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updated: 12/6/2012 9:24 PM

No end in sight for college achievers

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Late fall, and the mailbag is bursting with college achievements...

Michigan State junior outside hitter Lauren Wicinski of Geneva -- Vikings football coach Rob Wicinski's daughter -- was named all-Mideast Region by the American Volleyball Coaches Association. Lauren, who transferred after two years at Northern Illinois and was named to the All-Big Ten team as well, leads the Spartans in points, kills and service aces per set. Entering Friday's match against Michigan in the NCAA Division I quarterfinals she's currently fourth in the nation in aces, sixth in points and 15th in kills per set.

Maggie Hoscheit (St. Charles East), a junior co-captain on Augustana's women's soccer team, was an all-region, third-team pick off a 16-5 Augie squad that allowed 22 goals in 21 games and went 7-0 in the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin. She was the CCIW's Jack Swartz Award female winner for academics and athletics this fall, was first-team in the CCIW and was a Capital One Division III Academic All-America third-team pick. A biology and pre-med major with a 3.87 grade-point average, the soccer defender does it all -- hospice volunteer, Relay For Life, Augustana's biology club and Student Athlete Advisory Committee, selected to the National Society for Leadership and Success ... We could go on.

Down the road a piece in St. Charles, Lauren Steimle (Elgin Academy), a junior soccer player at brainiac Washington University in St. Louis, was a first-team Division III District 5 Academic All-American like Hoscheit (in District 7). The systems science and engineering major pulled a 3.90 grade-point average.

Another Washington junior, Kevin Sparks (Geneva), had a career year in cross country. He was the University Athletic Association runner of the year after winning four weekly awards and the individual conference title to lead the Bears to their third straight team title. Sparks placed fifth at his NCAA regional then did one better at the Division III Championships. Sparks' fourth-place, All-American finish was the highest in Washington history.

Shane Holl (Batavia), a senior defensive end on Augustana's football team, will play Dec. 15 in the Tazon de Estrellas ("Bowl of the Stars"), formerly the Aztec Bowl, in Guadalajara, Mexico. It's a game between Division III all-stars against a team of Mexican private-school players.

Waubonsee Community College sophomore Cesar Garcia (West Aurora) earned first-team Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference honors and all-region after scoring 13 goals with 6 assists on the Chief's first ISCC champion.

Ending her sophomore season in the NCAA quarterfinals, Sammy Scofield (Geneva) finished a second strong campaign of Notre Dame soccer. The defender, who plays for the elite Chicago Red Stars in the summer, led the Fighting Irish in minutes played with 2,168, was the only player to start all 24 games and of her 2 goals, 1 was a game-winner.

South Dakota State linebacker T.J. Lally (Marmion) was named to the Missouri Valley Football Conference All-Newcomer Team after sharing the team lead with 6 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. Also a second-team all-conference pick, Lally ranked second on the 9-4 Jackrabbits with 89 tackles (63 solo) and in tackles for loss with 8. He was a finalist for the Jerry Rice Award, given to the top freshman in the Football Championship Subdivision.

Rose-Hulman junior defensive lineman Dean Griffing (Aurora Christian) earned first-team honors in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference. He led the Fightin' (yep) Engineers with 16 tackles for loss and 10 sacks among his 52 tackles, adding 2 forced fumbles. He was the HCAC's player of the week after making 14 tackles with 4.5 for loss in a 28-21 overtime win at Mount St. Joseph.

Here's a fun one: Freshman wrestler Miguel Venecia (West Aurora) made his Elmhurst College debut unseeded at the Concordia (Wis.) Open. He pinned his first foe, earned two medical forfeit wins and beat two other wrestlers to take the title at 125 pounds.

Junior Ashlee Colby (Batavia) was named co-MVP of the Millikin women's tennis team, a season in which she earned her first varsity letter.

Wheaton College junior forward Leah DeMoss (St. Charles North) was a first-team All-Central Region selection after scoring 21 goals -- including a team-high 7 game-winners -- with 10 assists for a Thunder soccer squad that reached the Division III semifinals. DeMoss, a transfer from Iowa, shared the CCIW Newcomer of the Year award.

