For many prep athletes, there's no such thing as a summer break.
That certainly held true for T.F. South cross country runner Kenny Karrson, but it wasn't only his sport that kept the senior busy. In a still-tenuous economy, Karrson was able to obtain full-time summer employment as he worked for Lansing School District 158.
With 6 a.m. representing the start of his work day, Karrson wound up doing much of his preseason running during mid-afternoons. That meant dealing with hot and humid conditions in many instances, but that didn't deter him.
"I'd take it upon myself to do what I had to do and get my workouts in," Karrson said. "It teaches you discipline, because I didn't get to practice with my team."
The daytime work wasn't too bad, either.
"This was my first job, and it made my summer busier," Karrson said, "but it was nice to earn some money. "
H-F pair relieved to have college picks behind them
While there may be some pressure inherent in trying to repeat as a state champion, two incoming seniors of last year's state championship girls golf team from Homewood-Flossmoor at least have the side pressure of worrying about selecting a college already put behind them.
For senior Ashley Armstrong, the process of selecting a college actually started earlier than the norm. Armstrong, who committed to play golf at Notre Dame last November, said she started thinking about colleges in eighth grade and would visit a school of interest when she traveled to golf tournaments out of the area.
"It is good that I started early, and that I committed already," Armstrong said. "It was a big relief, because now I don't have to fill out college applications; I don't have to go on any more visits, and (Notre Dame) is a good school, too."
May was an interesting month for senior teammate Michelle Mayer. She had to be hospitalized with an inflamed appendix, for which she had surgery July 27, once the inflammation went down. It was also in May that Mayer accepted a scholarship offer to play next year at the University of Illinois.
"It was a good summer, not having to worry about which college I was going to go to," Mayer said.
T.F. South volleyball optimistic
T.F. South's volleyball coach Kim Sands is glad her team is in the South Suburban Blue, which the Rebels joined last year. The Rebels entered last season with a strong of three straight conference titles but lost three conference matches in 2009 and finished third behind Lemont and Oak Forest.
"Playing good teams like Oak Forest and Lemont can only help us prepare better for regionals," Sands said.
The senior class at T.F. South, especially, is hoping to add the 19th conference volleyball title for the school, welcoming the challenge the strong South Suburban should offer this season.
"Last year was a wake-up call to all of us," senior Rhiannon Hanft said. "Our old conference was challenging, but there were some teams you could roll right through. But we have a really solid conference this year, and I know the seniors would like to say, yeah, we won conference."
Back to school
The Marian Catholic football team has the last of its two-a-day practices today. School starts Thursday.
Coach Dave Mattio is in his 35th season and said maybe going just once a day will keep the kids fresh.
"We got a lot done last week and in the 25 days we had in the summer," Mattio said. "Sometimes you need to take a little break and just make sure the kids can absorb what you are teaching them.
"It can get monotonous, but our job as coaches is to make practice exciting."
-- Times sportswriter Mike Nieto and Times correspondent Vince Vosti contributed to this report.