Mike Nieto is The Times' Illinois Prep Coordinator. He has been with the paper a total eight years.
He was W.I.N. Magazine's 2001 National Wrestling Writer of the year and has won Indiana wrestling writer of the year twice, and was the South Suburban Wrestling Coaches' Newsman of the Year in 2008 and 2009.
He writes a Prep Beat column and always tries to give the readers their money's worth by giving insight into a game or event.
The Gary native is an Andrean High School and Marquette University graduate.
p>Reach Mike Nieto at (219) 933-3232 or email@example.com
NEW LENOX | A packed gym, with both sides screaming to the hilt and it coming down to the final seconds.
CHICAGO HEIGHTS | The first official day of girls basketball practice saw the defending Class 4A state girls basketball champion Marian Catholic Spartans carrying a binder into practice.
Have you seen the commercial about where Leroy falls out of his deer stand and someone asks what happened?
What might have been the beginning of a run to a Class 4A state title was an empty gym with empty seats that the Homewood-Flossmoor girls basketball team would have occupied for their scheduled Class 4A T.F. North Regional.
SOUTH HOLLAND | Maybe the guy who is most impressed with how the Thornwood boys basketball team has performed without its star is the star.
It's hard to believe we are in the middle of February and the start of the proverbial second season starts Monday for Class 3A and 4A girls basketball programs.
In an era where a lot of kids expect everything and think all is owed to them, Mount Carmel senior lineman Steve Dumezich is a breath of fresh air.
Dennis Kelly is more excited about tonight's Marist at Marian Catholic boys basketball game than he is about the big pre-game ceremony.
The losses do not bother T.F. North boys basketball coach Tim Bankston as much as how his team has lost.
You want to see a walking example of frustration, you need not look further than Bloom Township girls basketball coach Ron Newquist and his team.
You will get two days of good basketball and entertainment with a chance to pitch in for a good cause.
LANSING | Perhaps the only selfishness on the T.F. South girls basketball team is when coach Steve Breshock brings out the two big boxes of doughnuts from a local bakery.
You would have to say your stocking was stuffed with some good basketball with all the holiday tournaments.
Two different scenarios, two different coaches, two different parts of the state.
The best gift card you might give someone is a day pass to the McDipper XLI basketball tournament, which begins Thursday at Rich South High School.
CALUMET CITY | Just when the T.F. North boys basketball team thought it was cruising Friday night, it was almost pushed off the road and into a ditch by its own doings.
Jordan Lynch will be on the big stage in the Big Apple on Saturday evening.
Marian Catholic boys basketball coach Mike Taylor knows his team cherishes opportunities to play in a premier event.
DEKALB | The challenge has been laid down for next year's Mount Carmel football team.
As Mount Carmel prepares to play in its 17th state title game Saturday, there is one number that jumps out at you.
When you look back on Artie Rogers' five years as head football coach at T.F. North, he impacted the kids he coached.
DOWNERS GROVE | It seemed as if the game was played in black-and-white and in the mud instead of artificial turf.
If you could sell Tim Zasada's energy and passion for coaching to a power company, it would make a lot of money.
CHICAGO | The packed house at Gately Stadium Friday night spent most of the game on its feet.
The Illiana Christian boys cross country team has a chance to do what no other team in school history has done — win a team state title.
FLOSSMOOR | Homewood-Flossmoor's high-octane offense, particularly Vashon Nutt, was in high gear Friday night in the Vikings 49-14 win over Sandburg in a Class 8A first-round playoff game on Friday.
Every year when the IHSA football playoff pairings come out, there is always the talk of a bad matchup or that someone really had it taken to them.
LANSING | The T.F. South football team played Friday night like it should have the first eight weeks.
LANSING | The celebration Tuesday night was a mixed one.
LANSING | It was a classic. It was close like you would expect a T.F. North-T.F. South game to be.
Amidst the red for T.F. South and the purple for T.F. North, you may see a lot of blue at tonight's football game.
It is No. 2 vs. No. 3 in Class 8A.
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