The rise of North Lawndale College Prep started with basketball- the core sport in the west side of Chicago. Since 2006 NLCP has won 3 state trophies in boys basketball including a state championship. Pictured above is the 2007 state championhip basketball team (NLCP photo). This year's team continues to be solid - despite the transfer of talented 6-8 sophomore Manny Patterson to Kenwood. The Phoenix are 9-5 so far and have wins over Marshall, North Chicago, and Notre Dame. Coach Lewis Thorpe continues to do a good job for North Lawndale basketball. NLCP plays in the rugged Red-West conference with Whitney Young, Marshall, Orr, Farragut, and others.
Track Breaks Out. The NLCP track team finished 18th in the state last season. That was the first time North Lawndale finished in the top 20 in track. They were led by Imani Payton(class of 2014) who was the state runner up in the 300 meter intermediate hurdles. This year's team will be largely rebuilding as they graduated everyone that scored state points last year. Look for coach Zantavious Johnson to develop some more talent this year. You may see more guys from the basketball team and especially the football team as Johnson is also the football coach.
Football emerges. Fall 2014 was a good year for CPS football as Phillips, Simeon, and Curie captured most of the headlines. However, I could not help but notice the rise of North Lawndale's football team. Not much was expected from North Lawndale - a new Illini Prairie State team. NLCP ended up with a 2nd place conference finish which included a 45-143 win over CPS runner up Hubbard.
Conclusion. North Lawndale is doing something right. They are without a doubt the top CPS charter sports school. Their football, track, and basketball programs are serious programs and certainly viewed near the caliber of schools like Leo and Hales Franciscan. The only difference is that those schools have done it longer, whereas North Lawndale - like their mascot, the Phoenix, is on the rise.