The Class of ’21’s top 21 senior athletes

All student-athletes deserve a little bit of praise for the strength needed to compete in such an unprecedented year. Below, 21 of the many distinguishable student-athletes from the class of 2021 are listed and are accompanied with a quote from themselves or their coach. While there were many deserving candidates left out, these specific athletes made a heavy mark on their programs over the last four years, and the Evanstonian honors them rewardingly.

Ellis Allen, Boys Cross Country

“I would say I am most proud of the dedication of everyone on the team, especially the varsity guys. Running cross country is far from easy and I know how hard it can be showing up on early mornings all summer long and throughout the fall. I hope I had a positive impact on the team. During my four years, we have been on a steady rise in our conference as well as our sectional. I have a lot of faith that the varsity guys and Coach Michelin can go far next year and maybe even make it down state as a team.”

– Ellis Allen

Evan Burns, Baseball

“My favorite part about playing baseball for Evanston is getting to play with my teammates, most of whom I’ve played with since I was nine. My favorite accomplishments from this year was coming from behind and beating New Trier at home and hitting a home run at our home field. My future plans for baseball are to play at Macalester College next year.”

– Evan Burns

Charlie Duffy, Boys Swim + Dive

“Despite the strict protocols, I think that I, along with many other of my senior comrades, found ways to keep everyone motivated and having fun. I hope to have left behind the mentality that team bonds are everything and to always have fun, especially during the tough times.”

– Charlie Duffy

Charlie Fies, Boys Soccer

“Charlie Fies was the heart and soul of the team. Watching him play for four years has been a joy. I have coached for many many years and I can honestly say, Charlie is one of the most entertaining players I’ve coached. He is ALWAYS on attack mode. He has no fear and he has no quit in him. One of the things I admire the most with him is his on/off switch. When that whistle blows he goes straight to beast mode and when the final whistle blows, he’s the nicest guy you will meet.”

– Coach Franz Calixte

Chloe Haack, Softball

“Chloe has been a four-year varsity starter. Chloe is a hardworking, determined player who has been an asset to the ETHS softball program. She has earned multiple awards including all-conference and all-area accolades. She hits dingers for her mom and belts Genie in a bottle on bus rides. We know she will continue to do great things beyond ETHS and wish her the best of luck! “

– Coach Amy Gonzales

Emily Ho, Badminton

“Emily has worked very hard over the past 4 years in badminton. She has trained hard off-season. She was my MVP this season along with Excellence and scholarship award winner from boosters. She went to state this year and placed in the Top 20th in singles. Emily is a very hard worker. She was one of my captains this year. She is a great leader. She works well with her teammates. She gives back to the other players on the team. I have truly enjoyed coaching her these past three years. Emily made the varsity team as a sophomore. I look forward to seeing what she does in the future.”

– Coach Karilyn Joyce

Patrick Hughes, Boys Water Polo

“This year we definitely have shown a lot
of development. This year especially, I’m happy with every game we’ve played. We are getting better with each game. Every time we have been challenged or lost a game I’ve seen each person on our team use it as fuel for the next challenge. We are just a bunch of friends who’ve looked forward to this season since freshman year, so it’s been a super enjoyable season with a bunch of great guys.”

– Patrick Hughes

Kalil Johnson, Boys Track + Field

“I think I am most proud of the underclassmen this year, they’ve consistently stepped up to the plate and I hope they continue to have that same energy throughout the years they have left. I also am proud of the seniors this year and how they have stayed in the game even with the global pandemic going on. I’ve been on the team with most of these guys for 4 years and it has been a pleasure seeing them grow. In terms of an impact, I hope I was able to show some of the young- er guys that it doesn’t matter what obstacles come hurling towards them, and that they are still able to persevere through putting in the work.”

– Kalil Johnson

Josie Lambert, Girls Lacrosse

“My favorite moment playing for Evanston lacrosse was definitely our first game this year against Maine south. After having junior year canceled due to COVID, my one goal was just getting back on the field for senior year. We have never beaten Maine south before and ended up winning the game that day, it felt so good to be back and playing again. A few games ago I hit my 100th career goal so I am just working on hopefully making the all-state team again after making it my sophomore season. Next year I will be playing at Davidson College, and they just finished their season making it to the A-10 semifinals for the first time in a couple years so I am super pumped!”

– Josie Lambert

Hope Leman, Girls Cross Country

“Hope came to us her Sophomore year. Hope thrived off the team aspect of cross country. She was not just working hard for herself but her XC family as well. More than anything, Hope wanted to reach success as

a team. Even though we didn’t make it to State as a team her Junior year, Hope’s dedication and hard work played a role in her qualifying for State that year and running the fastest time by a non-senior at ETHS, placing 27 in Illinois, only 2 spots away from making the All-State team. This fall, for Hope and the Senior athletes, life took a turn when covid-19 hit. The season was up in the air and the thought of not being part of the team her Senior year was unsettling. Instead of giving up, she made sure that we were staying connected and that the Senior Leadership team was doing all they could to keep traditions and community alive, as well as training. Hope’s leadership, hard work, and dedication to the team is a strong legacy she will leave behind.”

– Coach Rosette Ochoa

Natalie Long, Girls Water Polo

“Natalie has been foundational on our team since her freshman year. As a sophomore, she was always given the assignment of matching up with our opponent’s best offensive player. More importantly, Natalie is the ultimate teammate and leader. She leads by example, never misses practice, is inclusive of everyone and demands the best of herself every day.”

