Top 15 Athletic Achievements From the Sandscript Staff

Members of the Sandscript choose the 15 most impressive sports moments of 2020


Reese Czarniecki and William Rinker

          We here at the Sandscript have compiled a list of what we believe to be the most important and impressive moments of 2020 athletically. This being a year of unparalleled challenges, we would like to thank all Teams, Coaches, Officials, and Spectators for helping to keep each other safe. Compiled below is the list that we students at The Sandscript believe encapsulates the most important and impactful stories to have occurred in the athletics department during 2020. 


  1. Boys soccer Wins Second State Title in Three Years 

On Saturday, October 31, the Chesterton Boys Soccer team brought home the state championship trophy for the second time since 2018. In addition to their 7-1 win against Castle (Newburgh), the boys broke many state records including most goals scored in a half of a state championship, most goals scored in a state game, and the largest margin of victory in a state game. “It was the most incredible feeling,” said senior Charlie Eaton. “All those years of hard work and preparation finally paid off.”


      2. Gymnastics Achieves State 3-Peat  

With two consecutive state championships already in their back pocket, the Chesterton Gymnastics did not hesitate to make it a 3-peat. Despite losing six seniors from the previous year and championships, the Trojans never doubted themselves.  Junior Mia Pak took on the role of team leader, and some of the younger members of the previous title teams really stepped up and got better.  By the end of the season, the Trojans defeated rival Valparaiso (111.55) with points 112.25 to bring home their sixth overall title, and third in a row. “This year we didn’t come in as confident as last year, but we pushed so hard and worked so hard for this. I’m just so incredibly proud of this team,” said Pakk. 


     3. Boys and Girls Cross Country Make History with Sectional, Regional, and Semi-state Wins 

In addition to an amazing season, both the boys and girls cross country teams made their postseason even more spectacular. Making school history, both teams won sectional, regional, and semi-state titles together for the first time in the same year. “I think the best moment of winning all of these races was seeing how proud our coaches were,” said junior Mckenna Handley. “After all of the hard work they put into the training, nothing feels better than winning and making them proud.”


     4. Evan Bates Wins Individual State Title, Team Ranks 8th 

Last February, the Chesterton wrestling team travelled to the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis to compete in the 2019-2020 state championship. Northwestern commit, and now Chesterton Senior Evan Bates defeated Harrison’s William Crider for the 220-pound state title, helping his team earn their way to an eighth place finish at state with 45 team points.  The 8th place finish marked the highest state finish the Trojans have had in quite some time. 


     5. Boys Swimming 3rd at State; 22nd straight Sectional

Expectations are always high for the swimming programs at Chesterton High School.  However, this past season, the expectations were tempered after legendary Coach Kevin Kinel called it quits and retired after the 2019 season.  New coach, Mike Pavlovich took the reigns from Kinel, inheriting a program that has easily been the most successful in NWI over the last 30-40 years.  With a deep group of swimmers and a senior star in Andrew Albers, the Trojan boys rose to the occasion and maybe even exceeded many expectations of those around Chesterton.  The boys also cruised to their 22nd straight Sectional Title the week prior.


     6. Girls soccer Competes in Regional Championship

The Lady Trojans Soccer team had their best season since 2008, and they made “The Elite Eight” by making it to the IHSAA Regional final. Led by the all time leading scorer Addy Joiner, and a tenacious defense, the Lady Trojans went a strong 15-5, highlighted by a 13 game winning streak before their loss in Regionals. The Trojans season ended with a 2-0 loss to South Bend St. Joseph, the eventual state runners up. 


     7. Zach Bowser & Addy Joiner Break All-Time Goal Record 

Consistency.  Most athletes strive to be as consistent as possible in whatever sport they play. If you attended boys or girls soccer games over the past 4 seasons, two names were consistently called over the loudspeaker: Addy Joiner and Zach Bowser.  Each forward in this duo broke their respective CHS all time goal scoring record with Bowser netting an impressive 87 career goals and Joiner with an astounding 116. This pair was a large part of the Trojans success the past four years, and they will be dearly missed in seasons to come. “I kept believing that I could do it, and here I am. It really is a dream come true,” said Bowser.


