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St. Rita offers 15 sports, many of which have three levels (Freshmen, Sophomore/JV, Varsity) and we encourage multiple-sport athletes. All sports (with the exception of golf and hockey) participate on our 37-acre campus, with no need to practice at outside venues. We enjoy a proud tradition of athletics and are a consistent contender in the Chicago Catholic League, Regional, Sectional, and IHSA state divisions in all sports. During the 2013-14 school year, St. Rita became the second school in over 100 years of Chicago Catholic League athletics to capture the league titles for varsity football, basketball, and baseball in the same school year.
We are proud of our Tony Lawless Award Winners, which is the top honor given to a senior in the Chicago Catholic League. Recently, Ritamen given this prestigious award include: Jake Shepski (2014, baseball), Dominique Matthews (2014, basketball), Joe Lopez (2014, lacrosse), Nick Goldsmith (2014, soccer), Treston Forbes (2014, track-and-field), Charles Matthews (2015, basketball), and Marty Bechina (2015, baseball). Also, Todd Kuska '90 (football), Jim Juchcinski '97 (lacrosse), Gary DeCesare (basketball), Mike Zunica (baseball), and Brian Hagen '04 (volleyball) have all won the Lawless Coach of the Year Award in the last three seasons.
Ritamen often go on to participate in athletics at the collegiate and professional level upon graduation from St. Rita. Since the 2014-15 school year, eight seniors have signed national letters-of-intent to play college basketball, 16 seniors have signed on to play football at the collegiate level, 22 seniors signed for college baseball (out of a possible 26 seniors), and many others have continued their playing and academic careers in track-and-field, lacrosse, wrestling, hockey, and other sports. In fact, as of the beginning of the 2016-17 academic year, over 100 St. Rita alumni are currently playing at the collegiate level in football, basketball, baseball, wrestling, lacrosse, track-and-field, volleyball, hockey, soccer, cross country, and more.
They join the ranks of St. Rita alumni currently playing at the collegiate level, including football players Thomas Stacker Jr., '16 (South Dakota State), Drew Walega '16 (Eastern Illinois), Brandon Williams '16 (Arkansas State) Tom Rehfeld '15 (Western Illinois), Brandon Gaston '15 (Western Illinois), CJ Weydeman '15 (Western Illinois) Tommy Mister '14 (Northern Illinois), Nick Goldsmith '14 (Pittsburgh), Matt Byrne '14 (Indiana State), Michael Zunica '12 (Kansas), Pat O'Connor '12 (Eastern Michigan), Will McNamara '12 (Dartmouth), Kenny Golladay '12 (Northern Illinois), Nick Dachota '12 (Indiana State), and many others.
Current basketball players include: Chris Williams '16 (Central Connecticut), Charles Matthews '15 (Michigan), Kain Harris '15 (Tulane), Myles Carter '15 (Seton Hall), Brandon McRoy '15 (Concordia College), Armani Chaney '15 (Tennessee State), Vic Law '14 (Northwestern), Dominique Matthews '14 (UIC), Scott Kingsley '13 (Northeastern State University), A.J. Avery '12 (Western Michigan), Tony Hicks '12 (Louisville), and others.
Ritamen playing college baseball include: Mateo Zunica '16 (Kansas), Dan Gleaves '16 (Michigan State), Dominic Sarro '16 (Villanova), Marty Bechina '15 (Michigan State), Shane Peisker '15 (US Naval Academy), Matt Ryan '15 (Butler), Jake Shepski '14 (Notre Dame), Nate Soria '14 (Xavier), Mike Costanzo '14 (Austin Peay), Jake Drada '14 (Western Michigan), Andrew Massey '13 (Tennessee-Martin), Eddie De La Riva '12 (Purdue), Zach Soria '12 (Florida International), Brian Sicher '11 (U.S. Air Force Academy), and others.
Other student-athletes include: Jake Silzer '16 (wrestling, Illinois), Tyrique Thomas '16 (track, Concordia College), Eric Walker '15 (track, Minnesota), Treston Forbes '14 (basketball & track, Caldwell University), Bailey Marth '15 (lacrosse, Illinois Wesleyan), Jack Sampson '15 (lacrosse, Illinois Wesleyan), Austin Tiernan '15 (lacrosse, Xavier University), Eric Houlihan '15 (lacrosse, Xavier University), Nick Diettrle'15 (lacrosse, St. Ambrose), Joe Lopez '14 (lacrosse, Davenport) and many, many more.
Since 2012, five St. Rita graduates have played in the National Football League, including Mike Kafka '05 (quarterback), Ryan Donahue'06 (punter), Matt Conrath '07 (defensive line), Darius Fleming '08 (linebacker, Super Bowl XLIX champion), and Bruce Gaston '10 (defensive line). Mark Payton '10 is a member of the New York Yankees AA-minor league affiliate, the Trenton Thunder, Anthony Ray '13 is with the St. Louis Cardinals organization, Joe Filomeno '11 is playing within the Texas Rangers organization, and Tony Zych '09 is currently pitching for the Seattle Mariners.