– Coach Andy Miner

Emily McCandlish, Girls Wrestling

“Honestly, what I’m most proud of is how accomplished I am in only the four years that I have been participating in the sport. I started wrestling my freshman year and ended up taking 4th place at the Illinois Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association (IWCOA) Girls State Championship. in my career, I have been to four state championships (freestyle and folkstyle), qualified for nationals, and have won numerous tournaments across the state, as well as been a member of Team Illinois. I definitely owe it to the coaches for not shunning me or pushing me away because I was considered an “untraditional” wrestler, as I am a woman. They are definitely the reason that I continue to push myself.

“In terms of impacting the program itself, I’d say I am one of many pioneers for women’s wrestling as a sport. every year, I advertised the sport, trying to get more and more female/non-binary wrestlers to join, and at one point we had 12 people registered to participate! Now that women’s wrestling is on the rise, there are more collegiate opportunities for those who choose to pursue it, and it is also being recognized as an official IHSA sport in the 2021-22 season. Even though I am not wrestling in college, I’m just glad to say that I helped bring a new sport to life.”

– Emily McCandlish

Zach Myers, Football

“Zach Myers was a two-year captain and a three-year, two-way starter on the offensive and defensive line. In addition, he received IHSA academic all-state honors and CSL All-conference awards every year. More importantly, Zach is an outstanding leader and student-athlete. His leadership has been second to none over his varsity career. He embodies what it means to be a student-athlete here at ETHS. We are very excited to watch him play college football at Air Force, and even more thrilled that he will be a future leader in our country.”

– Coach Mike Burzawa

Zee Olatunbosun, Girls Basketball

“On and off the court, Zee has been an integral part of our girls basketball program’s successes. Her commitment to her academic work, as well as her tenacity and grit on the basketball court, have always inspired me. She has also shown the ability to deal with challenges and overcome the many hurdles she has faced during her time at ETHS. When I think back on her time on the varsity squad, I will remember her for her great defensive performances, her fearlessness, and how she was always one of the hardest workers in the gym.”

– Coach Brittanny Johnson

Blake Peters, Boys Basketball

“Blake Peters entered Evanston just four short years ago, and his skill set, combined with his work ethic and character, allowed him to start every single game at the Varsity level in his high school career. The culmination of these combined traits allowed Blake to become ETHS’ all-time leading scorer in school history with 1,585 total points scored. The fact his junior and senior years consisted of abbreviated seasons makes this feat that much more remarkable. Blake embodies what a championship student-athlete looks like, both on and off the court.”

– Coach Mike Ellis

Sam Rhodes, Girls Swimming

“I’m most proud of my dedication and my ability to adapt to the changes I faced. Being named captain was also a huge honor, and I’m glad I had the opportunity to show my leadership. Over the last four years, I constantly studied the record board to remind myself of my goals, so I hope that future swimmers will be inspired and motivated by the records I set.”

– Sam Rhodes

Ruby Rogers, Girls Soccer

“Ruby’s impact on our program is unquestionable. She has been with our team for four years and has shown commitment and dedication throughout. As a captain this year, Ruby has taken her role head-on and leads by example. The players look up to her, and, as a coaching staff, we couldn’t ask for a better role model. On the field, she is a versatile player and can be slotted into multiple positions. She is smart on the ball, reads the game and motivates teammates around her. Ruby is the best!”

– Coach Stacy Salgado

Ricardo Salinas, Boys Wrestling

“Ricardo has been our most decorated and accomplished wrestler in Evanston History. He has placed at the State tournament level since 8th grade and represented Team Illinois the past 2 years at the National Championships where they have won 2 National titles. Ricardo is also a Captain on the Evanston Varsity Football team. He starts the wrestling season 26 wins away from becoming the all-time winningest Evanston wrestler in program history. He was recognized as the Central Suburban Leagues Outstanding Wrestler last year as a junior being awarded the Elias George Award. The only thing eluding him is a state title he is pursuing this year. Ricardo is a high Honor Roll and National Honors Society member and plans to attend and wrestle at Northern Illinois University.”

– Coach Rodolfo Salinas

Campbell Wagener, Boys Golf

“The past four years have been unimaginable when it comes to what I, alongside my teammates, have been able to achieve.
I can’t even recall all the memories us seniors have together. So many things have happened on and off the course that we will all remember for the rest of our lives. On top of all that, the success we have had on the course has been really special for ourselves and the school. Breaking team and individual records as a senior class was really inspiring for all of us. Individually I couldn’t be happier with the results I got. Qualifying for the state individually twice was something I never would have thought would happen coming into high school. Not being able to compete in the state finals this year because of COVID was a major letdown and something I really wish I would have had the opportunity to do after not playing too well my junior year. Nonetheless, high school golf is something I will never forget.”

– Campbell Wagener

Elisa Walker, Girls Volleyball

“I’m really proud of the work the program has done over the past four years to become more inclusive and making an effort to encourage their players to speak on issues they care about. The bonds that I have been able to make on this team are irreplaceable, and I couldn’t be prouder of the relationships we have been able to make!”

– Elisa Walker

Brandon Wilson, Boys Volleyball

“Brandon has been an important member of our varsity program since his sophomore year but has been attending games and practices since he was in middle school. He was dedicated to the sport even back then. However, Brandon’s talent on the court is second to his leadership off the court. We’ll miss him dearly as he competes at the next level. We’re confident Brandon will make an immediate impact on and off the court at Kentucky State.”

– Coach Stanley Antoine