must perform at the qualifying trials and if they have an off day, many times get left on the sidelines. Plans are in the works to get Alexi to qualify “On a personal note, it really makes my Greek family very proud.” She’s off to Greece in May to compete in the national track championships.
WINNER OF DRIVE, CHIP, PUTT FINALS
The event occurred in summer 2015 but being we’re a relatively new website, we felt compelled to share this story because it’s just so cool. Nine-year old Effie Perakis, a northwest suburban Chicago resident, won the national Drive, Chip & Putt golf finals, held at Augusta National (site of the Masters) after sinking a 30-foot putt to close out her final round. She appeared on The Golf Channel and there was an article in the Chicago Tribune as well, among other media outlets. Effie and her 12-year old sister, Maria, are both accomplished golfers in their respective age groups. The proud parents are Christine and Harry Perakis.
NIKITAS NOMINATED FOR NATIONAL PLAYER OF YEAR
Lawrence University (WI) senior guard Jamie Nikitas (Glenbrook North) in early March was nominated for national player of the year in NCAA Division II basketball. He finished 9th in the national in points per game and led his team in points, steals and assists.
VIDAS CONCLUDES STELLAR CAREER AT LFC
Senior George Vidas (Taft H.S., Chicago) had an outstanding career as a receiver at Lake Forest College and he’ll be graduating this Spring. He finished the 2015 season with 47 receptions for 568 yards and 7 TDs, all good for second on the team. His career totals were 82 receptions, 1116 yards, 12 TDs.
TSAGALIS COMMITS TO SOUTH DAKOTA
QB Tyler Tsagalis (Notre Dame Prep) recently committed to play football at the University of South Dakota. He had perhaps the most prolific season in school history this past year when he passed for 1970 Yards and 18 TDs and ran for another 667 yards and 9 TDs.
KLADIS GOES OFF AT AURORA
It was a record-setting kind of night recently for Aurora University senior Nick Kladis (Hinsdale Central H.S.). He scored 38 points on 10 of 11 three-point shooting and 12 of 15 overall and tied the school record for most 3’s in one game. Aurora finished 20-6 on the season and awaits word on selection for the NCAA Division III postseason tournament. Nick led the team with 29 points in their final regular season game and finished the year averaging 17.
USA OLYMPIAN GOES FOR PHD AT NU
Chicagoan Christina Loukas was a four-time All-American diver at Indiana University before going on to two Olympic games as a member of Team USA. Recently, she traded in IU red for Northwestern University purple as is now completing her Ph.D in physical therapy. On January 29, the NU Medill Reporter wrote a nice article on Christina’s quest for her latest triumph.
4 KACHIROUBAS SISTERS ALL-AROUND STUDENT-ATHLETES
Four Kachiroubas sisters are doing big things at Maine South H.S. Seniors Christina and Nicole were on the cheerleading squad that finished 12th in State. The team also finished as Central Suburban League champions all four years, and were part of the first school team to win a Regional. Sophomore Lexi was the JV cross country MVP and was promoted to varsity and became part of the 4×100 team that’s ranked 1st in State. The girls ran the fastest recorded time in State this season and broke the all-time school record in the 2-mile relay. Freshman Kaitlyn made the JV cheerleading team that won the conference JV title, and she also made the JV track team as a sprinter. Lexi was also voted sophomore Homecoming queen and Christina was runner-up in her senior class. Best yet, all the girls are honor roll students! Proud parents are Chris and Susan.
KOKOSIOULIS RUNS UP BIG NUMBERS FOR MS
Running back Fotis Kokosioulis (Maine South) put up some big numbers last football season, including 29 carries for 194 yards and a TD against Evanston in a 34-31 win.
SUN-TIMES QUOTES SARANTEAS ON QB KNOCKDOWNS
Publisher Jim Saranteas of TheFantasyGreek.com was recently quoted by the Chicago Sun-Times about his study on NFL quarterback knockdowns, where Saranteas’ data showed Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler had very good protection from his offensive line, contrary to the conventional wisdom of some critics.
GREAT START TO SOTOS COLLEGE CAREER
As a freshman 6’5″ forward, Danny Sotos (Conant H.S.) stepped right in for the Lake Forest College (IL) men’s basketball team, starting 22 of 23 games and averaging 13.1 ppg and 5.1 rebounds, both good for second on the team…Set to join the boys’ hoops squad at LF this Fall is Jamie Nikitas (Glenbrook South), an all-conference prep performer.
SOTOS LEADS CONANT PAST SEMIS
Yet another Sotos brother, Jimmy Sotos (Conant H.S.), scored 23 points and had 5 assists March 1 to lead the Cougars into the next round of postseason play. Conant (20-6) plays again Friday March 4 at 7 pm.
MALNATI PREP ALL-CONFERENCE
Senior point guard Tino Malnati (New Trier H.S.) was named all-conference in the Central Suburban League.
TOPALIS IN HABIT OF LAST-SECOND WINNERS
Georgette Topalis (Buffalo Grove H.S.) this season made headlines with not one but two last second game-winning shots for the Bison girls basketball squad. She made headlines in the TribLocal papers for her heroics.
GALANOPOULOS STEPS UP TO COLLEGE RANKS
As they’re about to gear up for Spring practice, soon-to-be sophomore Tommy Galanopoulos (Niles West) will be competing for the starting QB position at Lake Forest College.
KC ROYALS SIGN MOUSTAKAS TO 2-YEAR EXTENSION
World Series champion Mike Moustakas will be manning third base for the KC Royals for another two years after signing a $14.3 million contract to remain with the team. He had a career year in 2015, hitting .284 with 22 HR, 82 RBI, and stellar defense.
The AHEPA Sons of Pericles Ypsilanti #22 is hosting a District bowling tournament April 9-10 at Arena Bowl in Oak Lawn, IL…Katia Dragotis, formerly of ESPN radio Minneapolis, recently moved to LA and this NFL season was working for DirecTv Redzone, helping to cover the action when teams were on the verge of scoring…Jimmy Frankos (Maine South H.S.) begins his senior season in varsity baseball this Spring at the University of Iowa…Tommy Mantice was the assistant sports manager at Valparaiso University’s WVUR TV, which covers various sports for the university…Siena University named Mike Demos assistant athletic director for communications…The Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League recently signed kicker Billy Pavlopoulos to a contract…Dean Chelios was recently traded to Wichita of the ECHL hockey league…Vanessa Panousis, women’s basketball player at Virginia Tech, is averaging 9.2 ppg, third on the team, and is second in assists.
Until next time… Send news about Greek Americans in sports to Terry.