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Markanich twins drafted in first, second rounds of MLS SuperDraft

Three minutes at a time, minutes churned into hours for Anthony and Nick Markanich, as well as their family, friends, coaches and teammates in the Northern Illinois University Convocation Center’s Nelson Suite Tuesday, as teams in Major League Soccer began rattling off their picks in the 2022 Major League Soccer SuperDraft.

But after two anxious hours and 37 nail-biting minutes from the draft’s 2 p.m. CST start, a cloud of pressure lifted into the heavens that Anthony rejoiced to when the 2018 Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School graduate and current NIU senior made area history.

Anthony became the first local player to be drafted by the MLS when the Colorado Rapids selected the four-time Mid-American All-Conference left back with the 26th overall in the first round of Tuesday’s 2022 draft.

“It’s a dream come true,” Anthony said. “I’ve been wanting [to reach the MLS] since I was little, and I’m just so excited ... just waiting to hear my name called, it’s been a long day, but I’m happy to hear my name finally.”

Before the Markanich family could finish wiping the triumphant tears off their faces in celebration of Anthony, Nick, who led all of NCAA Division I soccer with 16 goals as a Huskies forward-wing this season, was selected just four picks later, second in the second round [30th overall] by FC Cincinnati.

“We were both really anxious,” Nick said. “It was a long day and hearing his name was a sense of relief for both of us that it was happening.

“I was just waiting for my turn.”

Amongst the couple dozen people who joined the twins in DeKalb on Tuesday were their parents, Tony and Wilma, and their sister, Taylor.

Tony, who couldn’t put into words what the feeling was like to hear both of his sons’ names called in the same draft, could put into words the lesson that anyone can take from the near-two decades that led up to those moments.

“They deserve it; they’ve sacrificed a lot, both personally and otherwise, to reach this moment,” Tony said. “With hard work you can reach almost anything, and it’s a proven fact here.”

That hard work led the twins to several local, state and national awards and recognition as youth players, with those talents helping lead the Boilermakers to back-to-back third-place finishes in the IHSA Class 3A State Finals in 2016-17 and 2017-18.

At Northern Illinois, they continued to blossom. While Anthony’s multi-dimensional skill set landed him his four all-conference nods, Nick earned three of his own after making the MAC All-Freshman team in 2018-19. The pair led the Huskies to a MAC regular season championship, as well as the tournament championship, which was won 2-1 in double overtime off a game-winner by Nick against Georgia State.

Ryan Swan, the twins’ head coach at NIU, said that with the type of season the Huskies had, and the work that Nick and Anthony put in to lead that charge, a day like Tuesday would come.

“Our first thought as we’re recruiting is what they’ll bring to the team. It’s about getting the team to win a conference championship and compete at the national tournament level and I think this is just a byproduct of that ...,” Swan said. “Anthony and Nick, we knew they had that potential, but there was so much work that they had to put in and I’m absolutely delighted that it’s starting to pay off for them.”

Perhaps nobody on hand Tuesday was more delighted than Taylor, a 2012 Bradley-Bourbonnais graduate who also played for the Boilermakers, as well as for North Central College in Naperville.

“Ever since they were able to walk, their little chubby selves were just walking around, kicking soccer balls around since the moment they could ...” Taylor said. “Anthony and Nick really are the most amazing kids I’ve ever met.

“They’re extremely humble and dedicated their lives to playing soccer, so they’re making their dreams come true, and I couldn’t be more proud.”

SOCCER PART OF FAMILY

Soccer has been a mainstay for the entire Markanich family, something Wilma said has kept the family together, which was evidenced by both side of grandparents and other family members on hand.

“We made sure the boys and Taylor stayed in soccer and fulfilled their dreams, and they did,” Wilma said. “We both supported the boys, called when they won and things; soccer has been our life.”

For their entire lives, Anthony and Nick have always been teammates, something that will change when the MLS season kicks off next month, as Anthony heads west to a Colorado team that finished first in the regular season in the western conference last season, and Nick will head to Cincinnati, a franchise that was promoted from the United Soccer League in 2019 and finished 14th in the eastern conference this past season.

“It’s gonna be a lot different seeing each other on different teams, but we’re gonna be excited to play against each other,” Nick said. “We expected to go to different places, but I’m happy we both got picked.”

