The History of Holy Cross High School of River Grove
River Grove (population 10,668) is located in far northeastern Illinois in upper western Cook County. River Grove is a near northwestern suburb of Chicago. The town was incorporated in 1888. The main roads leading to River Grove are Illinois Routes 64 and 171. The Soo Line Railroad runs through River Grove while the Des Plaines River flows through the west side of town. The town’s official website can be viewed at http://www.villageofrivergrove.org .
The Chicago area is a hotbed of parochial school activity. Private, religious-based grammar schools and high schools are a part of nearly every neighborhood. As the town of Chicago expanded westward, the suburbs who were near it began to expand as well. The rising population brought with it the need for new high schools to accomodate the new residents. Holy Cross Catholic High School was one of these schools.
Holy Cross High School Building – Main Entrance
Holy Cross High School for boys was established on the north side of River Grove in 1961, run by the Brothers of the Holy Cross. Along with it a sister school, Mother Guerin High School for girls, was established. The schools sat side-by-side on 80th Avenue just south of Belmont Avenue for over 40 years.
When it first opened in the fall of 1961, 380 boys were enrolled at the school. The first graduating four-year class numbered 283 in the spring of 1965 when 1,165 students were at Holy Cross. The school’s peak number of students reached 1,466 in the fall of 1968.
As River Grove and its surrounding near northwest suburbs leveled off in population growth, so did the enrollment at Holy Cross High School. The enrollment decreased steadily through the early 2000’s. It was decided that in 2004 an incoming freshman class had to reach a certain level to remain open. This number never materialized and talks were finalized with Mother Guerin High School for a consolidation effort. Through this effort Guerin Preparatory High School was born.
The main high school is held in the original Mother Guerin High School building. Holy Cross High School facilities, including the gym, football, and baseball fields, are still used for the Guerin Prep HS sports program. The Holy Cross High School building still stands and is used in an educational capacity. A webpage dedicated to the Holy Cross Alumni can be viewed at http://www.guerinprep.org/HCAlumniPage.html. The home page for Guerin Prep High School is located at the web address of www.guerinprep.org.
Holy Cross High School Quick Facts
Year opened: 1961
Year closed: 2004
Consolidated to: Guerin Preparatory High School
Holy Cross HS team nickname: the “Crusaders”
Team colors: Red & Grey
School Fight Song: “Crusaders Fight for Holy Cross”
Submitted by Patrick Devitt
(Click before to play music to listen/sing along)
Ba, Ba, Ba, Ba, Ba, Ba, Ba, Ba, Ba
Crusaders fight for Holy Cross,
Crusaders win for Holy Cross,
Though the score may be against you,
To your team you will be true,
So cheer your men from Holy Cross,
Cheer your team through win or loss,
For the Red the Grey we cheer hooray,
Crusaders fight for Holy Cross!
Holy Cross High School Seal
The Holy Cross High School Crusaders competed in many different sports during their existence. Holy Cross High School offered Soccer, Football, Golf, Cross-Country, Basketball, Wrestling, Hockey, Tennis, Baseball, and Track. Several of these sports enjoyed success on a state competition level (www.ihsa.org). In many cases we are missing some of the better records, coach’s names, and great athletes which were a part of the Holy Cross High School history.
The Holy Cross High School diamond-men had several seasons of oputstanding success. The baseball program won a total of SIX Regional titles, two Sectional titles, and made two trips to the IHSA State Finals. The resoults of these great seasons are listed below. Unfortunately we are still searching for the records and coach’s names of many of these and other great HCHS teams.
1964-65 21 – 4 Elite 8 Finalist Coach Frank Mariani
Elite 8 Finalists
Lost to Waterloo HS 5 – 0
1974-75 Regional Champions
1977-78 23 – 13 Elite 8 Finalists Coach Donald Halverson
Elite 8 Finalists
Lost to Chicago Kennedy 5 – 3
Coach Halverson’s 100th Win – Bob Sharkey 2 HRs
Submitted by Paula LoCelso – 1980
1982-83 Regional Champions Coach Bennadetti
1983-84 Coach Bennadetti
2001-02 Coach Dan Eberle
*2002-03 Regional Champions Coach Dan Eberle / Coach Bob Stevens
Holy Cross 5, Willowbrook 1
Holy Cross 4, Elmwood Park 0
Sectional First Round
Glenbard West 6, Holy Cross 2
*2003-04 Regional Champions Coach Dan Eberle
Holy Cross 7, Elmwood Park 1
Holy Cross 12, Leyden 7
Sectional First Round
Hinsdale South 6, Holy Cross 4
(School’s Final Season)
**In regard to the 2002-03 season. Dan Eberle was the Head Coach. He coached the team thourgh the middle of April and the team had a 7-1 record, when he was forced to take a leave due to illness. He returned to coach the team in 2003-04 (the final season). Bob Stevens did an outstanding job in completing the 2002-03 season and return as the Assistant Varsity Coach in 2003-04.
Holy Cross High School Gymnasium
Now Guerin Prep Gymnasium
The Crusader basetball program did not come away with any IHSA hardware. However, the teams were always in the thick of conference title races and contended for many Regional titles, coming up a little short each year. One of Holy Cross’ alumnus’, Dennis McGuire (mid-1970’s), played his college basketball at DePaul University including a spot on the Blue Demons’ Final Four squad which starred Mark Aguirre!
