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posted: 4/29/2013 9:42 PM

Weir will swing into action at Augustana

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He has been a golfer and baseball player while at Warren High school.

Next spring, Casey Weir will tee it up on the baseball diamond for Augustana College.

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Weir made his commitment officials and will play coach Greg Wallace's baseball program in the spring of 2014.

The 6-foot-2, 175-pound pitcher and third baseman is a two-year letter winner for the Blue Devils and coach Clint Smothers.

The spring, the right-hander has sported a 3.82 ERA with 12 strikeouts and only 3 walks.

He was also a two-year letter winner in coach Mike Wittes' golf program and carried a nine-hole average of 41 strokes this season.

Weir was a North Suburban Leadership Conference attendee.

He is joining a Viking program that is ranked No. 16 in the nation and off to a 24-6 start.

Chapman Award winners

Carthage senior swimmer Steven Mathe (Carmel) and Augustana senior basketball player Brandon Kunz were recipients of the Merle Chapman Leadership Award from the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin.

Mathe, a native of Wauconda, is a chemistry major while Kunz is studying pre-medicine.

The Chapman award, which began during the 2002-03 academic year, is named after the longtime football coach/director of athletics at Millikin University who served as the second commissioner of the CCIW. The award identifies the student-athletes from the eight member institutions who best exemplify the traits that Chapman displayed and encouraged during his three-plus decades of service as teacher, coach and mentor.

Women's lacrosse

Augustana freshman attacker Emily Handrahan (Lake Zurich HS, Hawthorn Woods, Ill.) was a second team selection form the All-Midwest Women's Lacrosse Conference.

Handrahan is Augustana's second-leading goal scorer with 26 and ranks third on the team with 19 assists and 45 points.

She is sixth in the MWLC in both assists (1.14 per game) and points (3.00).

Men's lacrosse

Augustana's Ty Benson (Libertyville) is second on the team with 18 caused turnovers.

Baseball

Augustana senior southpaw Rick Erickson (Lake Zurich) got off to a 4-0 start and 5 saves in a team-high 10 appearances for the Vikings.

The Viking closer sports a 2.31 ERA.

Vikings freshman right-hander Darwin Townsend (Libertyville) has made 9 appearances, mostly as a setup man for Erickson. He is 2-0 with a 1.47 ERA.

Women's track

Augustana senior Sarahbeth Jones (Warren) placed second placed second in the 1500 in 4:31.29 to break the existing school record and help lift the Vikings to a second place team finish in their own invitational.

She finished well under Kristy Windy's school record of 4:35.01 set in 1998.

Jones also finished second in the 800 with a time of 2:15.76.

Nicole Niro commits

She is only a junior, but Nicole Niro has already chosen her college choice.

The talented defender, who attends Barrington High School and player of the Eclipse Select Soccer Club, has made a verbal commitment to play for Auburn beginning in the fall of 2014.

Niro decided she wanted to experience an education and college soccer career in the south.

"It's really exciting after starting soccer at such a young age and then building up to this point," Niro said in a release from the Eclipse Club. "It's definitely a milestone in my life and something I'm proud of.

"I really wanted to go to a school in the south, and after hearing about Auburn from a friend I looked into that and visited," she added. "It felt like Eclipse in the sense that it was family-oriented, warm and welcoming. I knew I wanted to experience this type of change."

Niro is looking forward to playing for Auburn head coach Karen Hoppa, who has directed the Tigers for the past two decades.

"She (Hoppa) is a wonderful person and I immediately connected with her when I first started speaking with Auburn," Nicole Niro said. "She's definitely built the program in a good direction and I felt like I would be in a good place on that team. Soccer-wise, I also thought it fit my style.

"We briefly touched on my role, about possibly playing a defender or holding midfielder. That decision will come with time and we'll see how I do in their practices when I start."

College club hockey

Kevin Pabst, who will graduate from Michigan State next month, competed in the Spartans club hockey program for his five years on campus.

A former all-state hockey player at Buffalo Grove, Pabst served as a team captain in his final two high school seasons.

While at Michigan State, his club team went to the national tournament five times (16 teams make it out of 180 club teams) and it advanced to the final four the last three seasons.

Pabst's career culminated last month with the Spartans winning the D-2 Club national championship in his last competitive game. It was a fitting ending to his playing career before he moves on to coaching the sport.

Pabst scored 10 goals with 8 assists while playing 19 games during the regular season.

The Spartans accumulated an overall record of 28-5-2, including 9 postseason wins. They previously won the national championship in 2005 and 2007.

• Please email Sports Notes items to jleusch@dailyherald.com or FAX to (847) 427-1173.

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