The assemblage of local graduates excelling in the college ranks is so vast that last week's column could contain only about half of them. So once more, an update is in order ...
Illinois sophomore midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo (Waubonsie Valley) was in Carson, Calif., from Monday and will return to the Midwest after this Sunday, working with the United States Under-20 National Team in preparation for this summer's FIFA U20 Women's World Cup.
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She's the daughter of Waubonsie boys soccer coach Angelo DiBernardo, who in his youth earned many caps in international play.
In qualifying for the World Cup, Vanessa DiBernardo and her teammates went undefeated in four games at the CONCACAF Championship in Panama City in March, allowing only 1 goal, and that in a 2-1 title win over Canada.
DiBernardo scored 2 goals with an assist at the tournament. In addition to that international experience, she played with the U20s at the Four Nations Cup in February and also trained with both the U23 and U20 last summer. She'll suit up again for the Women's World Cup from Aug. 18-Sept. 8, matches to be held in the Japanese cities of Miyagi, Saitama, Tokyo, Kobe and Hiroshima.
Illinois State junior swimmer Jeanette Nolte (Neuqua Valley) was among 10 athletes to win the Missouri Valley Conference State Farm Good Neighbor Award for the winter season. Honoring athletics, scholastics and community service, the award cited the all-MVC First Team swimmer's 3.06 GPA and three different community service roles.
At University of Illinois-Chicago's Ted Haydon Invitational, Concordia sophomore psychology major Danyale Worsham (Lisle), ran the 200-meter dash in 26.95 seconds -- the first time since 2001 a Cougars woman had broken 27 seconds in the distance. Worsham later helped the Cougars win the Northern Athletics Conference indoor title by winning the 50-meter dash and taking second in the 200.
At the NCAA Division I men's national indoor track and field championships, Notre Dame redshirt junior Randall Babb (WW South) ran the third leg -- 800 meters -- of the Fighting Irish's all-American, national champion distance relay which set the facility record at Boise State University.
Also at that meet, Stanford senior Chris Derrick (Neuqua Valley) placed second in both the 3,000 and 5,000. Each time he followed new rival Lawi Lalang of Arizona, who also went 1-2 with Derrick at the national cross country championships. On the women's side, Michigan State freshman Tori Franklin (Downers Grove South) placed third in triple jump at 43.77 feet, extending her program record.
Freshman defender Sean Mogan (Benet) was named Army soccer's newcomer of the year (out of 11 frosh), and made the dean's list as well. Shaking off an Achilles' problem in the opener, Mogan played every minute of the remaining 17 games and notched a goal with an assist for the Black Knights.
First-Team all-Academic Missouri Valley linebacker Kevin Palermo (late, great Driscoll), a senior at Western Illinois, was among the 58-member Football Championship Subdivision Athletic Directors Association Academic All-Star team. He had a cumulative GPA of 3.51 in construction management while also earning Western's MVP award with a team-high 105 tackles.
Millikin freshman Mike Bubenicek (Downers Grove South) won his first college golf tournament March 26-27 at the Evangel University Invitational in Springfield, Mo. Bubenicek carded an even-par 72 in the final round. He was just named CCIW men's golfer of the week for his effort.
Another Millikin athlete, junior volleyball player Brittany Cardott (Glenbard East), earned first-team honors in the College Conference of Illinois-Wisconsin as well as all-regional selection. Registering a team-high 1,180 assists, the co-captain was named "most dedicated" on the Big Blue and voted to continue as captain in 2012. The physical education major capped her season by being named a Jack Swartz Award recipient for academics, owning at least a 3.50 GPA.
Through matches of April 8, George Mason junior Piotr Dabrowski (Glenbard East) ranked fourth in Division I volleyball in blocks per game. The 6-foot-6 middle blocker had 18 solos and 130 assists for 1.53 blocks per game. Jay Petty (Downers Grove North), a redshirt junior outside hitter at Lewis University, ranked eighth in kills per set with 3.89. On Monday Petty was named offensive player of the week by the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association, for the third time this season.
This is old, old news but still deserves mention: reflective of the 2011 outdoor track season, North Central College's men's 800 and 1,600 relays teams, which both included Randal Ellison (Wheaton North), were honored at the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association for running the fastest times in all of Division III over the 2011 outdoor season. At the Drake Relays the Cardinals ran the 800 relay in 1:26.06, and the 1,600 in 3:10.66.
This indoor season, North Central won its third straight NCAA Division III indoor men's track title, getting an All-America fourth-place pole vault finish by Tommy Stacey (Glenbard North) along the way. Coach Frank Gramarosso was named men's Division III coach of the year a second straight time, following the same honor awarded Al Carius in 2010.
Augustana honored a pair of local runners last cross country season. Junior Justin Smith (Fenton) was most improved, a top-seven guy the whole season who finished 15th at the CCIW meet (he then won the mile run at the CCIW indoor championships and just Tuesday was named the CCIW male track athlete of the week). Nick Gornick (York) earned Augie's most valuable freshman honor.
On the women's side Augie sophomore Johanna Schnitzler (Downers Grove South) eclipsed her own program pentathlon record at the Wartburg Lutheran Triangular on Jan. 28. She won two of the six events -- the high jump and 800 -- and amassed 2,734 points to break the 2,695 total she earned at the 2011 CCIW championships.
Sarah Dede (Wheaton Academy), a junior at Judson University, finished second in triple jump and third in long jump at the NCCAA indoor track nationals in February. Qualifying for the NAIA meet, she finished 18th and 12th in the two events, respectively. Since Judson started a women's track program in 2010 Dede has competed in two straight NCCAA indoor and outdoor national championships, two outdoor NAIAs and one indoor.
Augustana junior Molly Clennon (Benet) and sophomore Hillary Ferguson (Waubonsie Valley) swam on both the 400 and 800 freestyle relays that set program records at the CCIW women's swimming and diving championships at Carthage College. Clennon also earned a CCIW swimmer of the week award earlier in the season.
Derek Raridon (Neuqua Valley), a junior forward at North Central College, was a first-team all-CCIW selection in men's basketball. Following two second-team mentions, he is among only eight Cardinals to earn three all-conference honors and is one away from becoming one of only two with four. He also received D3Hoops.com all-Midwest Regional second-team honors and set a North Central season record with his 90.7 free-throw shooting percentage; he ranks 12th all-time at North Central with 1,241 points. Raridon's father, Todd, was named CCIW coach of the year.
Players of the week: Wheaton College tennis player Jordan Williams (Naperville Central), baseball player Trey Martin (Wheaton North) and basketball player Brooke Olson (Wheaton North); Carthage College swimmer Ember McCoy (Waubonsie Valley); Augustana baseball player Jeremy Juhl (Glenbard East); North Central lacrosse player Shannon Prince (Montini).
Keep those emails and faxes coming!