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Offsprings succeed

Sports Den

June 19, 2010
By Dennis Grall

ESCANABA - Former Escanaba residents are seeing their offspring have success in sports.

In Minnesota, the sons of Kevin and Sharon (Kuivinen) Tapani had excellent hockey seasons and their daughter played in a national club volleyball tournament.

Luke Tapani's Wayzata Blue Chapel Hill seventh grade team reached the state tourney in Roseau, and he scored a pair of game winners. His slap shot with 14 seconds left in the tourney opener resulted in a 4-3 win, which culminated a rally from a 3-1 deficit with six minutes left. Then he scored in the third overtime to give his team third place.

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Dennis Grall

He played defense and centered their power play.

Four days later he had knee surgery, with a bone graft employed to promote healing and bone growth and insert a plate that will be removed in about two years. Luke has Osteochondritis Dissecans, his dad said recently in an email, and will have similar surgery on his other knee next month.

Ryan Tapani was second-team center with the Providence High School varsity as a freshman and finished third in scoring and earned all-conference honorable mention. He was also invited to a tryout for a 16-and-under select team to play in a festival and was also all-conference honorable mention in baseball and soccer.

Sarah Tapani's Purdue University club volleyball team lost in the semifinals of the silver division at a national club tourney. She will be a sophomore.

In Illinois, an athlete coached by an Escanaba native has won two state high school track championships.

Robb Gill is coach of the girls track team at Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in Carbondale. Junior Amber Farrell won the 100 meter hurdles (14.17) and 300 hurdles (43.08) and was sixth in the 200 dash (25.38) to become the school's first state champion.

Gill, on the school website, said her times "are outstanding times for any prep athlete anywhere in the nation. She was by far the best overall hurdler in all of the IHSA classes."

IMSA tied for seventh in Division 2A.

For comparison purposes, Jaime Roberts of Kingsford won the Upper Peninsula D-1 title in 100 hurdles (15.68) and Selena Meser of Sault Ste. Marie set a 300 hurdles record (45.4) earlier this month.

Gill is the son of Roman and Gayle Gill of Escanaba. They were in Grand Rapids earlier this year to watch a grandson, Joshua, play in a travel basketball tournament that included an Upper Peninsula team coached by Bill Pistulka of Rapid River and Cary Chartier of Eben.

Josh's dad, Christopher Gill of Goshen, Ind., is another Gill son.



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