     8. Football Beats Penn for First TIme in School History

Chesterton Football proudly marched into sectionals after a 4-4 regular season.  With a chip on their shoulder from 2019’s postseason exit, the Trojans found themselves matched up with traditional northern powerhouse, Penn High School.  Chesterton asserted their dominance against the Kingsmen with a great upset of 20-14.  This was the first time in school history that Chesterton defeated Penn in football.  The Trojans would go on to lose to undefeated Elkhart the following week, coming up short for the school’s first sectional championship.  “It’s gonna feel great to be remembered for something. It was incredible to finally beat Penn for the first time,” said senior Kody Farrington.  


     9. Girls Swimming Wins 21st Straight Sectional (10th @ State)

This past February, several members of the Lady Trojans Swimming and Diving team took a trip to IUPUI to compete for the state championship. This was the 21st consecutive year CHS Girls Swimming won the sectional championship, a direct opportunity to swim in state.  Among these include Alana Jardenil, Veronika Ozimek, Mady Elliott, and Maisyn Klimczak. Klimczak took 5th Place for the 500m Freestyle, along with Elliott, Ozimek and Jerdenil taking 7th in the 200m relay. 


    10. Covid halts Spring Sports Season

This past spring, the well known Coronavirus created a panic that resulted in the cancelation of all CHS Spring sports. With uncertainty in the air, baseball, softball, girls tennis, boys golf, as well as Indoor and Outdoor Track & field all saw their seasons vanish before they even tried out. Nobody had ever seen a sickness/virus/pandemic of this nature, and sports around the country, including the NCAA Tournament, the NBA, the NHL, and PGA were all stopped.  Here at CHS, Senior athletes were forced to retire early without ever having a chance to give a goodbye. 


    11. Boys basketball wins DAC title

Most of the current CHS freshman were 3 years old back in 2008.  It is more than likely that they didn’t remember the year Zack Novak, Jack Houpt, Jordan Lewis and Co. lost only 2 games all season.  Unfortunately for that group, one of those losses was in the sectional championship, but that didn’t stop them from claiming the DAC title.  In 2020, Marc Urban’s Trojans finally reached those same heights achieved 12 years prior, behind another senior star in Jake Wadding.  Unfortunately, the post season result would be the same, a loss in the sectional title, but claiming the DAC Championship, one of the state’s most prestigious conferences, was still quite the achievement.


    12. Bailey Ranta Breaks 5K Record 

This past October, the Chesterton Girls Cross Country team won their first Duneland Athletic Conference race since 1998. The win meant a lot to Junior Bailey Ranta as she not only helped her team to the win, but also broke the school’s 5k record for the second time in a season. Ranta, who had already made her own bit of history by beating Shelby Bullock’s record of 18:06, broke her own record at the conference meet. In usual fashion, Ranta gave a lot of the credit to her teammates and coaches for pushing her in practices to be the best she can be.  Ranta will return in 2021 as a senior for the Trojans, looking to break her own record once again.


    13. Fabio Haiduc reaches Tennis Regionals

Over the last few years, the CHS Boys Tennis program has been one on the rise.  This year the Boys finished the regular season as DAC Champions, and lost a heartbreaker in sectionals.  The Trojans sent Number 1 Singles player Fabio Haiduc out to regionals as the District 1 player of the Year Won his individual sectional.  At regionals, however, his incredible run came to an end, losing to the top ranked player in the state, who is also a top ranked player in the midwest.


    14. Nick Biel win mental attitude award

Winning a state championship is an incredible feeling.  Any other awards and accolades are just icing on the cake… usually.  Except for when those other awards don’t necessarily recognize your talents, but instead the ability to be a good person.  Such was the case for one particular member of our soccer team.  Fresh off of a second state title in three years, senior captain Nick Biel took home the IHSAA Executive Committee’s Mental Attitude Award.  The award is given for the off the field achievements and sacrifices made by players in that sport.  Nick is the first soccer player to receive the award since Owen Hallas won it in 2016.


    15. Mia Pak 3rd place overall state

After back-to-back state championships for the CHS Gymnastics program in 2018 and 2019, the girls appeared as if they would take a step back.  The “Super 6”, a group of 2019 seniors, left behind a large void in the program.  It was 2020 Junior Mia Pak that took control of the leadership duties.  Pak had a phenomenal season, led the Trojans all the way back to state, and helped them seize a 3rd consecutive title, by finishing 3rd All Around as an individual.