Loyola Ramblers freshman Stephanie Kinane (Batavia) made the Horizon League All-Newcomers team. The 5-foot-7 libero was twice the league's defensive player of the week, and her 565 digs broke a program record from 2006. Her 5.1 digs per set ranked third in league play. In a five-set win over Wright State she dug 35 balls, one off Loyola's record.

Loyola won both men's and women's Horizon League cross country championships and thus received several all-conference honors, including to senior Oscar Aguinaga (Marmion) on the men's side and freshman Sydney Stuenkel (St. Charles North) on the women's. Stuenkel finished third overall and earned Horizon League women's Newcomer of the Year.

Wheaton College senior Jordan Roberts (Aurora Christian) was the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin First-Team All-Conference quarterback. Second-team all-region, Roberts completed 201 of 286 passes for 2,500 yards and 29 touchdowns. His 70.3 completion percentage broke his own program record. He finished fifth in all of DIII in passing efficiency. In a 44-10 win over Carthage Roberts broke a 29-year program record with 17 straight completions.

Elmhurst College women's volleyball team reached the Division III semifinals for the first time since 1987. Helping the cause were second-team all-CCIW outside hitter, sophomore Sam Szarmach (St. Charles East) and junior setter Katie Rueffer (Batavia). The 32-8 Bluejays won the CCIW for the first time since 2004 and the CCIW tourney for the first time since 2005.

We risk repeating ourselves with Augustana junior tennis player Kim Sawyer, but so be it. She was the first Viking to win the CCIW No. 1 singles title since 1997 and its first CCIW player of the year since they started giving out the award in 2003. She ranked fifth in all of DIII. Sawyer's 71-16 singles record is fourth at Augie, her .816 winning percentage the best. Her doubles record of 47-31 gives her 118 total wins, tied for 12th all-time at Augustana.

Sawyer's teammate, Krista Panko (Geneva), ended her collegiate tennis career as Augie's first CCIW Championship MVP after winning at No. 3 singles and teaming up for a second-place finish at No. 3 doubles. Her 62 doubles wins tied for eighth all-time, her 119 combined wins at 11th.

Good thing senior soccer player Jamie Forbes (St. Charles North) didn't get hurt. Wisconsin-Milwaukee didn't play another goalkeeper. Forbes ended her collegiate career with 7 shutouts while playing every minute of the Panthers' 18 games. Her 3 straight shutouts earned her honors on the Horizon League All-Tournament Team.

Same with the men's team at Marquette. Redshirt sophomore keeper Charlie Lyon (St. Charles East) earned the Golden Eagles' "Player's Player" award. He was twice named the Big East keeper of the week, played every minute of a 16-4-1 season with 10 shutouts and a .78 goals-against average.

Illinois Wesleyan senior forward Emily Hinchman (Geneva) finished her soccer career with a fourth straight first-team all-CCIW selection. A second-team all-Central Region selection, Hinchman tied for fifth at Wesleyan with 41 career goals, tied for second with 25 assists and ranked fifth all-time with 107 points. Teammate Hannah Ketterling (St. Charles East), a junior midfielder, also made first-team all-CCIW.

They grow keepers in St. Charles. Valparaiso junior Kristen Manski (St. Charles North) tied the program record with 10 shutouts and her 22 career shutouts set a program record. She'll enter her senior season third in matches played at Valpo, third in minutes played in goal, sixth in saves. Her .55 save percentage this season is the best in program history. She made a career-high 13 saves in a scoreless tie with Wright State.

On the men's side, Wheaton College sophomore defender Noah Anthony (St. Charles North) earned first-team all-CCIW honors. Starting each of the Thunder's 25 games, he led his team in assists with 9, led the CCIW in assists with 5, scored on the only penalty kick he took, and had 2 game-winners.

Aurora University junior defender Corey Novotny (St. Charles East) made the Northern Athletics Conference First Team in soccer. Teammate Eduardo Cuautle (Batavia) earned selection on the NAC All-Freshman Team.

Augustana freshman libero Kylie Siebert (Kaneland) led the Vikings with 475 digs. Her 4.44 digs per game ranked ninth in Augie's season records.

And, a couple players of the week, too: Elmhurst College basketball player Fiona McMahon (St. Francis); Carroll University soccer player Sarah Tennant (Geneva); Illinois College tennis player Tamar Norville (Batavia).

Keep those emails coming!

Follow Dave on Twitter @doberhelman1

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