And although they’re no longer teammates, the two are still, and always will be, something closer than that. That bond is what made Anthony so emotional when he attempted to share his feelings on what the past 22 years of their lives have meant.

“Without him especially, I don’t think I’d be here...,” Anthony said through a wave of emotional weeps.. “I’m just happy ... I’m just happy we can do this together.”


News
Bradley officer remains in critical condition

Daily Journal staff report

BRADLEY — Bradley Police Department Officer Tyler Bailey remains in critical condition in a Chicago area hospital, according to Illinois State Police.

“Bradley Police Department Officer Tyler Bailey remains in critical condition and is still fighting through his injuries,” state police said on Tuesday.

Bailey underwent extensive surgery on Dec. 30, hours after he and Sgt. Marlene Rittmanic were shot while responding to a barking dog complaint late Dec. 29 at the Comfort Inn in Bradley.

Rittmanic later died from her injuries.

Darius D. Sullivan, 25, of Bourbonnais, and Xandria Harris, 26, of Bradley, are facing charges of murder and attempted murder in the incident.


News
LCC, King students to go remote due to problem boilers

KANKAKEE — Today is the last day students at Lincoln Cultural Center and King Middle School will attend school in person for the foreseeable future, and it has nothing to do with COVID-19.

The schools are being closed due to problem boilers at LCC.

Combined, more than 800 students attend these two schools. The district’s administration offices are also located at LCC.

Kankakee School District 111 announced via Facebook on Tuesday evening that boilers at LCC, which provide heat to both LCC and King, are expected to be “decommissioned” and deemed illegal to operate, per the Illinois State Fire Marshal.

Therefore, students will be working remotely starting Thursday through at least Jan. 28.

Information was also shared with families Tuesday evening in Skyward and via phone call, according to the post.

Superintendent Genevra Walters said Tuesday evening that the district has not gotten an official letter from the fire marshal, but this is expected to happen.

“In my opinion, if the State Fire Marshal is speaking about it, we shouldn’t wait until we get an official letter,” she said. “We should go ahead and create a tentative plan until we get an official statement.”

If the boilers are not decommissioned, students would return to in-person learning Jan. 31.

If the boilers are decommissioned as expected, staff at King and LCC would be relocated to other to-be-determined areas until the boilers are replaced and the buildings are approved for occupancy.

Walters said the district has had problems with the LCC boilers for a while because of their age, and plans were already in motion to address them.

During Monday’s Kankakee School Board meeting, the board approved a base bid of $1,251,000 to replace the LCC boilers.

Walters said she learned Tuesday that the existing boilers would likely be decommissioned.

“The process of getting a replacement takes five to six months just to get the [new] boilers into the building,” she said. “Whether or not we would try to maintain [the old boilers] for the next five to six months, it just depends on the overall cost of doing that.”

Students were encouraged to attend school in person today, as it will be “the last day students will be able to enter the buildings for the foreseeable future,” the Facebook post states.

All students will work remotely Thursday and Friday, with work to be posted online and teacher office hours held from 9 to 10 a.m. and 2 to 3 p.m.

Students are off Jan. 17 for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, and LCC and King students will continue learning fully remotely from Jan. 18 to 28.

“As we solidify plans regarding the possibility of relocation and returning to in-person learning, we will strive to keep you informed early and often via email, teacher communication, and all calls,” the post concludes.

Walters said the district is working out locations for LCC and King staff members to go so that students will have access to their teachers during remote learning.

By Jan. 28, she expects to have a clearer picture of what fire officials recommend surrounding the current boilers.


News
Two arrested following crash of stolen vehicle

BOURBONNAIS — Two teens were arrested by Kankakee County Sheriff’s Police after the stolen vehicle they were in crashed Monday afternoon on Armour Road in Bourbonnais Township.

According to Kankakee County Sheriff’s Police, there were five occupants in the vehicle when it crashed.

A 16-year-old male was charged with possession of a stolen motor vehicle, fleeing and eluding, obstructing identification and he had two outstanding Kankakee County warrants in addition to traffic offenses.

An 18-year-old passenger was charged with criminal trespassing and has since bonded out, according to police.

The other three occupants of the vehicle were not charged.

There was a brief chase that was terminated by sheriff’s police at Shabbona Elementary and Shepard Elementary schools. A short time later, the driver crashed the vehicle along Armour Road near the Canadian National Railroad overpass, police said.


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