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posted: 5/29/2012 6:41 PM

Jones nets co-MVP honor at Augustana

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Warren High School graduate Sarahbeth Jones was chosen a co-Most Valuable performer for Augustana's women's track and field team.

Jones, the Vikings' indoor MVP this year, won the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin championship and twice set school records in the 5,000 meters (16:53.57) this spring.

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She also broke the school record in the 3,000 (9:58.95) and was a member of the distance medley team that set a school mark (12:15.79) at the Drake Relays.

In addition, Jones ran on the school record-setting 4x1600 relay (21:07.93) and finished fourth in the CCIW 1,500 with a Viking season-best time of :35.26.

Smith was also a member of the record-setting distance medley unit and ran Augustana season bests in the 100 hurdles (15.22) and 400 hurdles (1:02.69). She competed in the 4x400 relay as well.

Baseball

North Park University baseball player Nick Soldano was named the D3Baseball.com All-Central Region Pitcher of the Year for the 2012 season.

The native of Lake Zurich was also named an All-CCIW first-team selection as well as CCIW Co-Pitcher of the Year and D3Baseball.com All-Central Region First Team,

He led the team with 99 strikeouts and a second-best 3.12 ERA. He also had a second-best 9-2 record and .258 opponents' batting average. In addition he earned two CCIW Pitcher of the Week honors (April 3 and May 1) and pitched a season-high 101 innings, earning 1 save.

North Park finished the season with a 32-14 record, the most wins by a Viking squad since the 1983 season, and captured the CCIW regular season and tournament championship, its first outright in 22 years.

Women's softball

A year ago, Jessica Balzano set a school-record hitting streak that lasted 42 games for her Elk Grove softball team.

This spring, Balzano was still a hit -- for Loyola University.

The freshman second baseman finished as the Ramblers' third-leading hitter with a .322 batting average, including 3 doubles, a triple, 15 RBI and 26 runs.

"It was fun," Balzano said of playing Division I softball. "It's a lot harder than high school with school work because you are on the road a lot."

Balzano is deciding between psychology and business for her major.

She was named to the second-team Horizon League all-conference and was selected to the league's all-newcomer team.

The Ramblers finished second in the Horizon League and ended up 26-23 overall.

In the 2-1 loss to top-seeded Valparaiso (42-17) in the Horizon League championship game, Loyola sophomore Lauren Zaworski (Fremd) collected the clutch RBI single to right that brought home the run that tied the game at 1-1.

Zaworski was named to the all-tournament team.

• University of Chicago junior pitcher Kim Cygan (Barrington)was named to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-Great Lakes Region Team as a first-team selection.

Cygan posted a 16-5 record with a 0.99 ERA and 4 shutouts in 25 appearances (20 starts). She struck out 112 batters in 134.2 innings and held opponents to a .177 batting average. Cygan made her second straight All-Great Lakes Region appearance. She was a third-team pick in 2011.

Women's golf

Valparaiso freshman Kelly Muskat (Barrington) tied for fourth on the team in total rounds played with 15. She finished with an 87.6 stroke average and began the year tying for 52nd at the Cleveland State Invitational after recording scores of 90 and 88. Muskat closed the season in 49th at the CAA Championship with rounds of 84-91-88.

Men's soccer

Palatine senior goalkeeper Evan Held and Harper College's Lorenzo Savino (Fremd) have signed letters of intent to play for Saint Xavier University.

Held helped the Pirates to a 13-9-1 overall record and a trip to the championship of the Class 3A Libertyville Regional as well as earning special mention on the Daily Herald all-area Northwest soccer team.

His older brother, Kyle, has been the Cougars' starting keeper for the past two seasons. Held plans to pursue a degree in finance starting next fall at Saint Xavier University.

"Evan's signing gives this program something I don't think it has ever had in its history -- three goalkeepers," said SXU men's soccer coach Ed Vucinic. "All kidding aside, Evan's abilities were all-area quality at Palatine High School and he has shown at the high school and club level that he has the potential to be a difference maker.

"At 6-foot-4, he brings us another big presence in the penalty area and depth at a crucial position. It will be nice to have competition at that spot and interesting to see how that competition sharpens all three guys. One of those guys will be his brother, so I'm sure there will be more than a few stories told about how they handle the competition with one another."

Savino, a sophomore transfer from Harper College, played one season for head coach Jason Diebold with the Hawks.

A forward and outside midfielder, he led Harper with 5 goals and 4 assists in 2011 and earned first-team honors on the N4C All-Conference Team in his debut season as a collegiate student-athlete.

Vucinic is excited about the addition and the college playing experience that Savino already brings to the program.

"Lorenzo's decision to join us is another boost to our ability to attack, but maybe more importantly, I believe that his approach to the game fits in well with the culture of our program," Vucinic said. "He has proved he has the ability to put the ball in the goal during his time in high school and junior college.

"I'm pretty optimistic that trend will continue here because of his passion for the game, how hard he competes and his drive to succeed. Those are a few of the key qualities we look for and cultivate in student-athletes who represent Saint Xavier."

• Please email Sports Notes items to jleusch@dailyherald.com or FAX to (847) 427-1173.

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