When Granite City senior Jordyn Cook came off the bench in the first half of her team’s Class 3A Joliet Central Sectional semifinal match against Collinsville on May 26 at Edwardsville, she received a big round of applause from the Granite City fans.
It was Cook’s first appearance on the soccer field since May 1, when she injured her right ankle during a match against West Des Moines Valley in the Tournament of Champions at Burlington, Iowa. Cook missed six matches, including Granite City’s regional championship win over Quincy on May 22.
“I didn’t decide to come back until that morning and nobody knew until I was on the field playing,” said Cook, who missed her entire sophomore year and half of her junior year due to a knee injury.
It turned out to be Cook’s final high school soccer match as Collinsville beat Granite City 1-0 to advance to the sectional championship match. Still, Granite City coach Kenny Prazma was glad to see Cook back on the field.
“She decided that she maybe can do a little bit more work and maybe try to help us on making a run to the state tournament,” Prazma said.
Despite the injury-riddled season, Cook was a valuable player for the Warriors this spring, finishing with two goals and two assists and helping Granite City finish with an 11-9-2 record.
The effort impressed the Southwestern Conference girls’ soccer coaches. Cook earned her first all-conference award after being named on the third team.
Cook received her award during the Granite City spring awards ceremony on June 1 at Memorial Gymnasium. When her name was announced, Cook got a round of applause from the coaches and athletes.
“I was surprised because we have a lot of great girls on our team,” Cook said. “The amount of playing time and amount of the games that I played over the past four years weren’t as much as if I were to be healthy playing all four years, so that’s what I kind of surprised about. It was a great feeling whenever they called my name to receive that award. It took me by surprise.”
Cook, who plans to play soccer at Central Methodist University next year, was one of four Granite City players named on the all-conference girls’ soccer team. The others were senior Ashleigh Briggs and sophomores Lexi Grote and Grace Niedhardt.
Briggs, who had nine goals and nine assists, earned first-team honors. Niedhardt, who was the team leader in goals with 10, and Grote were on the second team.
“I think it was well earned for those four girls,” Prazma said. “They worked hard, they’re good in what they do and they played a huge role in the success for our team.”
A total of 18 Granite City athletes earned all-conference honors this spring, nine of them were seniors, including Cook.
The Warriors’ baseball team had three players named on the all-SWC team, all of them were seniors. D.J. Miller earned first-team outfielder honors after hitting .414 with a home run and 15 RBIs. Bruce Drennan was named first-team designated hitter after leading the Warriors in hitting with a .422 batting average. Ryan Steen received third-team utility player notice after hitting .305 with 20 RBIs.
Granite City had a pair of players on the all-conference softball team — junior Caitlyn Patrick and freshman Morgan Tanksley. Patrick, who hit a team-best .459, earned second-team honors and Tanksley was named third-team pitcher.
The boys’ track team had five athletes — seniors Tyler and Zach Manion, sophomore Will O’Keefe and juniors Raishon Bobo and Juwan Riggins – earning all-conference honors.
The girls’ track team — which is coached by Cook’s mother, Becky — had a pair of all-conference athletes in senior Catherine Jakich and sophomore Robyn Pointer.
All-conference honors in track are based on finishes at the SWC girls’ and boys’ meets. The top three finishers in each event are awarded all-league honors.
At the SWC boys’ meet on May 14 at O’Fallon, O’Keefe, Riggins and the Manion brothers helped the 3,200-meter relay team finish first, Bobo placed second in the 300-meter hurdles and Tyler Manion finished second in the 1,600. With the first-place finish in the 4x800, O’Keefe, Riggins and the Manion brothers earned first-team honors.
“It was really good to get the win in your senior year and get first-team all-conference,” Zach Manion said.
Jakich, who was named on the all-conference girls’ basketball team last winter, earned all-league honors in the shot put and discus by placing third in both events at the conference meet on May 7 at Granite City. Pointer finished second in the 200 to receive her first all-conference award in track.
Junior Jeremy Erickson was the lone Granite City representative on the all-conference boys’ tennis team as he earned third-team singles honors.
Senior Ben Schipkowski earned second-team honors on the all-SWC boys’ volleyball team.