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posted: 5/27/2013 10:27 PM

Viator grad Wienckowski aces test for Illinois Wesleyan

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  • Kenny Wienckowski, shown competing for St. Viator, recorded a hole-in-one at the NCAA Division III national championships playing for Illinois Wesleyan.

       Kenny Wienckowski, shown competing for St. Viator, recorded a hole-in-one at the NCAA Division III national championships playing for Illinois Wesleyan.
    File photo by Mark Black | Staff Photographer

 
 

Many golfers never get a hole-in-one in their entire lives.

Not only did former St. Viator standout Kenny Wienckowski already pull off the feat, he did it in the NCAA Division III national golf championships.

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The Illinois Wesleyan sophomore scored his ace on the 130-yard 12th hole at the Sandestin (Fla.) Golf and Beach Resort.

Wienckowskishot a 1-over-par 72 on the final day of the championships and finished tied for 16th with a total of 294 (77-75-70-72). As a team, the Titans finished in ninth place.

Basketball

Fremd senior Sean Benka, a Mid-Suburban League all-conference and all-area basketball player, has committed to play at St. Norbert's College in De Pere, Wis.

Final count for NHL

Through the hard work of the Mid-Suburban League softball programs, a total of $5,400 was raised for Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma research. The NHL day is played in honor of the late Dennis Lynch, a longtime Rolling Meadows teacher and coach who died in the spring of 2012. Dennis is the father-in-law of Fremd softball coach Jim Weaver and Palatine softball coach Jim Manz.

Baseball

Northwestern junior outfielder Kyle Ruchim (Stevenson) was named to the All-Big Ten third team.

The Buffalo Grove native concluded the season ranked among the Big Ten leaders in several offensive categories.

He finished in a three-way tie for second with 16 doubles, a league-leading 10 of which came during conference play. The slugger also ranked fourth among all hitters in batting average (.365), slugging percentage (.533) and on-base percentage (.441).

Ruchim paced the Wildcats with 61 hits, of which 21 went for extra bases. The first-time All-Big Ten honoree led Northwestern with 89 total bases, ranked second with 10 stolen bases and third on the club with 26 RBI. The junior recorded 18 multihit games to lead the squad and he ripped off two separate 12-game hitting streaks during the season, including an active one to end the year. Ruchim hit safely in 34 of the 42 games he played this season and collected 3 or more hits in seven.

He also served a true utility role, contributing 34 innings in 16 appearances out of the bullpen. The right-handed closer led the Wildcats with 3 saves and ranked second on the team with 4 wins.

Ruchim was the pitcher of record during memorable extra-inning wins over North Dakota State, Iowa, Illinois and Michigan. In his outing against the Illini on April 26, he worked a career-high 5 innings and struck out a personal-best eight hitters.

•Illinois State shortstop Brett Kay (St. Viator) was one of a league-record eight Redbirds on the Missouri Valley all-conference first team.

He was also named the "defensive player of the year."

Kay was joined on the first team by Illinois State sophomore starting pitcher Dan Savas (Leyden).

•Bradley outfielder Mike Tauchman (Fremd) was named the Missouri Valley Conference player of the year and he was a member of the all-conference first team.

•Augustana senior second baseman Kurt Schmidt (Grayslake Central) has been named to D3baseball.com's All-Central region first team.

Schmidt played a key role in the Vikings' 34-11 season which included a CCIW tournament championship and the program's fourth NCAA tournament appearance. Schmidt was also a first-team All-CCIW selection.

He hit .366 and led the team in doubles (tied with 12), home runs (tied with two), RBI (42), total bases (84), slugging (.480), hit-by-pitch (tied with 10) and stolen bases (15). His batting average was second on the club, as were his 175 at-bats, 38 runs, 64 hits and .418 on-base percentage. He finished his career ranked sixth or better all-time in seven offensive categories at Augustana.

His 156 runs are second in school history. He's third in at-bats (624) and stolen bases (tied with 50), fourth in hits (218) and triples (tied with 10), fifth in doubles (tied with 37) and sixth in RBI (119).

Softball

Carthage College senior pitcher Krystina Leazer (Elk Grove), who was 24-6 with a 1.71 ERA, was named third-team Capital One Academic All-America after earlier being named academic all-district. Leazer, an exercise and sport science major with a 3.63 cumulative grade-point average, was voted to the district team by regional members of the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).

•Valdosta State earned the right to defend its 2012 title in the 2013 NCAA Softball Championship tournament after defeating Alabama-Huntsville 8-3 in the deciding game of the South super regional.

The 8 runs combined with a strong pitching performance by Hanna Lythberg (Prospect) were enough to secure a spot in the national championship tournament for the second consecutive season and the third time in the last four years.

Lythberg, who improved her record to 16-4 on the year, was able to hold off a late Chargers push, allowing 2 runs on 3 hits in the final inning to seal the Blazers' win.

Men's tennis

Wheaton College junior men's tennis player Ryan Kreis (Fremd) competed in the 2013 NCAA Division III men's tennis singles championships.

Kreis, the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin player of the year, finished with a singles record of 19-2 this season.

He earned a 6-2, 7-6 (5) victory in the 32-man first round against Christian Heaney-Secord of Carnegie Mellon University. Kreis dropped his second-round match to third-seeded Trey Meyer of Williams College 7-6 (5), 6-3.

Kreis' victory against Heaney-Secord is the first by a Wheaton men's tennis player at the Division III singles championships since 1984.

It also assured Kreis of All-American recognition from the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, which awards this recognition to student-athletes on assorted criteria -- including at least one win at the NCAA singles championships.

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

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