Although it fell just two games short of a Division III national championship, the North Central men's basketball team finished the year with plenty of hardware.
The most successful team in program history and the only Cardinals team to reach the Final Four was honored with two consensus All-Americas and a finalist for the Glenn Robinson Award for the best Division III college basketball coach.
Both Landon Gamble and Derek Raridon were selected by D3hoops.com as All-Americas, Gamble on the first team and Raridon on the fourth. Along the way the teammates also were named to the all-district and all-conference first team. Gamble, a junior forward, was the Cardinals' leading scorer and has the 14th most all-time points for North Central with 1,228.
Raridon graduates as the CCIW player of the year, Midwest district player of the year and first-team All-America recognition from National Association of Basketball Coaches and DIII News.
North Central coach Todd Raridon is one of the coaches recognized as the coach of the year by the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association. The Cardinals coach has also been named a finalist for the Glenn Robinson Award, as is Wheaton College coach Mike Schauer. The award will be presented to one of the 14 finalists on April 5 in Atlanta, the site of the basketball championship game.
College of DuPage:
Coach Ryan Conell's softball team has raced its way to a No. 5 national ranking and a record of 9-7. The Chaparrals are outscoring conference opponents 37-8 and lead the nation in stolen bases with 66, all before playing their first home game.
COD's first home games will come Friday when it hosts a doubleheader with Harper College starting at 3 p.m. Since returning from their early spring games in Florida, the Chaparrals are 3-1 against conference opponents. The road-tested team will have a chance to stay at home for its next five opponents before playing on the road again.
All-CCIW offensive tackle Jesse Peterson may have finished his college football career, but he is still working to prove he can play at the next level. Peterson impressed scouts enough at both the regional combine at Halas Hall in Lake Forest and at Northwestern University's pro day to be invited to the super regional combine in Dallas.
Peterson is trying to become the 18th Wheaton football player ever to sign an NFL contract, and with each step his chances improve. Last year one quarter of the super regional combine participants made an NFL roster.