In a sport in which consistency and a strong steadiness creates champions, the North Central College men's cross country team has been all that and more.
For the fifth straight week the Cardinals find themselves atop the United States Track and Field Cross Country Coaches Association's Division III regional rankings.
Since the first 2012 poll came out North Central has been the unanimous No. 1 and will carry that ranking into its showdown on Saturday in the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Invitational at Lake Breeze Golf Course in Winnecone, Wis.
Less than a year ago the team won the national title in Winnecone at the NCAA Division III Championships. That was the school's second national championship in the last three years; the Cardinals also won their fourth straight Midwest Regional and their 38th consecutive College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin title.
In its last race North Central won the Gold Division race at the Notre Dame Invitational on Sept. 28. CCIW rival Augustana is ranked fifth in the same regional standings.
North Central: While the athletes will forever get the recognition for on-field results, the team of support that helps to get them there rarely gets any credit. The student-athletes at North Central College owe much of their success to one man, and later this month Ken Sanders will be inducted into North Central College's Athletics Hall of Fame.
For nearly four decades Sanders has been the team physician at North Central, and on Oct. 27 he will be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Sanders came to the school in 1976, and as an orthopedic surgeon he was quickly given control over much of the athletic training in the university. He became an influential force in helping the university hire its first full-time athletic trainers, even helping to create a fully accredited athletic training education program.
Sanders grew the program and now serves as the education program's medical director as well as a lecturer and clinical instructor to athletic training students.
The long-time physician is still active in his role at North Central. He can be seen nearly every football game along with many other sporting events the teams compete in. Sanders is one of six people who will be inducted into North Central College's Athletics Hall of Fame.
The best thing for any team following a tough loss is a quick turnaround victory.
Benedictine: The Benedictine women's volleyball team took conference rival Edgewood College to a fifth set before finally losing its first conference match of the season on Friday night.
After giving up the first two sets, the Eagles stormed back taking the next two 25-21 and 25-18. However, despite a team-high 13 kills from Candice Cuppini and 20 digs from Kara Zuro, Benedictine faltered in the fifth match, losing 15-10.
Nevertheless, the team didn't have long to think about the loss. It was back in action the following day against Maranatha Baptist Bible College. Less than 24 hours after their loss, the Benedictine women were able to put on an impressive performance and get back on track in conference, winning in three straight sets.
The Eagles dominated all three sets, winning them 25-17, 25-16 and 25-17, respecticvely. Leading the team to victory with 15 kills was Nicole Adams. Cuppini again had double-digit kills, and Meagan Kmieciak had a team-high 10 digs.
Following the weekend split, Benedictine is 20-3 overall and 7-1 in conference.
Elmhurst: After holding on to beat Augustana 31-17 last Saturday, two Elmhurst College football players were recognized as a CCIW Player of the Week. Senior defensive end Dan Vicari was named the defensive winner, while junior kicker David Tomis received the award for special teams.
Vicari was vital in the Bluejay's victory. The finance major lead the team with 10 tackles, 6 of which were solo. Additionally, Vicari reached the quarterback twice for the team's only two sacks of the night and forced a fumble for Elmhurst.
Not to be outdone, Tomis left the game with a record-setting 51-yard field goal in the fourth quarter of the game. He broke the previous mark by 7 yards, and did it in the final quarter to cement the Bluejays' victory. Tomis rounded out the night by nailing field goals of 21 and 23 yards, respectively.