History Of Antioch Athletics

Throughout the memorable years of Antioch Community High School, there have been many achievements made by different sports teams.

Julia H
Athletics at Antioch Community High School have evolved through many years.

Antioch Sequoit athletics has evolved into renowned programs respected by many communities. Antioch is well known for rich traditions within the sports programs. Each Sequoit athletic team has their own story, most of which including decades of success.

 

ACHS faced major challenges regarding size and budget many years ago. This resulted in the historic decision for Antioch to split into two schools: Antioch Community High School and Lakes Community High School. Both ACHS athletic director Steven Schoenfelder and former LCHS athletic director Troy Parola developed a philosophy that they needed to be supportive of both schools in positively progressing forward. Antioch athletics grew tremendously from this point forward. ACHS has the same amount of athletes in the school, with approximately 1300 students now, as there were prior to the split when there were over 2600 students to choose from. Antioch only offered as few as five activities before the school split, compared to over 35 activities the school offers now. 

 

“I believe over 60 percent of our state medalists at Antioch have come after the split of the schools,” Schoenfelder said. “Our kids took up a challenge of becoming better after becoming smaller and it has been pretty successful with regards to extra-curricular activities.”

 

Illinois High School Association State Finals is the highest achievement within high school sports. Antioch has seen many individuals and teams place in the top three at this event. Placing at state, let alone qualifying for state, is not an easy thing to accomplish and is most team’s ultimate goal for their season. Antioch has produced several athletes and teams that have placed at the state finals. Four cheerleading teams, one dance team, one softball team and one field hockey team have all placed at IHSA State. There have been many individual medalists including athletes from cross country, track and field, and wrestling. Just this past academic year, alumnus Charlie Smith took home first place in the state championship for cross country and the varsity cheerleading team won first place, resulting in the first team to ever win a state championship in the long and successful history of athletics at ACHS. 

 

“The feeling of making history at Antioch was unreal,” varsity cheerleading head coach Amber Babin said. “So many teams before us came so close so we were honored to bring home the Championship. We missed the State Championship in 2019 because we lacked consistency in the technique of our skills.  We knew we didn’t want to make the same mistake, so we made sure to learn what we needed to do to become consistent and worked on that at every practice.”

 

Several different Sequoit sports teams have been successful for many years. Alumnas Smith and Patrick Schoenfelder are individual state champions for cross country and wrestling, respectively. Wrestling, along with cheerleading, have three other state team trophies for a top three finish. The Antioch softball team placed third in 2010 at state. Softball and wrestling have consistently been successful in the regional championships over the past decade. The Sequoits girls basketball team advanced to super-sectionals twice in the span of three years. Cheerleading and dance have been consistent in qualifying for IHSA state finals for most of the past decade. The Antioch dance team won two state championships before dance teams became an official part of IHSA. The Antioch bowling team has been consistently successful since 2008. ACHS’ football team has only lost one Northern Lake County Conference game since the conference began in 2015, and only a few regular season games in that time period as well. The Antioch boy’s basketball team won regionals three years in a row from 2017-2019, which has only been done one other time in the school’s history.

 

“The most winning teams the past few years have probably been wrestling, bowling, football and softball,” Schoenfelder said. “We have had athletes the past few years at Antioch whose fathers were on the first football team I coached when I moved into the area back in the fall of 1987.”

 

For many, Antioch is known for tradition and legacy. There are many generations of Sequoit athletes within families that attend ACHS and carry on the sports career and success of that family. One of the families etched into the history of the athletic program is the Lehn family. Twin brothers Tom Lehn and Tim Lehn played football and wrestling and graduated from ACHS in 1992. Andy Lehn played football, wrestling and baseball and graduated in 1984. Gene Lehn played football and wrestling and graduated in 1979. These brothers are known by many for their outstanding athletic abilities in Antioch sports history. Tom Lehn was state runner up (second place) for wrestling in 1991. 

 

“My brothers and I competed and our parents volunteered a tremendous amount of time to the Sequoit football and wrestling programs,” Lehn said. “Our mom was a co-founder of the ACHS Football Moms and dedicated 14 years in concessions and promotional events across football and wrestling programs. Our dad served 14 years as a defensive statistician for varsity football and contributed to marketing and promotion for the football and wrestling programs.”

 

The Lehn family is just one of many families that have been considered legacy families by many people in the Antioch community. With Antioch being a small and close knit town, many people are aware of the historic athletes that have graduated from ACHS. Antioch athletics have grown immensely since the beginning of history. From the split of schools to state championships, Antioch athletics is renowned for their success and will continue to make history.