Ten male student-athletes who excel both on and off the ice in the NCAA have been selected as finalists for the 2012-13 Senior CLASS Award in collegiate hockey.
One of them is Lake County's very own Steven Spinell, a senior defenseman for Miami of Ohio from Vernon Hills.
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Spinell has played in 113 career games, including all 41 last year and has started all four so far this year.
He is Miami's top defenseman this season and has 25 points in his career, including 22 assists with one goal in each of his first three seasons.
He has posted a +50 rating for his career, including +19 as a sophomore. Spinell has blocked 128 shots in his career, including a team-best 70 last year, while logging three multi-point games in his career.
To be eligible for the CLASS award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence -- community, classroom, character and competition.
Nationwide fan voting begins immediately to help select the winner. Fans are encouraged to vote on the Senior CLASS Award website or on the Senior CLASS Award Facebook fan page through March 25.
Fan votes will be combined with media and Division I head coaches' votes to determine the winner.
The Senior CLASS Award winner will be announced during the 2013 NCAA Frozen Four in Pittsburgh on April 11 and 13. Spinell has been very active in the community, taking part in several projects along with his teammates.
Earlier this year he volunteered at the local state-to-state marathon. Last year, he took part in Swoop's Stoop, a program created by former teammate Cody Reichard, by visiting and playing with sick children in the hospital in Cincinnati.
He has also taken part in Miami's annual Therapeutic Disabilities Skate with the disabled, served food to community members at Rico's Ristorante and skated with fans as part of Skate with the 'Hawks Night.
Spinell has shown great leadership and courage during his time at Miami.
He was chosen to be the lone team captain this season by Miami's coaches for his strong work ethic and responsibility.
Even prior to being named captain, he was making sure players were attending off-season workouts and took on a leadership role without being asked.
He showed great courage earlier this season in helping Miami create a video for the You Can Play Project (http://youcanplayproject.org/), which supports LGBT athletes and says they have just as much right to play sports as anyone.
The idea stems from former team manager Brendan Burke, who was openly gay and was killed in a car accident in 2010.
Spinell and the rest of the team have carried on his message through the video.
Spinell has also played a leadership role in the Jr. Brotherhood program, which pits Miami's hockey team with a local youth team and helps teach them skills such as leadership and responsibility.
In the classroom, Spinell carries a 3.26 GPA, which is third-best on the team.
He is majoring in finance in Miami's Farmer School of Business, which is ranked one of the top 10 business schools in the country. He has earned the dean's list once during his career in the fall of 2009.
Girls track and field
Libertyville senior Haley Becker, who has been a four-year participant in track and field and volleyball, signed a letter of intent to compete at Illinois State for track and field.
Becker has qualified the past two years to the IHSA state finals in the high jump. She was on the volleyball team that finished in fourth place in the 4A IHSA.
University of Minnesota defenseman Megan Bozek was strong at both ends of the ice as her No. 1-ranked Golden Gophers won back-to-back conference road games at Ohio State to remain unbeaten and untied.
For her efforts, Bozek of Buffalo Grove was named the Women's Collegiate Hockey Association Women's Defensive Player of the Week.
Bozek also earned the weekly honor in November.
A senior captain from Buffalo Grove, Bozek contributed 2 goals and 1 assist for 3 points, fired 14 shots on goal and earned a +3 plus/minus rating in Minnesota's 5-2 and 5-3 victories over Ohio State.
She notched a short-handed goal and 1 assist and then came back with another goal in the next game against the Buckeyes.
Minnesota completed the sweep to move to move to a perfect 30-0-0 on the season.
Bozek's second goal of the series was the 42nd of her collegiate career, making her the school record-holder for career goals by a defenseman, eclipsing the 41 scored by Winny Brodt.
Over 146 collegiate games, Bozek has now produced 133 points with 42 goals and 91 assists.
The inaugural North Suburban Conference all-conference cheerleading team has been announced.
Included on the team were Shannon Ricke, Kate Holtkamp and Sinclair Guntharp of Antioch; Marissa Keley, Luis Echeverria and Nina Deligio of Grant; Alicia Brune and Madison Delaney of Lake Forest; Amanda Todavchick, Lexi Frye and Rachel Methling of Lake Zurich; Lyssa Sheng and Mackenzie Bergeron of Lakes; Beth Arnswald, Nick Dudzinski and Anna Story of Mundelein; Jessica Selgrad, Nikki Rodriguez and Mary Lipari of Stevenson; Hunter Ruder and Natalie Chiarello of Vernon Hills; Jena Rosenbaum and Katie Nordentoft of Warren; Katie Diol, Sarah Anderson and Kylie Pedraza of Wauconda; Haley Burgmeier and Rachel DeVoe of Zion-Benton.
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