Just one week remains to our 2011-12 prep "season" -- but the collegiates are done. Let's salute them.
Sammy Scofield, a 2011 Geneva graduate and Notre Dame soccer player, was named most valuable freshman at the Fighting Irish's spring soccer banquet. She started both preseason games as well as 12 of the Irish's 21 regular-season games, earning a starting defensive spot by midseason. The 2011 Illinois State Scholar logged 1,344 minutes, ninth on the squad and more than any Irish freshman. With her starting Notre Dame posted five shutouts. For a second straight summer Scofield will play for the Chicago Red Stars, this year in the new Women's Premier Soccer League Elite.
T.J. Heffernan (Marmion), a junior track and cross country runner at Southern Illinois, was named a spring recipient of the Missouri Valley Conference State Farm Good Neighbor Award. The Batavia native holds a 3.831 grade-point average in accounting and has been on the dean's list six straight semesters. He's been treasurer of SIU's Student Advisory Committee each of his three years in college. In addition, he participates in a family reading night at a Murphysboro elementary school, did a toy drive to benefit a St. Louis hospital, and helped organize SIU's talent show to benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Carbondale. As well, on Wednesday he was named a MVC scholar-athlete.
Ryan Adams (Geneva), a senior outfielder at Aurora University, is a first-team Capital One Academic All-America selection. The business commerce major had a perfect 4.00 GPA while on the diamond he helped the Spartans equal their best record, 38-10. Adams, who merited all-conference, all-district and all-region mentions, hit .382 with 15 doubles, 40 walks, 66 runs and 51 driven in.
Helping Augustana to a seventh-place finish at the NCAA Division III men's outdoor track championships, a 1,600-meter relay including freshman David Voland (Batavia) and junior Alex Rindone (Marmion) placed second with a program-record time of 3 minutes, 10.56 seconds, topping the record they'd set two days earlier in the preliminaries. Rindone also placed fifth in the 200 and helped the 400 relay take fourth, setting new school records along the way (21.17 in the 200).
Earlier, Augustana held its team awards. Rindone, three-time College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin 200 champ, was MVP on the track while senior thrower Phil Christensen (Kaneland) shared that honor in field events. Senior distance runner Matt Bowman (Geneva) earned a most inspirational honor.
Augustana's men's lacrosse program, in its first year, saluted freshman Jesse Nagelberg (St. Charles East) as its most valuable offensive player. Nagelberg scored 6 goals in the Vikings' first game and went on to score a team-high 39 goals and tie for the lead with 5 assists. His 2.79 goals per game ranked 23rd in Division III.
Yes, we have more Augustana: Kaitlyn Czerwonka (Batavia) was named most valuable freshman on the Vikings women's golf team while another ex-Bulldog, sophomore Kim Sawyer, was named most valuable overall for the women's tennis team. Sawyer went 27-7 at No. 1 singles (two wins shy of her own program record) to improve her two-year total to 56-14 in singles. She is just 20 wins away from the school singles record, and throw in her collegiate doubles record the two-time All-CCIW player has a combined mark of 92-39.
And more Augustana: Zach McCullough (St. Charles North) was named to the National Football Foundation's Hampshire Honor Society, which salutes significant players or starters in their final year of eligibility, who have maintained a GPA of 3.20 or better. McCullough has a 3.676 GPA in accounting while finding time to cap his receiving career fifth in Augie history in receiving yards, sixth in receptions.
Another Hampshire winner was North Central College's Marcus Charles (Batavia), a two-time Academic All-CCIW pick who at cornerback picked off 5 passes and broke up 13 others.
Better even than a Midwest Conference field athlete of the week honor -- she picked up two more this spring -- Illinois College junior Melissa "Missy" Norville (Batavia) won the triple jump competition at the Division III women's outdoor track championships last weekend in Claremont, Calif. A regular in this space, Norville went 41 feet, 3¼ inches to claim her third national title. She'd won the indoor triple jump title in March and took the 55-meter hurdles at the 2011 indoors. In California Norville also finished third in the 100 hurdles and fourth in long jump. Monmouth junior Allison Devor (St. Charles East) placed fourth in the hammer throw, seventh in shot put.
Speaking of the Midwest Conference, senior Lindsay Gruenke (Kaneland) was named the female track athlete of the week May 8 for setting a new Carroll University record in the 200 dash and running on a pair of sprint relay wins at the Pioneers' own invite. Gruenke's 200 time of 25.00 was the conference's best this season.
(By the way, Norville was named one of the Midwest Conference's track and field athletes of the year after winning the 200, the 100 hurdles, long jump and triple jump at the conference meet.)
Judson University freshman John Mittvick (St. Charles North) was one of two Eagles players who earned all-Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference honors for the first time in program history. Mittvick and doubles partner Reilly Good were selected as a unit, and Mittvick himself for his singles play. In addition Mittvick also was one of two Judson players to be named a CCAC player of the week also for the first time in the program's three-year history.
A pair of Batavia grads and another from Kaneland earned three of Waubonsee Community College's top awards ...
Golfer Tim Schofield (Batavia) was named male athlete of the year after qualifying for the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II tournament a second straight year. The Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference medalist as a freshman, the business management major also helped set a program record for low score at the Blackhawk Invite.
Kaneland's Kristen Stralka, a Chiefs softball player, earned the school's S.T.A.R. Award highlighting academics, work ethic and perfect attendance in Waubonsee's athletic monitoring program. She helped the softball team win its second straight ISCC title, driving in 21 runs and scoring 23 more.
And Waubonsee women's soccer team co-captain Becky Bartos was honored with the Vermilion and Gold Award, which typifies the "heart and soul" of Chiefs athletics. Bartos, an elementary education major and team co-captain, finished her Waubonsee career with career and season records for most games with an assist. Her 20 career assists are third-most in program history. She helped lead Waubonsie to its first appearance in the NJCAA Division I Women's National Tournament.
Earlier this spring yet another Batavia grad, Western Carolina University freshman volleyball player Caitlin Piechota, was named the Catamounts' female "rookie" of the year at the Athletic Advisory Committee's A-Cat-Emy Awards. The outside hitter led her team in kills with 286, was fourth in digs with 311 and earned a spot on the Southern Conference All-Freshman Team.
Finally, how about a noncollegiate? In fact, Kaneland graduate Casey Crosby chose a baseball pitching career with the Detroit Tigers instead of a football scholarship with Illinois in 2007.
Crosby, 23, will make his Major League debut on the mound Friday in Detroit against the New York Yankees, taking the place of injured Tigers hurler Doug Fister.
A survivor of "Tommy John" surgery, this season Crosby was 4-2 with a 4.26 earned run average in 9 starts for the Tigers' Triple-A franchise, the famed Toledo Mud Hens. He'd struck out 57 hitters in 50 innings pitched.
Last Saturday, according to the Tigers' website, the left-hander struck out a season-high 10 Pawtucket Red Sox and allowed 4 hits in 7 innings of a no-decision outing.
The Tigers Minor League pitcher of the year in 2009 went 6-2 with a 0.88 ERA and 92 strikeouts for the Kaneland Knights in 2007.
Break a leg, Casey -- just not the elbow.