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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Queen of Peace- How Did That Happen?

How does Galesburg end up playing a private school from Chicago?

It all started in the 1980's when AD Mike Hellenthal said he thought would be a good idea for us to get out and play some Chicago schools on a non-conference level. I was happy to have an AD encourage that, so he looked and he found Chicago Maria. Chicago Maria was an all girls school who had a team go to state earlier in the 1980's. Maria was located on the south side of Chicago, near Marquette Park and west of US Cellular Field (it was Comiskey Park then).

First year we loaded and went to Maria. We played with a very good team but lost. After the game, we went to downtown Chicago and ate at a restaurant just off Michigan Ave where they cooked Japanese food at the table and entertained. And then we went to Chicago Stadium to watch the Bulls. Despite the loss, a great day.

We continued the matchup with Maria. After about 5-6 years of the matchup, they got a new coach, Rick Federicci. We continued our battles with Maria. And then Rick left Maria. We continued to play Maria but it was not quite the same without Coach Federicci. Maria enrollment decreased and they became less competitive.

We got a call from Queen of Peace AD who had been at Maria and had just hired Rick Federicci as her coach. So it seemed natural, we dropped Maria and scheduled Queen of Peace. Each year the host school provides pizza for the visiting team and Rick encourages the players to interact. It has been a good experience for our girls and something we have all enjoyed.

It is simply one of the good stories in sports.

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