Kane County Chronicle 2023-24 Female Athlete of the Year: St. Charles North’s Reagan Sipla

Sipla was an honorable mention all-state selection in basketball and all-state honoree in track and field

St. Charles North’s Reagan Sipla struggles to hold onto the ball as she’s surrounded by the Geneva defense during a Class 4A Batavia Sectional semifinal game on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024.

ST. CHARLES – Reagan Sipla always had a winning mentality on the basketball court for St. Charles North.

During her four-year career, the three-year captain and Quinnipiac commit helped the North Stars win their first-ever conference championship in her freshman season and secure back-to-back regional titles, including St. Charles North’s first regional title in 15 seasons. Sipla also became the sixth player in school history to reach the coveted 1,000-point mark.

“Those accolades are just those moments where my hard work has paid off,” Sipla said. “My whole life I’ve been playing basketball and working hard at it, so I feel like those are good moments, but my team really helped me get there, especially throughout all four years.”

After her senior season – she averaged 16 points, six rebounds and three steals a game – came to an end, she decided to take some time off the court to try something she’d always wanted to do: track and field.

“I never got the chance to run because we had spring and summer AAU basketball and would travel all the time,” Sipla said. “But my senior year, we didn’t have that, so I really wanted to do something that would help my conditioning and get better at basketball, but also something fun. And it was definitely all those things.”

From the first day she showed up for track and field, her winning mentality got both coaches and teammates excited.

“We knew in the first practice that we had something special,” St. Charles North track and field coach Anthony Enright said in April after the Kane County meet. “I think that’s recognizing that she’s willing to do anything. She’s just a coach’s dream the way she works so hard.”

St. Charles North’s Reagan Sipla competes in the 800-meter run during the 2024 Kane County Girls Track and Field meet at St. Charles East on Thursday, April 25, 2024.

In her lone season running track, Sipla finished with the second-fastest 800-meter time in school history (2:18.17) and helped lead the North Stars to All-State honors in the 4x800 relay after they ran a 9:24.24 for ninth place at the girls track and field state championships.

Considering Sipla’s athletic resume for her senior year, she has been named the 2023-24 Kane County Chronicle Female Athlete of the Year.

“It’s difficult to talk about Reagan without also mentioning that winning element, and that’s become cultural now,” St. Charles North girls basketball coach Michael Tomczak said. “The upcoming sophomore and junior classes don’t know what it’s like to not win a regional and I did for a very long time. But Reagan had as much a part of that than anybody.”

Tomczak said Sipla’s senior season was unique. He compared it to Michael Jordan’s championship run with the Chicago Bulls from 1996-1998.

“In his second run, as his game evolved, the flashy components weren’t necessarily there as much anymore, so he had to develop different things,” Tomczak said. “Reagan’s primary weapon her sophomore and junior year was the three-point shot and she’s one of the best shooters we’ve ever had. But for whatever reason she had an extended shooting slump this year. Some players would allow that to take them out of the game physically and mentally, but that didn’t happen to her.

St. Charles North's Reagan Sipla (2) shoots the ball in the post against Batavia’s Kylee Gehrt (21) 2during a basketball game at Batavia High School on Tuesday, Dec 5, 2023.

“She evolved her game and took to offensive rebounding. She wasn’t someone who was going to hit the offensive glass and get eight to 10 rebounds a game but as a function of finding a way to help her team. Her numbers look similar between her junior and senior years, but the way in which she got those numbers were very different. And that’s a testament to how hard she was willing to work and what she was willing to do for her team.”

Tomczak said when Sipla made the jump to track and field, he wasn’t surprised that she found success early on.

“I think she’s always had the ability to be an elite track athlete. I mean, just by the way that she moves, the way that she strides, you just can’t tire her out,” Tomczak said. “I tried to tire her out all the time and I just couldn’t do it. She’s got an unmatched motor.”

Sipla said as she looks back on her high school sporting career as she begins playing at Quinnipiac, she learned a lot of life lessons both on and off the playing field.

“I really pride myself on working hard, earning things, being competitive and doing things the right way,” Sipla said. “I feel like those things just helped me keep those values and will allow them to carry over for college basketball and also just life after that.”