The following are some of the late-great seasons that HCHS enjoyed:
2001-02 23 – 6 (Best Overall Season in School History!)Coach Dan McCarthy
Holy Cross 55, Maine West 41
Notre Dame 46, Holy Cross 44
2002-03 20 – 8 Coach Dan McCarthy
Holy Cross 61, Leyden 43
Evanston 51, Holy Cross 48
(Evanston finished 4th in State)
2003-04 School’s Final Season Coach Dan McCarthy
Season Record 6-21
Holy Cross 80, Ridgewood 44
St.Joseph 63, Holy Cross 40
(St.Joseph lost in Super-Sectionals)
The most well-covered sport on the IHSA website for Holy Cross, the gridiron program had some nice seasons to show for itself. Included were two undefeated regular seasons and six trips to IHSA State Playoffs.
Garrett Wolfe, who went on to star at running back for Northern Illinois University, is a product of the Holy Cross Cruasader football program. He put up remarkable numbers during the 2000 season. He scored 39 touchdowns, rushed for 2,259 yards and scored 234 of his team’s points in the season. The 39 touchdowns ranks 12th in Illinois H.S. Football history.
An amazing feat occured on November 22, 1994 against Lisle Benet Academy. Quarterback Brian Dolan made a huge pass to Joe Gorowski for a total of 99 yards for a touchdown. Gorowski would also set a school record that year with 13 punts returned.
**The Holy Cross football spirit is still alive today on Belmont Avenue. Former grid iron “Crusader” Virg Gerin (HCHS Class of 1983) has been named the head coach football at Guerin Prep High School for the 2009-10 season!!
1963-64 Coach Ron Giusti
1964-65 4 – 4 Coach Ron Giusti
1965-66 7 – 2 Coach Frank Mariani
1966-67 5 – 4 Coach Frank Mariani
1967-68 4 – 4 – 1 Coach Frank Mariani
1968-69 6 – 3 Coach Frank Mariani
1969-70 6 – 2 Coach Frank Mariani
1970-71 5 – 4 Coach Frank Mariani
1971-72 9 – 0 Undefeated Season Coach Frank Mariani
1972-73 8 – 1 Coach Frank Mariani
1973-74 9 – 0 – 1 Undefeated Season Coach Frank Mariani
1974-75 8 – 1 Coach Bob Koleno
1975-76 7 – 2 Coach Bob Koleno
1976-77 7 – 2 Coach Bob Koleno
1977-78 7 – 4 Qualified for IHSA Class 5A Playoffs Coach Bob Koleno
Elite 8 Finalist
Beat Fremd 7 – 0
Lost to Deerfield 29 – 0
Deerfield eventual State runner-up
1978-79 Coach Bob Koleno
1979-80 6 – 4 Coach Tim Feigh
1980-83 Coach Tim Feigh
1983-85 Coach Tim Franken
1986-89 Coach Pat Arthurs
1994-98 Coach Virg Gerin
1998-99 8 – 4 IHSA Class 4A Playoff Qualifier Coach Joseph DiCanio
Lost to Canton 27 – 0
1999-00 8 – 5 IHSA Class 4A Playoff Qualifier Coach Joseph DiCanio
Lost to Rochelle 29 – 25
2000-01 11 – 2 IHSA Class 4A Playoff Qualifier Coach Joseph DiCanio
Elite 8 Finalist!!
Beat Ridgewood 34 – 8
Beat Jerseyville 35 – 21
Lost to Pontiac 37 – 14
2001-02 7 – 6 IHSA Class 5A Playoff Qualifier Coach Joe DiCanio
Lost to Riversidfe-Brookfield 42 – 0
2002-03 Coach Joe Dicanio
2003-04 7 – 4 IHSA Class 5A Playoff Qualifier Coach Joe Dicanio
Lost to Rock Island Alleman 21 – 13
*Many of the records in the latter years reflect the final record after Holy Cross had competed in the Catholic League Playoffs in which it was entered after losing in the IHSA playoffs.
Our very own Cody Cutter remembers when a website called HolyCrossCrusaders.com covered the Crusader football team in what would be the school’s final year of 2003-04. This website was hosted by Prep Sports Online. However, the website was pulled after the football season.
The soccer team also sported some nice seasons. Included was a Regional Championship in the 1996-97 season!
1982-88 Coach Valdis Bole
1988-90 Coach Vic Montoya
1992-96 Coach Joe Sustersic
1996-97 13 – 10 Regional Champions Coach Joe Sustersic
1997-98 18 – 4 – 2 Coach Joe Sustersic
1998-99 Coach Joe Sustersic
TRACK & FIELD
One male athlete brought some IHSA hardwarte back from the State Meet. Mike Durkin made consecutive trips to the state meet in the early 1970s.
1969-70 Mike Durkin 1 Mile Run 2ND Place
1970-71 Mike Durkin 1 Mile Run 2ND Place
Two Holy Cross High School grapplers won medals at the IHSA State Meet. Their excellent accomplishments are listed below.
1970-71 Jim Hynes 167 Lbs Weight Class 4TH Place
1976-77 John McGuiness 167 Lbs. Weight Class 2ND Place
Anthony Reyes – 1975 Conference Wrestling Champ
Other Holy Cross High School wrestlers fared well in local competition over the years.
1975 Anthony R. Reyes Conference Champ
1976 Anthony R. Reyes Conference & Sectional Champ
Special Thank You…
…to Patrick Devitt for a great deal of the information on this page.
Need More Information
If you have any further information you can add on the history and achievements at Holy Cross High School, especially a photo of the high school building, please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also write to us via real mail at: