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posted: 4/3/2013 7:04 PM

Local athletes thriving in college

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Spring took a long time arriving. So did this column highlighting area collegiates' winter athletic achievements.

Now a senior track athlete at Arizona State, Waubonsie Valley graduate Shakeia Pinnick finished second in the pentathlon at the women's NCAA Division I indoor championship in Arkansas. She took first place in the long jump and 60-meter hurdle components and second in the 800. Pinnick also led off a 12th-place 3,200 relay. Also, on Jan. 25 Pinnick won the pentathlon at the Texas A&M Challenge, setting the Sun Devils' 800-meter pentathlon record in the process.

In men's heptathlon at the Division I championships, Wisconsin sophomore Zach Ziemek (Lake Park) took fifth with a personal-record 5,937 points to help the Badgers to a third-place team finish. Ziemek finished fourth in the 60 dash, third in high jump and tied for first in pole vault at 17 feet, 8 inches. That mark, a 10-inch PR, matched the collegiate heptathlon vault record and set Wisconsin's pole vault record.

Ziemek's Badgers and Lake Park teammate, junior Dan Block, unleashed a 2-foot PR of 65-7 on his last attempt in the shot put finals to finish third nationally. That throw, matching the Olympic "B" standard, ranked him 11th among American throwers.

Also at the Division I meet, Illinois freshman Morolake Akinosun (Waubonsie Valley) ran on a ninth-place 1,600-meter relay.

The last athlete to represent Driscoll Catholic in a state championship, Grand Valley State junior Jeremy Wilk ran the 800-meter portion of a school-record distance medley relay that placed an all-American third at the Division II indoor championships in Birmingham, Ala. At the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference meet, Wilk took sixth in the open 800 and ran on the winning distance medley relay.

Bradley sophomore Kelly McShea had a big Missouri Valley Conference indoor meet. The former St. Francis athlete of the year finished third in the mile, third in the 3,000 meters and ninth in the 5,000.

Over in the Big East, Notre Dame junior McKinzie Schulz (Benet) earned all-conference honors for a second straight year running in the indoor 3,200 relay.

Tony Ramos, a three-time state wrestling champ at Glenbard North, earned his second All-America honor at Iowa with a runner-up finish at 133 pounds at the Division I championships in Des Moines. Disappointed he didn't end with a win, Ramos nonetheless improved upon a third-place finish in 2012. In three seasons at Iowa he has a record of 89-12.

Carthage College outside hitter Jon Storm (Neuqua Valley) earned the American Volleyball Coaches Association's tab as Division III player of the week after leading the Red Men to a 4-0 record, all sweeps, at the Thiel College Tournament. The 6-foot-5 sophomore averaged 3.55 kills and 1.22 digs per set with a .580 hitting percentage.

Augustana senior guard Gianna Pecora (Downers Grove South) was named MVP of the women's basketball team. The only Viking to start all 25 games, she averaged 8.6 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.5 steals. Freshman Andrea McNally shared the team's defensive award and senior Devon DiIorio (Glenbard South) was named Augie's most improved player.

Rhodes senior point guard Andrew Galow went to Oswego, but his father, Phil Galow, is a Waubonsie Valley teacher and basketball and tennis coach. Andrew Galow capped his Lynx career by being selected to the Division III College All-Star Game in Salem, Va. Galow, a four-year starter, tied for the Southern Athletic Association lead at 16.2 points a game, was fourth in assists and earned the SAA Player of the Year award.

Augustana senior Matt Burns (Naperville Central) became the Vikings' 50th All-America wrestler, placing seventh at 174 pounds in the Division III Nationals. Burns' 38-11 record tied for 20th in Augie's single-season record board.

Nathan Fitzenreider (Wheaton North), capped his North Central College wrestling career with a third-place finish at 133 pounds at nationals, his third All-America honor. He heads Cardinals all-time lists in victories and winning percentage -- 161 and .899, respectively -- and is second in falls with 40.

Augustana -- you can tell media guy Dave Wrath does a complete job -- cited sophomore distance runner Lizzy Lundine (Willowbrook) as most improved on its women's indoor track squad. Fellow Academic All-Conference runner Jennifer Prazak (Naperville North) helped set a program record in the 3,200-meter relay.

Junior swimmer Hillary Ferguson (Waubonsie Valley) of -- yes! -- Augustana set school records in both the 50- and 100-yard freestyle and helped set new standards in three relays. Vikings senior Molly Clennon (Benet) set a new mark in the 500 free and swam with Ferguson on the 400 and 800 free relays.

Illinois State sophomore guard Johnny Hill (Glenbard East) was named to the Missouri Valley Conference Most Improved Team. Seeing action each of the Redbirds' 33 games and starting 26, Hill averaged 7.7 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists. Add his minutes, assists, steals and field-goal and free-throw percentages and Hill improved on every mark over his freshman year.

At the Northern Athletics Conference women's indoor track meet, Concordia junior Danyale Worsham (Lisle) lowered her own school record to win the 55-meter dash, set another record in the 200 and placed fourth in the 55 hurdles to account for 18 of the Cougars' 99 points.

A 2011 draft pick of the NHL's Ottawa Senators, Ohio State sophomore forward Ryan Dzingel (Wheaton Academy) led the men's hockey team in scoring with 38 points, in goals with 16, in power play goals with 4 and in game-winners with 3. He was an honorable-mention selection in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association after earning honorable-mention all-rookie last season.

Another hockey player from Wheaton, Boston College senior goalie Corinne Boyles, was named to the New England Division I All-Star Team. Five times the league defensive player of the year, she was recognized as the Hockey East goaltending "champion" after a 22-5-1 record, 1.83 goals-against average and .927 save percentage. Those last two numbers, as well as Boyles' 10 career shutouts and 51 victories, rank second all-time for the Eagles. This season's .804 winning percentage ranks No. 1.

On Jan. 26 at Rose-Hulman in Terre Haute, Ind., Millikin junior accounting student and sprinter Alyssa Staib (Naperville Central) helped the Big Blue set an indoor program record in the 1,600-meter relay.

Athletes of the week: Loyola outside hitter Tom Jaeschke (Wheaton Warrenville South); Wisconsin-Whitewater swimmer Landon Joiner and diver Riley Maher (both Hinsdale South); Concordia sprinter Antwon James (Glenbard East); Illinois State swimmer Jeannette Nolte (Neuqua Valley).

Congrats, and keep those emails coming!

Follow Dave on Twitter at doberhelman1

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