St. Rita athletics, however, will never come before a student's academics. Every Wednesday, grade checks are done for all student-athletes. If a student is not academically-eligible, he will not participate in that weeks' games and practices. A student is also expected to maintain good standing in the school across the Campus Ministry and Student Activities Offices.
Our goal is not simply having a great season, but developing a great person. St. Rita students are encouraged to participate in a variety of sports. Hard work, perseverance, teamwork, sportsmanship, and leadership are the cornerstones of our athletic programs.
St. Rita High School has a rich tradition of excellence in athletics for over 110 years.
Many of our student athletes are awarded college scholarships. Recent graduates have received scholarships to colleges and universities such as Northwestern, Illinois, U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy, West Point, Wisconsin, Iowa, Purdue, Notre Dame, New Hampshire, Indiana State, University of Chicago, Villanova, Western Michigan, Virginia, and Merrimack.
Our athletes are led by some of the finest teachers and coaches in the state.
Our programs are designed to lead young men to discover and surpass their physical and mental limits, while learning life lessons as a result of a competitive program.
St. Rita maintains the finest athletic facilities right on its own campus. Practice and home events take place on the spacious 37 acres adjacent to the school.
A state-of-the-art synthetic playing surface for football, lacrosse, soccer and rugby.
The field is surrounded by an eight-lane all-weather rubberized track.
The grandstands seat 4,000 people. Long Jump and High Jump areas for Track and Field.
Varsity Baseball Field
Renovations include: a state-of-the-art scoreboard, press box, underground sprinkler system, brick backstop and outfield fence.
Capacity of 1,500
Lower-Level Baseball Field
Three Football Practice Fields
(including Doyle Stadium)
Complete Physical Fitness Training Facility
Weight and Conditioning Room which includes free weights, cable machines and Hammer Strength machines.
Indoor Five-Lane Swimming Pool
St. Rita Fight Song
Come, let us cheer for old St. Rita • With her colors Red and Blue • And we’ll sing just to her honor • For she’s ever staunch and true • And we’ll cheer her on to victory • and we’ll fight until we’re through • For here’s to old St. Rita High School • We’re all for you. • Hit ‘em high, Hit ‘em low, Go Rita Go! (Repeat verse)
Talk to any school administration and they’ll agree that athletics are a big part in the development of the whole student; this is true at St. Rita and has been ever since it fielded its first football team in 1908. But how does one compare teams from year-to-year, or decade-to-decade? You don’t. You don’t because the organization of teams from any era changes vis-`a-vis another era. Conference alignments adjust regularly, as do the requirements for admission. For example, in the old days, basketball teams were fielded on the basis of height: called Juniors or Lights (under 5’8”) and Seniors or Heavies (over 5’8” in height); and those were just the varsity upperclassmen, the lower level freshman and sophomore teams being called Bantams and Flys. Today, we divide varisty and the junior levels with no regard to a player’s height. Almost every time a team is added or dropped from a conference, alignments change. Throughout, balance is the goal.
If you go back to St. Rita’s founding, there was a Cook County League loosely representing most of the schools in the greater Chicagoland area, Catholic and Public; teams made arrangements with individual teams, and there wasn’t much formal organization. In 1912, the Chicago Catholic League was formed to organize the Catholic schools into competitive groups. Shortly thereafter, a new Chicago Public League superseded the Cook County League, with suburban schools looking for their own conference arrangements in a new Suburban League. But, even with this more formal arrangement, schools were not forced to remain in a particular alignment.
That said, St. Rita has enjoyed a stellar history in sports over the last one hundred years, with numerous national, state, city and conference championships in a variety of sports. Through the years, particular sports have been added and dropped, and sometimes reinstated, as conditions and the interests of the student body change. At present, St. Rita offers competitive level in 16 sports. Lineups are also fielded as club teams or intramural squads, and that doesn’t even touch on the numerous activities offered at St. Rita, some IHSA state sponsored.
While some of the greatest rivalries and traditions remain within the Chicago Catholic League (for example the Kennedy Cup or the St. Rita vs. Mt. Carmel Rivalry), one could never discount those between the Catholic and Public Leagues (for example, the Chicago Prep Bowl); with more organizational control of high school sports exerted by the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) over the last 30 years, contests between upstate and downstate teams are now a regular occurrence (for example, the State Championship Series). Through it all, St. Rita of Cascia High School has been a major participant and a major contributor.
Text taken from St. Rita of Cascia High School, Centennial Rememberance. 2005 by Richard P. Bessette